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.

 

 

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!

 

 

Over-thinking

As of late there has been far too much of this going on, as far as I’m concerned. Over-thinking by not only myself, but by friends and family alike. More often than not, over-thinking tends to have us making up hair-brained scenarios and putting words in other people’s mouths that were never spoken. Other periods of over-thinking often lead to beating oneself up mentally and emotionally over something that has no real value in the grand scheme of things. We all have a tendency to go there. I have come to a few conclusions where over-thinking goes.

 

Over-thinking usually kicks in during times of impatience. Let’s take a walk down memory lane for a moment shall we, and remind ourselves of something we were told as  children (at least I was, anyway) – “patience is a virtue”. Weird statement to tell a child, really. Unless the instructor of such wisdom follows that with the definition of virtue there is no weight to the statement. As far as over-thinking goes, patience is a crucial element for me as for a few of those I’ve spoken with personally as to why and when they lean toward over-thinking. It’s the old I said something wrong and upset so-and-so. Perhaps the mind rolls to the more macabre with something such as what if they didn’t make it to their destination safely? Wherever the mind wanders to with over-thinking, it’s usually never positive. Finding inner patience is not necessarily a virtue in this situation but it’s definitely a must. I have recently reeled in my self-talk and altered my thinking to thoughts such as things fall into place as they may. My stressing about things doesn’t create a positive outcome; only I can make that happen within myself. This is an ongoing lesson. OK, maybe that is sometimes sprinkled with a bit of what the hell is going on? Just get at it already! I am an extremely patient person as long as rudeness or idiocy isn’t involved on the part of the other party that is the direct cause of such tendency to over-think.

 

Communication is key. Self explanatory really. I can roll with just about any scenario and process it whether I like it or not. If communication is there, decisions can quickly be made and forward momentum can take place. No need to visit the Land of Over-Thinksville.

 

Over-thinking causes unnecessary stress. Stress is a killer and I say, “no thank you!”

 

There is contamination into other areas of life when over-thinking sets in. If the subject of over-thinking is personal it can affect job performance. Alternately, if one carries work around with them continuously and replays scenarios constantly there will be a negative impact on social situations and possibly relationships.

 

Occasionally, some individuals tend to live in their heads and over-think almost everything. Afraid to make decisions and choices for fear they may make a mistake. On the rare occasion I have been one of these people. This is a prime example of losing the ability to trust ones instincts. Instinctual behavior is in us to keep us safe. Developing and trusting our instincts is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. It’s a deep-rooted connection to Yourself that no one else can control if you tap into it.

 

 

heart and overthinking

Last but not least, over-thinking is useless. Why make your head explode over something that may or may not happen?

 

 

 

 

overthinking

Image – unknown source

 

 

“The more you overthink the less you will understand.”
-Habeeb Akande

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!

 

 

 

Absence

You may have noticed that I have been laying low as of late. Life has caught me within its chaotic tendrils in both a positive and negative  manner. I keep moving forward with a smile on my lips and a sparkle in my eyes. My Spirit is riding the waves that Life sends my way. As the dust is starting to settle slightly, you will be hearing more from me again soon.  Please stay tuned…I appreciate your friendship and patience.

 

– Melissa

 

 

invincible heart

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

 

 

 

 

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! 

Sunscreen Dilemma

Lately, I have been thinking a LOT about sunscreen. To wear, or not to wear…that is the question.

 

 

The scale inside my brain is balancing slightly to the side of “not to wear”. Here is my logic as to why there is some confusion. My entire life I have not had a great track record of gorgeous tanned skin. A few folk refer to me as Ghost Girl because I have an extremely pale skin tone. I scare even myself in fluorescent lit change rooms with the blinding whiteness that is not my arms, neck and face. Fluorescent lighting is extremely unforgiving. As you have probably gathered, I am a rather health conscious individual that questions every product I allow into my home or on my body. Of course, I make a few exceptions here and there but only after knowing what I am dealing with. I am not paranoid but I choose to be informed. I question why sunscreen usage increases while skin cancer rates continue to climb. Should the outcome not be that skin cancer rates drop as sunscreen use increases? Therefore, sunscreen and all its pros and cons weighs heavily on my radar.

 

 

 

I am not interested in dealing with skin cancer. Let this be known. I knew someone when I was a teen that had part of both ears removed due to skin cancer and this really scared the ever-loving out of me. It made me aware of the risk factors that I am dealing with as a pasty, white girl who historically turns lobster red after 30 minutes in the sun. I slathered on sunscreen like nobody’s business through my 20’s, making myself even whiter than I’m naturally predisposed. Not a good look.

 

 

 

Unluckily for me, I am in a medium to high risk group for skin cancer.

 

Fair Skin  Having less melanin in my skin gives me less protection from UV radiation. Not only do I have fair skin, I also have light blue eyes, freckle easily, and burn easily. Strike one.

 

 

History of Sunburns  Childhood sunburns that resulted in severe burning and blistering. Yup, had a few of those. Strike two.

 

 

Excessive Sun Exposure  I spend a considerable amount of my time outdoors in the sun at work. I do try to find shady spots whenever possible but that isn’t always an option. Strike three.

 

 

Sunny and/or High Altitude Climate  I can scratch this off my risk list. Phew! Yes, it is sunny here in southern Ontario but not like it is closer to the equator that’s for sure.

 

 

Moles  I have my fair share of freckles but no moles. Another all-clear.

 

 

Family History  Another risk factor bites the dust.

 

 

Weakened Immune System  I work hard at keeping my immune system strong through healthy eating, stress relieving meditation, fresh air and supplementation.

 

 

Exposure to Certain Substances  Substances such as arsenic and certain pesticides. These aren’t always as easy to avoid as we would like. Even being vigilant within my own home, there are still those in our communities that don’t take these risks seriously and put everyone else at risk.  This risk factor is a tricky one.

 

 

How do you rate on the risk factor list? Do you take the risk of skin cancer seriously?

 

 

Now that risk for skin cancer has been determined I find myself reaching for a 50+ UVA/UVB sunscreen only to stop mid-reach to question the efficacy of such products.

 

I question the ingredients in each sunscreen. Yes, there are harmful ingredients in many sunscreens on the market. Just because it is on the store shelf does NOT make it unquestionably safe. It is when we start to question the safety of ingredients that the world of hidden substances starts to become apparent. Think back a few years to when it became a talked about subject that oxybenzone in sunscreen may mimic estrogen. While both sides of this argument have a valid point, I always cringe when I hear the FDA or medical community say “there is no solid proof to suggest it is not safe.” Um, I am curious where the solid proof to suggest its complete safety is then. Another questionable ingredient is retinyl palmitate. This is used as a stabilizer and has anti-aging qualities but can make skin more sensitive to the sun and may actually promote skin cancer. Like other consumers, I find this confusing and frankly, quite maddening. Isn’t the whole point of sunscreen to protect?

 

 

What about the fact that some researchers say sunscreens with octinoxate, oxybenzone, parabens, or camphor derivatives are killing hard corals which could negatively impact biodiversity and reef ecosystems? I don’t want to inadvertently cause damage to marine life while trying to protect my skin! There has to be a better way.

 

 

 

26 seconds

 

 

 

UVA/UVB Issue  UVA rays are present all year round. While UVB rays are responsible for sunburns, UVA radiation damages the underlying skin cells to cause premature aging, sun spots, and that leathery looking skin that honestly, who would want? So although sunburns are no treat (and I know from numerous experiences), premature aging due to cell damage is very unpalatable as well.

 

 

Chemicals + Heat = baked in exposure! Not only does everything you put on your body’s largest organ (that’s right, your skin) get absorbed within seconds but combine that with the heat treatment from the sun and we are literally basting ourselves with chemicals or unknown substances.

 

 

Skin Function  Our skin is an amazing organ. I am curious as to how well it performs its job of heating/cooling effectively, ridding our body of toxins and being receptive to detecting threats such as pain or insects and other assaults due to numbing our sensors (hair and follicle reception of unwanted things) while slathered in goop and the hair stuck to the skin.

 

 

Discomfort  I can withstand some discomfort in the name of safety and wellness but seriously, try to slather on a second (or third) application of sunscreen to skin covered in grass clipping, dirt, and mulch bits and sweat.

 

 

 

I continue on my quest for the perfect solution to the sunscreen debate. I now wear coconut oil on my face mixed with a tinted moisturizer made with organic ingredients. This keeps my face from drying out and/or becoming seriously sunburned. As for the rest of my exposed flesh I struggle with the idea of slapping on a product that I am uncomfortable with. I go between a few sunscreens that I am alright with but I still question long-term safety. I will always be on the lookout for an optimal skin protection regime and question, question, question everything I come across. It’s in my nature, I can’t help it.

“I was raised with the notion that it is OK to ask questions, and it was OK to say, I’m not sure.” – Peter Jennings

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.