Remember When

I made a super-quick trip home to Canada this past weekend for my nephew’s wedding, and let me tell you I made the absolute most of my 56 hours in the country! I slept less than 15 of those hours (apparently sleeping is for wimps when I’m home), leaving me with about 41 hours to enjoy my peeps! I spent time with my spirit animal Soupsie, I saw my other BFFs (EJ, G-NA, etc), caught up with my favorite cousins, and was reunited with my Wee One for the weekend. Yaa! Of course I got to see my brother and his fam jam – I really love the family that he has made, and I absolutely envy what they’ve got going on there. They are a lovely family – I’m glad that he has that.

The most interesting thing that I noticed this weekend was that I become a completely different person when I am at home – this was the first time that I REALLY noticed it, even though I’m sure it has always been that way. I become the very best me that I think I have inside, and I wish that I could keep that up all the time. Maybe the thing is that I don’t feel like I have to try as hard as I do when I’m here, as I will be surrounded by unconditional love regardless. As well, I love the collective sense of humor up there – these folks get my jokes without requiring an explanation complete with hand gestures and interpretive dance moves. I love that.

I managed to catch a few snippets of the news whilst at home, which delighted my soul. Watching the American television coverage of the disaster that has become the government in this country is pretty much guaranteed to ruin your day. However, the impartial eyes of the North bring a lot of clarity to the insanity down here – I’m going to continue to try to stream my beloved CBC (and BBC) online. It’s time to Susan Powter this shit and stop the insanity.

Here’s a quick look at some of the things that I saw:

Overall, it was such a good weekend, and I absolutely sobbed when the plane pulled away from the terminal on Monday morning. I love being home, and I so miss the people and the – actually, I miss the everything. I will just leave it at that. 🙂

Before I go, here’s Ed Sheeran singing about his home – he gets it. 🙂

Have a good day, friends!

Xxx

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Love Story

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I have a good friend from work who is madly in love. He and his lady have been together about four years, and they are more into each other now than ever. He is crazy about her – a picture of her is his screensaver on his phone, he talks about her all the time, he moved heaven and earth to help her find a job this spring (that part actually made me feel a bit weird, tbh – she’s a competent woman, she could do that on her own…but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t want someone to help me!)…he proposed in grand fashion last November (I wrote about it here), and they decided to have a legal common law marriage enacted while they were saving for their dream wedding, as it made things easier for combining finances etc, but mainly because he didn’t want to go another day without being able to call her his wife. It’s unbelievable how romantic these two are. And I can hardly get a man to acknowledge me in public and return my texts. Huh.
Some folks are really good at expressing love – others, well, not so much. Psychology Today offers this suggested list for those people:
10 Ways to Express Love
Keep love alive from wedding day to every day with spouse, family, and friends.

Love is a choice as much as it is a feeling or a decision. Those who give love receive love. Recently we have seen research talking about conflict resolution and conflict recovery in terms of lasting romantic relationships. Each of the studies had me rethinking the work of Elizabeth Schoenfeld, a researcher at the University of Texas, Austin, who revealed that men and woman show love through affection – but that each takes a different tact.

Wives did so “by enacting fewer negative or antagonistic behaviors, husbands showed love by initiating sex, sharing leisure activities, and doing household work together with their wives.” Love Knows No Gender Difference – Health Information – Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Ten Ways to Express Love

Here are 10 ways to express love to your special someone, your friends, family, children. By expressing love we bring ourselves joy knowing that love is not just a Valentine moment, but an ongoing, free flowing experience that enriches our lives.

Express gratitude. Tell someone how much you appreciate their presence in your life.

Send flowers for no reason other than to say “Thank you for being you.”

Set aside time to give the gift of listening. Make a date if you must, in your own home or at a quiet little neighborhood place, for coffee or a drink and just listen to each other’s thoughts.

Keep anger at bay. During stressful times think of this image. If an ember flies from a fireplace onto your rug, it will burn a hole. Flick it off immediately and the rug is safe.

Be thoughtfully generous with gifts. Remember what is special about a person in your life and buy gifts that are unique to them. I had to forgo a trip to Paris because it conflicted with a business meeting in San Diego. My sister purchased a designer umbrella picturing the Seine, the Pont Neuf, and the Eiffel Tower as a reminder that there will always be another time for Paris.

Order fortune cookies with love sayings or Italian Baci candies with love notes and keep a glass jar in your home filled with them. You might also intersperse with gratitude sayings.

Offer an act of kindness. Say to your love or someone you care about, “What can I do for you today that will make your life easier and less stressful?” Then do it.

Write a note and send it via the U.S. Mail. Here’s a simple start: “I am so grateful that you are in my life. I love you for a million reasons. Here are the top three.”

Make time to be together for events that bring you both pleasure.

Be forgiving. We all have quirks. When one surfaces that makes you want to scream, either gently say something or switch to the positive-quality channel.

In the book, “Around the Year with Emmet Fox: A Book of Daily Readings,” Fox challenges us to make this commitment by saying: “I have chosen the path of Love. My own heart is to be my workshop, my laboratory, my great enterprise, and love is to be my contribution to humanity.”

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All of these are good ideas, most of them not exactly earth shattering…but I am pretty crazy about the idea of the “positive-quality channel” – I kind of love that, don’t you. It’s so easy (way too easy) to get sucked into the negativity drain that seems to be everywhere around us, instead of focusing on the things that are going right. This is something that I have been working so hard on – I don’t know if I’m making progress or not, but I am trying. I really took it to heart when I heard this gem: is it better to be right or to be happy? I’ve always HAD to be right (because I usually am 😜)…being right mattered so much. I wanted to be the smart one who does everything right – and I’ve no idea why I ever cared. Being right fills me with indignant satisfaction, which can feel nice in the moment – but happy makes me fuzzy and lasts a much longer time. I like happy.

This morning at a back-to-school event, I ran in to a woman I used to work for. She’s the devil incarnate, and I cringed inside as I saw her approaching me. The look on her face as she saw me, though, was pretty much the best thing ever: she looked like she was looking for a hole she could disappear in, as that option was preferable than having to face me. She looked so miserable – which kind of made me happy. I know that I should never take satisfaction in the misery of others, but I kind of did this morning. She looked like she felt something at the sight of me – I doubt it was remorse for all of the massively shitty things she did to make my life a living hell, but…it was something. Which is good enoug for me. 🙂

 

Wherever you go today, I hope that you are loving someone…and that they are loving you. Out loud. With a picture of you on their phone and everything. 🙂

xxx,

I Remember You

NOTE: I wrote this is May, but didn’t post it due to technical difficulties. I wanted to share it now.

 

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My former boss, mentor, colleague, and friend passed away last week. I have known for about 6 weeks that recovery was unlikely following some serious heart attacks and health situations, but the news did not go down easily. When I heard that the family had been called in last Tuesday morning, I knew that this was it; as the day progressed, every update from the hospital left me feeling that I would never again swallow the lump in my throat, and the tears just wouldn’t stop. While on bus duty, ironically standing in the same spot where he and I had stood together and shot the breeze about a million times before, I got the call that he had passed…and the tears started again. It didn’t matter that I was standing surrounded by hundreds of people – I let the emotion pour over me…I felt so sad for my friend. We had discussed retirement about 4893 times over the years, and he loved to tell me all of his ideas and plans for his “life after school work”…but he didn’t get to do a single one of them. That is what makes me so sad – you work hard your whole life, saving and planning for those years when your responsibilities have all been met…I’m sorry that he won’t see that time. 😦

Our last conversation happened on Tuesday, April 4th, his last day at work. We were chatting on the phone about a whole lot of nothing (mostly we talked about what jobs I had applied for and where I was likely to be moving to next school year) – and then this conversation happened:

HIM – Hey, you know that if these schools you were just talking about don’t work out, I think I know where you should go!

ME- Where?

HIM – It’s new, hasn’t opened yet. I think you’d be perfect!

ME – You mean ***** (the name of the new high school that’s going to be opening here in August)? I don’t really know that there will be an opening there for me.

HIM – No! It’s another new place! I think you’d be great!

ME – (trying to think of any other new schools opening in the area) Where is it?

HIM – They’re opening a new Hooters on 151…you’d be perfect!!!

 

And then he laughed. And I laughed, as I told him what a jackass he was. I had no idea this would be our last conversation….but what a way to finish a conversation. I never had the chance to tell him how much I appreciate all that he did for me, and what his friendship has meant to me, but…I’m pretty sure that he knew. I hope so.

Xxx

Vacation

Hey strangers! Welcome back!

It’s been way too long since we’ve seen each other – and I am sorry about that. Part of the problem was technical difficulties (which I am sure will still take me awhile to get fully fixed — maybe it’s a sign that it’s time for a redesign?), but the bulk of the problem was me. These past few months have been so difficult and so stressful that I didn’t feel positive inside about much…and I didn’t want to inflict that on you. So I stayed quiet, and retreated inside my mind. I’ve spent a lot of time at home, hanging and cuddling with my Wee Muppet. I’ve made significant headway in getting caught up on all of my favorite TV shows on Netflix and Hulu. I’ve embarked on a massive Kondo-style (almost) decluttering of my home (she is totally right about that shit being liberating, btw….but what a nightmare of a process) – while not finished, I’ve made significant progress this summer. I’ve applied for dozens of new jobs – and, while I’ve not had any great results yet, I am trying to be optimistic…as it only takes one person to hire you and change the course of your life. Happy thoughts, friends…happy thoughts. 🙂

How have you spent your vacation, mes amis? I hope that you’ve found wonderful ways to soothe your soul – whether it’s through travel or fun and relaxing staycations. We haven’t ventured far this summer, as we are heading home to Canada later this week for a family wedding – yaa! I’m unreasonably excited about the voyage to the homeland, even if I will only be there for the weekend. Since we had this trip coming up, we didn’t do much for travel this summer other than a quick overnight to Houston, a couple of day trips to Austin, and a visit to the lake about an hour away. Hopefully we will find time to head back to the coast before school begins at the end of August – I always enjoy my trips there so much. I can’t remember if I told you this or not, but back in late April, I decided on a whim to make a quick day trip to Port Aransas/Corpus Christi area…that turned into one of the most fun adventures! We found a new restaurant / hole-in-the-wall with AMAZING food on the island, had a beautiful drive, took a ferry ride (and saw dolphins!!!), and ended up spontaneously deciding to stay overnight in Corpus! Despite the fact that I had no change of clothes other than the random t-shirts in my car, a great time was had by all — especially me. Happiness is heading out on an adventure, with nothing more than a cooler full of ice and Eastciders Blood Orange Cider (heaven, if you are interested in knowing what that tastes like). Happiness. 🙂

I guess I will sign off for now, but I promise to be back super-soon. We will get back to talking about the lovely things in the world around us – something that seems more important now than ever before, don’t you think?

Xxx

If I Knew You Were Comin’, I’d Have Baked a Cake

I’m posting the original recipes photo, as it is SO pretty – but, no lie here, mine totally looks like this (minus the carrot hearts). Delicious!

Since having some health issues last fall (massive gall bladder infection/emergency surgery/near-death experience), I have had a miserable time eating. This has been sad, as I am a girl who LOVES food (check out the width of my arse to validate that statement). I have been going through a process of elimination kind of thing, and have determined that wheat/gluten and dairy were causing my issues – so about 7 weeks ago, I quit both. Cold turkey. It sucked. I nearly wept for cheese (okay, I totally did), and I began looking at dinner rolls like they were lined with gold and stuffed with diamonds, but I stuck to my guns (and my restrictive diet). It made a MASSIVE difference – I felt 168% better – woohoo! I am hoping that this change isn’t forever, but that, after a reboot of sorts, I will be able to return to my regularly-scheduled eating. However, in the meantime, I am learning a whole new way of cooking and eating – and, honestly, it ain’t been that bad. I came across this recipe for Healthified Carrot Cake this weekend, and it turned out frighteningly delicious – who knew? My kid even ate some – woohoo!!! Double success!! Here’s the recipe:

Cake Ingredients:
1 cup + 6 tbsp of my gf flour mix {1/2 cup brown rice flour, ½ cup tapioca starch, 6 tbsp sweet sticky rice flour/glutinous rice flour, ½ tsp guar gum}{or, if using a store-bought mix I recommend using 1¼ cups of Pamela’s Artisan Flour Blend}.
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
1½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 cup maple syrup {or another liquid sweetener like agave, etc.}
½ cup unsweetened applesauce {for a homemade version, see here}
1 tbsp lemon juice
1½ cups finely grated carrots
1 cup of add-ins of your choice: I used ½ cup raisins, ½ cup walnuts {other traditional add-ins you can try: other nuts or dried fruit, shredded coconut}

Frosting Ingredients:
1½ cups cashews, presoaked for at least a few hours {or for 15 mins in boiled water, if in a rush}
⅓ cup water or non-dairy milk, warm or at room temperature {milk would give it a slightly whiter look}
¼ cup maple syrup, at room temperature {or liquid sweetener of your choice}
3 – 4 tbsp coconut oil, softened
2 tbsp lemon juice, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Optional Carrot Hearts Topping:
a few extra carrots and a tiny heart cookie cutter {I used the one that came with my linzer cookie cutters set}

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350F. Generously butter an 8″ x 12″ cake pan {or anything of a similar size} and set aside.
Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Add in sweetener, applesauce, and lemon juice and use a mixer to mix everything together. Add in the grated carrots mix through once more to incorporate. Fold in the add-in items. Transfer this batter into the prepared cake pan. Level the top using a spatula to even out the surface.
Bake in a preheated oven for approximately 23 minutes until the top becomes golden and a skewer inserted down the center comes out dry. Remove from oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare the frosting by placing all ingredients in a good blender and process until completely smooth {I used my Vitamix for this}. Adjust the sweetness to taste. Feel free to add a hint more water/milk to help blending as needed. Note that if your ingredients are not at room temp here, the coconut oil will begin to set before the frosting is blended through.
Once the cake has completely cooled, spread the frosting over the top evenly. Place the cake in the fridge for at least an hour or two to help the frosting set a little {unless you don’t mind a very soft frosting, of course 😉 }.
If using the carrot heart topping, simply slice the carrots into thin rounds {1/16″ of an inch or so}, and then use a little heart cutter to cut out a heart out of each slice. Sprinkle the hearts over the top of the cake, cut the cake into slices and serve! {Note: the carrots will brown up after a few hours, so best to make them & decorate with them right before serving}. Enjoy!

I didn’t make the heart-shaped carrots (I know my limitations), but I did pull off the rest of this recipe – and I’m totally pleased with how it turned out. Yaa! Even if you aren’t having to stick to a restrictive diet for health reasons, I would totally recommend the carrot cake – it’s pretty healthy, and dammmmmn delicious. Yum. Enjoy!

xxx

In the Mood

Check out this commercial from French supermarket chain Intermarché – it’s adorable:

I miss French thinking – the simplest things in life can be extraordinarily romantic…I don’t seem to see much of that here in the United States. What do you think? Has today’s top speed pace of life, with all its technology and “convenience” killed romance and love and making connections? Sometimes I wonder.

xxx

PS: If you fancy bringing a bit more love into your life, grab yourself one of these Heart Projectors from Urban Outfitters – they are on sale now, and I WANT ONE!!! 🙂

The Sound of Silence

I’ve been in Houston for a couple of days on a work trip – it was an easy, peaceful drive here on Wednesday (I FINALLY got around to listening to the first season of ‘Serial’, and OMG am I hooked! LOVE it!!), I had a great walk around and shop at the Galleria (which is right across the street from my hotel), my conference sessions have been tolerable…it’s been a pretty decent time. I decided to spend my Thursday evening exploring Houston’s Museum District, and am I ever glad I did! WOW!! I can’t wait to come back!! Have you been?

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I started at the Rothko Chapel, where something very strange happened. Are you familiar with this place? If not, here’s a brief description:

The Rothko Chapel is a non-denominational chapel in Houston, Texas, founded by John and Dominique de Menil. The interior serves not only as a chapel, but also as a major work of modern art. On its walls are fourteen black but color hued paintings by Mark Rothko. The shape of the building, an octagon inscribed in a Greek cross, and the design of the chapel was largely influenced by the artist.

Susan J. Barnes states “The Rothko Chapel…became the world’s first broadly ecumenical center, a holy place open to all religions and belonging to none. It became a center for international cultural, religious, and philosophical exchanges, for colloquia and performances. And it became a place of private prayer for individuals of all faiths” 

On September 16, 2000, the Rothko Chapel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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I entered the octagonal room and found a bunch of benches, and a few people in the room, some on the benches and one on the floor. It was absolutely quiet. I took a seat on one of the benches, picked a direction to face, and got comfortable – I wasn’t prepared for what happened to me next. I lowered my head and closed my eyes, and just sat. About 2579 thoughts roared through my head (as per usual), but then they slowed down…and nearly stopped. I’ve never experienced this before. I felt instantly uncomfortable, as if I could smell smoke somewhere nearby and needed to get out of the way of an impending inferno – but I didn’t move. I didn’t even open my eyes. I kept sitting there, thinking about all of the things that have been going on lately, and what I can do to change them. Then I started thinking about all of the good things that I have going on – and that was when the tears started. I still didn’t open my eyes or raise, my head – I just sat there, head down, moisture leaking out the sides of my eyes and dropping onto the floor. For whatever reason, this starkly simple, small room had somehow affected me in much grander ways…I’m still struggling to explain the experience.

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Once I pulled myself together, I sat up and opened my eyes – new people had joined us in the chapel, and I hadn’t even heard the doors open. I studied all of the paintings, moving a complete 360, to ensure that I had the chance to look at each one – and then I silently collected my belongings, and left. As I walked out of the chapel, I felt a calm and peace that I have rarely felt in my life…I think some of it is still lingering. What an absolutely magical place..and I’m hard-pressed to explain exactly where the magic came from.

From there, I moved on to the Museum of Fine Arts – what a gorgeous institution! It was open until 9:00pm on Thursday nights (woohoo!), and it was FREE! Double Woohoo! I LOVED this museum, and wish I’d had the time to explore the entire collection – but now I have an excuse to come back! I focused my efforts on the Impressionists (of course), and I found some true beauties! LOVE!!!! Here’s just a couple:

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I loved my trip to this museum so much, I can’t even tell you! It reminded me of visiting museums in Paris, London or New York (I don’t mean to be a name dropper, but it’s true!) – I can’t wait to plan a weekend here, and come back with the Wee Muppet! 🙂 Yaaa! 🙂

I’ve always had a rather negative opinion of Houston (too hot, too humid, too crowded, etc) – but I need to seriously revise my opinion. Yes, it is all of those things – but it is SO MUCH MORE….I can’t wait to come back and see what other treasures I can find! 🙂

xxx

 

Hard Advice

I just want to share this article with you – please read it, carefully, and let the words soak into your brain. There’s good stuff here:

19 Radical Truths I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self

by Fran Sorin

Something happens to a woman when she turns 50. Call it an awakening of sorts—a tipping point. For me, it was as if a cloud had been lifted and I could finally see what really mattered in life. The realization hit me hard. I’d been on this earth for a half a century and my time was limited. This coming of age, for me, came with a feeling of freedom and urgency.

It’s a time to take stock of your life: where you’ve succeeded and where you’ve failed, opportunities you’ve passed up and those you’ve taken advantage of. Ask yourself what you love and what you want to change. How do you want to journey through this next phase of your life?

Reflecting on my younger years, I wished an older, wiser woman had taken the time to help me create a road map for a life of meaning, creativity, and joy.

It would have saved me a lot of time, confusion, and worry. And it would have given me clarity, a sense of calm, focus, and self-assuredness as I journeyed through this very complex world of ours. With that in mind, here are some of the things I would’ve liked to tell myself a few decades ago:

1. You have to be your own top priority.

If you tend to your own well-being first, you’ll have much more energy to help others. Because women have historically taken on the role of caretakers, it’s something we do reflexively. Remember that practicing self-care is not selfish. It’s a necessity if you want to lead a rich and productive life.

2. Nothing is worth sacrificing your health.

Although our culture talks a lot about de-stressing, the majority of us are still leading stressful lives. When you realize that most diseases are related to lifestyle choices, you might get serious about integrating exercise, nutrition, and relationships into your daily life. You’ll be astounded by how much more productive, positive, and healthy you feel.

3. The people around you should be those who love you and support your growth.

How many times have you spent time with a friend or family member who is negative, judgmental, or an energy vampire? Stop making excuses for the toxic people in your life. Anyone who is consistently negative needs to be kept at a distance. Your five closest friends are a mirror of what you truly think of yourself. Make sure that they embody attributes and values you cherish.

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4. To get anywhere, you have to get comfortable with saying no.

It takes practice to catch yourself if you tend to say yes out of habit. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be delighted to see how much time and energy you have to pursue your passions.

5. Don’t let anyone else’s perception influence your choices.

People who fill their lives up with stuff they think they “should” do rarely feel fulfilled. Replace “I should” with “I choose to” or “I want” and see what you come up with. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. Spending time chasing the approval of others will not only drain your energy but will keep you from uncovering the best parts of yourself. When you catch yourself in self-doubt, call on your wise inner self to remind yourself that you only need to please and receive approval from yourself—no one else.

6. Doubts hold you back; affirmations propel you forward.

Women spend so much time questioning whether or not they’re good enough, smart enough, pretty enough. As soon as you hear that inner critic, replace that voice with the phrase, “I am enough” or “I am the artist of my life.” I can’t tell you how many clients have tried this technique with astounding results. They report back to me that they feel like a weight has been lifted off of their shoulders and that their self-perception has been dramatically improved.


7. There’s always time to be still.

Our culture places a high priority on productivity and keeping busy. If you give yourself 15 minutes of quiet time the morning, you’ll start your day from a centered, calm state, so that no matter what happens you’ll be able to respond thoughtfully rather than react instinctively.

8. You need to become a person you can love before you try to love anyone else.

Look at yourself in your bathroom mirror each morning and say “Good morning. I love you.” It may sound hokey, but the more you do it, the more you’ll come to appreciate who you really are. You’ll discover internal beauty and great self-love by making this one small change.

9. Gratitude really does change your life.

Develop a daily gratitude practice. It takes five minutes. I love sitting with a notebook and taking stock of what I’m grateful for each morning. Whatever comes to my mind, I write down in a quick list format. The key is to allow yourself to experience the feeling of gratitude. For example, if you’re truly grateful for the delicious cup of coffee you’re drinking, take a deep breath and sink into the sensation of appreciation you feel for that cup of coffee.

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10. It’s cool to be your own best friend.

Becoming familiar with your moods, motivations, and deepest desires is critical if you want to live a meaningful, abundant, and productive life. Rather than walking through your day mindlessly, check in with yourself every few hours. How do you feel? If you have a strong negative reaction to something, take note of it. Figure out why. Notice when you feel pleasure, fun, joy, spirituality, and creativity: Being aware of these positive experiences means you can find ways to incorporate more of them into your life.

11. You are responsible for yourself—and only yourself.

Blaming external circumstances for your unhappiness will only perpetuate it. Instead, when you find yourself bemoaning the state of the world, affirm to yourself, “I am responsible for my own life and I choose to create an extraordinary one.”


12. You need to believe in your own abilities.

Once you own that you have the power and ability to create a life that you deeply desire, you’ll experience—deep in your soul—the power you possess, which, in turn, will inspire you to make changes. You’ll also understand that there is a solution to practically every issue and that you have the ability to figure out what that solution is.

13. You’ll always learn more from listening than you will from talking.

Whether with an old friend, a stranger, a family member, or in business, learn the art of listening. Becoming an excellent listener will enable you to develop more intimate and deeper connections. You’ll also have more interesting conversations and it will keep your mind active and growing.

14. Curiosity is the key to never being bored (or obsolete).

We live in a culture that places a high priority on expertise and productivity. If you want to live a rich, creative life, you need to expose yourself to new concepts and practices. And even in areas you’ve been exploring for years, there’s always more to learn. Let go of perfectionism. Be willing to fail. It will reveal so many possibilities.

15. Hatred costs everything. Forgiveness costs nothing.

So many of us hold deep grudges indefinitely. Often, an inability to forgive others is a sign you struggle to forgive yourself. Catch your inner voice making critical or angry comments about others, and acknowledge that what you’re feeling toward them is actually a reflection of how you feel about yourself. Just by noting these feelings and reminding yourself to let them go, you’ll begin to dissolve these feelings of anger and judgment. You’ll experience a rush of positive energy, relief, openheartedness, and compassion.

16. Spending 20 minutes a day in nature is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

It’s a profound way to de-stress, clear your mind of clutter, jump-start creativity, and experience feelings of well-being, calm, and awe. Take just a few minutes a day to awaken your senses and you’ll reap magical benefits in all areas of your life.

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17. You’re much better off doing one thing really well than three things poorly.

We’ve been led to believe that success means multitasking all day long. When you slow down and practice being present and focused each moment, you’ll experience a deeper, richer, and more meaningful life. Try this: Stop whatever you’re doing, sit still, clear your mind, and take three deep breaths. Then start again.

18. “Life is far too important to be taken seriously.”

OK, so I borrowed that one from Oscar Wilde. Life is a paradox. Knowing how to integrate fun, laughter, and playfulness into your pursuit of a meaningful life will jump-start your creativity and enable you to develop deeper connections. Think about it: After you’ve had a good laugh, don’t you feel more light-hearted, happier, and able to continue your day with more ease?

19. Your job here is simple: to create the life of your dreams.

We all have moments of self-doubt. In those moments, let your wiser self remind you that you’re highly intelligent and creative. All it takes to make a difference is the desire and drive to keep making it happen. If you set your mind to it, believe in yourself, and take action, you’ll always find a way to create an extraordinary life. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Great, right? I have come to a lot of these conclusions myself, but it’s only in the past few years that I’ve found my way to this knowledge – imagine how different my story would’ve been had someone told me this when I was younger? Although, I likely wouldn’t have listened, but…still. It might have been nice to have the advice. 😉

xxx

Take Me Away

I saw this article on Lifehack, and thought that I would share it with you:

Removing These 8 Things From Life Can Make You More Successful
By Amy Johnson

Lots of people think that the best way to become successful is to pick up lots of new habits and skills. While this can help, sometimes the best thing you can do is give up the things that distract you from your goals.

Instead of adding more things to your life, try removing some negative things that hold you back from success. Some are very easy to give up, while others require a little more time and effort.

Here are 8 things that you should remove from your life to be more successful:

1. Remove Excuses
Successful people don’t try to blame their family, their friends, their boss or their co-workers for their life. Instead, they understand that they are fully responsible for their own life and situation. They see this as a good thing as it means that they hold the power to significantly improve their life. When you make up excuses you are lying to yourself, which will hold you back from achieving your goals.

2. Remove Perfectionism
Perfection is unattainable, so trying to achieve it is a waste of your time. Instead of worrying about mistakes that you have made or physical flaws that bother you, simply focus on trying to better yourself with small steps. No one is perfect, but anyone can make the decision to be a better person.

Playing Twister is an excellent way to be successful, don't you think?!
Playing Twister is an excellent way to be successful, don’t you think?!

3. Remove Fear
Lots of people make themselves smaller without realizing; they keep quiet during discussions when they want to say something; they avoid taking risks; and they always think about the worst-case scenario. This fearful attitude will stop you from achieving your full potential, so remove it from your life and be brave instead; speak up, voice your thoughts and actively chase your dreams and goals.

4. Remove The Need To Control Everything
You can’t control everything, and trying to do so is a futile task. It won’t help you to become more successful, but it will make you feel stressed, upset and frustrated. Instead of trying to control everything around you, make an effort to care less about the things you can’t control and focus on the things that you can.

5. Remove A Fixed Mindset
Lots of people have a fixed mindset and they make no effort to learn more or change their perception. This makes it hard for them to become more successful as their mindset is stuck in the past. Try to embrace knowledge and learning, and remember that you can always become wiser.

6. Remove The Desire For Overnight Success
Some people believe that the majority of successful people became successful overnight, or that they became successful by chance. While luck can certainly play its part, you can’t rely on luck to become successful. In reality success takes time and dedication, so you should plan for the future as well as the day ahead of you.

I drank this on Christmas Day. Straight out of the bottle, no glass needed. I was VERY successful!
I drank this on Christmas Day. Straight out of the bottle, no glass needed. Never been more successful in my life!

7. Remove Toxic People
If the people around you are negative and pessimistic, over time you will start to become negative and pessimistic too. Remove the toxic people from your life and replace them with optimistic, supportive people who genuinely care about you and your dreams. You will find that you are more motivated to work on your goals, and you will be happier and less stressed.

8. Remove The Need To Say Yes (When Really You Want To Say No)
Some people struggle to say no to the people around them, even if they want to say no. This normally means that they end up wasting time doing things that they don’t want to do, and other people might start to take advantage of them. Be brave and say no when you want to; only you can make your dreams a priority, and it is difficult to do that if you are too busy helping other people with their dreams.

 

This list is golden, don’t you think? Instead of telling you all the things that you need to learn to do and add to your already-overflowing life, this one suggests removing the things that don’t feel good. I LOVE this. I am crazy about the idea of not doing the things that don’t make you happy – for example, I don’t hang out with people who make me feel shitty anymore. I’ve known people who used to like spending time with me because they would put me down, and in the process build themselves up – which is no way to treat a friend, if you ask me. I’m done with it. I didn’t have a dramatic scene where I spelled out just how bloody much they sucked – instead, I always found reasons to say no to making plans with them…and eventually they took the hint. Done with that crap.

I’ve written before of my refusal to keep saying ‘yes’ to every single damn thing that comes my way – if I don’t want to do something (and I don’t have to for work/life), I don’t. Again, no big dramatic moments ever go down…I just say no. It’s liberating! I’m master of my own domaine, and I get to decide how I spend my time and how I am going to feel about it. Woohoo!! 🙂 Just say no – you should try it! 🙂

I’ve never had the perfectionist gene, and I’m pretty good at taking responsibility for my shit and not offering up lame excuses. I am addressing the fear issue at the moment, as this is a biggie for me. I avoid doing all sorts of things that would probably revolutionize my life and how I live it  – all because I am afraid…which is silly. I have gone back to Gabrielle Bernstein’s book “May Cause Miracles” and I am working my way through it, day by day – I’m even doing the exercises and everything! Yaa me! This week, the focus was on being the witness of my thoughts, actions, and energy – and choosing love over fear. I love that. When things get shady and the fight or flight instinct kicks in – take a step back, and choose love. I will keep you posted on how this works out – I am a girl who could realllllllly use a miracle!

Have a good day, mes amis!!! 🙂

xxx

This stuff will definitely make your life better!
This stuff will definitely make your life better!