Yesterday was a perfect day. I had no idea that it was going to be when it started out. In fact in the morning I was a little miffed that I had to go to Treherne with Cecil when he went for lab work. I'd gone to Portage the day before to get a criminal record check, only to be told there that I had to get it in my own area, the Treherne office. So I begrudgingly headed into town with him.
As we got that done, we headed on a drive to Elm Creek to pick up the tarp for the boat, then had lunch in St. Claude and headed for home. It was a beautiful, sunny day, the first we've had for ages with all the smoke that has filled our skies from the wildfires across the country. I decided if I was going to get any pictures of the canola fields that were in bloom, today would be the day, as the smoke and haze is supposed to come back in the next day or so.
When we got home, we both decided that we'd go to our day's projects on the quads. He would ride with me to the field I wanted to photograph, and then we'd carry on in our separate directions. I'd intended to just go to the one field and head for home...but I got sidetracked. More than sidetracked...I got lost in the day...and it was glorious.
I ended up going from one field to another up along PR242. Then headed for home past Mom and Dad's old place. Some of the back-roads I took were so overgrown with clover, you could barely see the trail through, but the sweet smell of the clover was captivating. I'd forgotten how those sights and smells can take you away from your everyday into something magical.
I made stop after stop, turning of the quad, listening to the sounds around me and photographing the wild flowers in the ditches. As I was about to head for home, I ran into a neighbor that told me the pink lady-slippers were in bloom over by the cemetery, so I changed directions again and headed off in search of them, the wind in my hair, the dragonflies surrounding me.
In the end, four hours just disappeared. I never once took my cell phone out of my bag to check for messages, or Facebook or anything else. The time was just mine, capturing the beauty of nature, preserving it's magnificence digitally for days to come when that kind of escape might not be possible.
Back at home, I had to reflect on why I don't allow myself to do that more often than I do. Our days of summer are so limited. Our days are limited, period. Why not grab on to those moments when they appear and go be with nature, with no regrets or excuses..to yourself or others.
I look at all that is going on in the world. All the pain, the wars, the anger. I wonder when was the last time, if ever, that some people have had the opportunity to be lost in the timelessness that I was blessed with yesterday. Have the had the chance to sit in the grass, stare at the sky, explore the wildflowers and just breathe. Even more important...Just BE. If people had more opportunities to commune with Mother Earth, would there be that anger and disconnect that is so prevalent today? I don't thing so, and I know that it's not easy or possible for everyone. Most of the world does not live in the boon-docks as I do...but what if they could find a way to just spend some time away from it all. All the noise, all the buildings, all the other people who are also in that space. I wonder and I wish that opportunity for all, just every now and then.
Have you ever read Mitch Albom’s ‘The Five People you Meet in Heaven’? Its one of my favourite books…well, maybe I should really say most of his books are ‘one of my’ favourites! But that one I love, mostly because in it Mitch proposes that heaven will be whatever we really, really want it to be, based on our life experience, our favourite moments and places, and what our perfect place would be. What a wonderful idea!
What is most incredible about is is how blessed I am that I am living in my heaven as I write. I’ve always loved and cherished this little nook in the world, but every year I think I cherish it more. We’ve created a little campground, up on the hill, in back of the main yard. It’s got the most beautiful sunsets over the Assiniboine River Valley. It’s so quiet, you could literally hear a pin drop, except when the generator is running to charge up the batteries in the 5th wheel. When it’s off, there isn’t a sound. Not the hum of a furnace, or traffic, or anything. What there is are birds, insects, the gentle breeze and occasionally the howl of coyotes in the distance.
We put our camper up here early in the year, and take advantage of as many moments as we can. I can tether my cell to get a little wifi reception, to work on things that I’m passionate about pursuing. The cell phone might ring, but most times not. And for the most part it is absolute, blissful peace and tranquility. It feeds my soul and nourishes my spirit like nothing else seems to be able to do. Time at the ocean comes close, but that always comes at a cost…the price of energy expended to share that space with the hundreds of other people who have chosen that as their get away of choice. This is different. This is ours, and the only other people that might be here in this little niche are those we’ve invited to embrace this with us.
I like the camper, because that is ‘my space’. Cecil prefers the quiet and the rustic life he can enjoy in his cabin, just feet away from where our camper is sitting. On the deck of the cabin, we’ve got the greatest swing that was given to us by friends who were moving and decided not to take it with them. We can sit and swing and just stare out into the beauty of the valley for hours, without the need for a word to be spoken. Just drinking in the beauty and the quiet that is this place.
We all need that ‘place’ that is ours to go to. To gather our spirits, reboot and reenergize our souls and ground ourselves for all that the world throws at us. I know how lucky I am to have this, and hope that you have a place of your own that does that for you. It doesn’t have to be large, or remote or even space that is your own, if it’s somewhere that allows you to breathe more deeply and connect more solidly with the source of what keeps you going day after day. If you don’t have that space for you….you need to find one. Honor yourself by making finding that space that is yours a priority, not something that you’ll do one day. Something you will do now, before the world pulls any more from you that you don’t have a chance to replenish.
Some people are pulled to nature, as I am. Others find that in a sacred building, a sanctuary, a coffee house that affords them a corner to themselves, or a museum. It can be on a bench along a small strip of greenspace, or a walkway along the water’s edge. It can be whatever your idea of Heaven might be, even if it’s a sacred space you’ve created in your own home that is yours to go to and be undisturbed for the time needed to replenish yourself. The where is as individual as each of us are, but the need to find this and gift it to ourselves is universal. Have you found your little peace of ‘heaven’ here on earth that nourishes you? If not, what are you waiting for….because you know it’s waiting for you.
When we are being who we truly are, our days flow, our time is spent doing things that call to our hearts. We're allowed to use our gifts in ways that are meaningful to us, and hopefully helpful to others. There is joy in what we're working on and creating, and I saw a great quote on facebook the other day that said when we are working hard on something that we don't care about, it's called stress. When we are working hard on something that we do care about it's called passion. Loved that explanation!
So I have been working harder of late, but it's all be on what I am passionate about. My most recent project was to finish a song I'd been working on to hopefully continue to play a role in raising the awareness of our missing and murdered women, men and children. I think when you find something that calls to your heart, you can find ways to make a little difference from wherever you are. I am hoping that this will do that.
In the midst of it all, I'm continuing to learn, and grow and expand my own knowledge, and that is such a marvelous feeling. To know that at whatever stage of life we're at we can continue to grow and develop skills that allow us to be more effective at whatever it is we're hoping to achieve on this journey. Live. Love. Learn. Laugh. That's this weeks message to myself, and anyone who takes the time to read this. Never stop doing any of them, and if in doing so you have the chance to make a small difference in the world. Then do it..we're all in this together, it's time we remembered that
So to close, here's the video I worked on and put out into the world this week. Quality is home grown, and hopefully down the road there will be a better version, but for now, it's the message I want to share. It's not about perfection. It's about just doing our best as it currently is. Thanks for letting me share.
I found this video just at the perfect time, and it resonates to deeply with the things I'm feeling these days. My husband will tell you and confirm, that I am as guilty as anyone of multi-tasking...especially when it's just he and I. Why do we do that, why do we work so hard to keep connected with people and groups and causes around the world, at the neglect of the one who is sitting here right within reach. I know I'm not the only one, but I am the only one I can make change this habit.
We all find it so easy to get distracted. To keep checking for texts and facebook notices and instagram pictures...that we miss out on the connection that is right in front of us. To be Truly Me, I have to get better at that. This video was a great reminder to me to be more present especially here at home, where at the end of the day, it's where your presence is most valued, most appreciated and most remembered.
Take a moment to watch the video, then tell me it doesn't strike a chord! This season I hope more of us can commit to #GivePresence in our homes, our communities and in all places where we have an opportunity to make an impact!
WARNING: It does manage to drop an f-bomb, that I'd prefer they hadn't, because I think we can get messages across to people without resorting to that , but I do like the underlying message.
It started in December of 2012. I was on my way home from my training as a Passion Test facilitator, and had been doing much deep thinking about what was truly meaningful in life, or more specifically, my life. That can be a dangerous thing for me to do.
We were a matter of weeks away from Christmas, and I had yet to do my shopping, but I tend to put it off because I really just don't like it. It wasn't just that Christmas had become so hard with all the losses over the past few years...my parents, mother-in-law...most deeply my son. But as I reflected, it had been a long time since I'd enjoyed it. I remembered back to my days as a child, and in my twenties, and Christmas was so special. We would wait all year, knowing that then might be the time we received those things we wanted so badly. And that would be if 'Santa' was able to afford it, as it wasn't always the case. That was when we'd receive the new clothes, the toys, the crafts...and you played with and cherished them until the next Christmas came around.
But the world is different now. We've become so disposable, and so unwilling to wait for anything. What we want, we get, so that come the holidays there is very little left on the wish-list. Add to that how incredibly commercial it is with the push by advertisers that the wish-list has become so big, so expensive or so technical, that it becomes a financial burden for families for months to follow, and in some cases years.
I thought about our large, combined family. For years we'd get each of the grandchildren something useful, or smaller, clothes or a toy. Then because we don't see them as often, or don't know what their individual tastes are, we'd give each of them a card with $50 in it so they could go and buy themselves something. But as I thought about this habit on the trip home from San Diego, I became very sad, realizing that the habit was only widening the distance between them and us, as we never followed up on what it was that they chose to purchase, who they were becoming, if they even appreciated the money that was received. My heart told me it was time for change, to bring a different meaning to these large family gatherings, and a stronger connection to those we love.
There was another catalyst to my wanting to make change as well. Whenever I am away from home, I worry, as I'm sure many others do, that in our absence someone will break in. It's not that we don't have insurance to cover everything we have...stuff is replaceable. But what I always tended to worry about more was my 'treasures', those things I've held on to as the family historian, or the pack-rat who attaches so much memory to items, knowing that if someone came in and vandalized our home, those 'treasures' would likely be destroyed and they were not things that I could replace.
The final thing that had me thinking was that I'd spent the previous two years in the clean up of my parents estate spending days on end going through the boxes and shelves of a home that held our family history for four generations. With that came the sadness that so much of this 'stuff' meant something to someone. Of course there were things that were clearly valued that you could tell why, but there were more things that were kept for reasons we can't know, and there was a certain sadness of getting rid of someone elses 'treasures'. I learned much from that process, and several things came out of it. One being our new Christmas tradition.
I decided that year that from now on we all have enough 'stuff', and in so many cases we have way too much. I want to pass along things to our kids that have meaning, at least for me, and I hope that in doing that I can provide a deeper meaning for them in terms of what I value, but also what is now their history, as they are now part of my family. So I started that year, looking around the house at all of those things that I have my heart attached to, and began picking out one thing for each person in the family, our children and grandchildren. My husband Cecil did the same.
When we had picked out something for everyone, I then wrote each of them a letter to go with the item. I explained to them why this item was so close to my heart, who it had come from, how I'd ended up with it...any story attached to it that I wanted to share.
It was such an amazing experience, because as I wrote those letters and shared those memories, all of my lost loved ones gathered around me and became part of the celebration of all the wonderful memories I've had the privilege of collecting on this journey. In sharing the stories I was able to share them with my own grandchildren and they could begin to see the people that were so instrumental in laying the foundation of who I have become. My own grandparents, my parents, my son as well as Cecil's parents.
The second part of that Christmas's gift was creating a certificate for each of the grand-kids to fill out telling us what they would like to do in the next year with either their Grandpa, myself or both of us, that we could do together to create a memory. This part made me very nervous, I will admit, because we could have had 12 kids all say they wanted to go to Disney world, and we'd have had to find a way to make it happen, as we'd opened the door. But they didn't, instead we had wishes like going to a movie together, going put-put glow golfing, a camping trip in the summer, having manicures together, me teaching one to play guitar and a day of baking together.
I had been very nervous that they would look at this decision at our Christmas gathering and wonder what in the heck I had in my mind, passing along all this old 'stuff' and not receiving the expected $50 (which note to self, would have worked out a lot cheaper in the end, but we wouldn't be where we are now as a family). Instead, everyone felt it was our best Christmas ever, and the best part was it lasted so long into the New Year as we arranged dates to follow through on all that we'd promised we'd do together. That time spent together has created an entirely different connection, and I'm loving it.
One of my greatest memories is from after the day Haley and I had our baking day, making cupcakes for Grandpa's birthday at a campground in Kenora. The family knows I'm not a baker, but we did it, even though some of the cupcakes turned out a little dark you might say. She said not to worry, she's just put more icing on those ones. When we were done she asked me if we were going to do certificates again the upcoming Christmas, so I asked her if she thought we should. She said yes, that was the best Christmas ever. That coming from a nine year old was a compliment that warmed my heart so much, and so we did.
I love so many things about that decision. I love that we are challenged to keep that list in mind, and arrange our lives around making sure it gets fulfilled and the time we promised is spent. I love that when the kids come to my house now, they are looking at everything differently and asking the story behind things, engaging in a completely different way. I love that we are creating memories, because from where I stand now, looking back, I remember so little of the things that people gave me, but so much of the memories we made together. That is what I want for them.
Last year, to make sure everyone had something to unwrap, we got each of the kids a gingerbread house kit..the one year old right through to the eighteen year olds. I made sure that we had lots of extra decoration and had everything set up, so that after the tobogganing, eating, snowmobiling and unwrapping was done, everyone headed down to the tables in the garage and we spent the next two hours putting together those little works of art. The kids loved it, the adults had no choice but to help, and we as a family had fun...together. To me, that is what the spirit of Christmas is about.
Thanks for letting me share.
It can be hard. It can be really hard to figure out who you are in this life. Especially after years, and years of being the 'roles' that you've lived. We become so lost in those roles. Whether its the work we do, the gifts we have, our station in a family or a community, we become so much of what we do, that we forget just who it is that we are. It happens to almost all of us.
I get that. I live it just like you do, but I am intent on continuing my growth towards who I am and how I want to be spending my time. That can be difficult and it can be scary.
I have recently taken a big step back from the work that I have been doing for the last twelve years. It was time, and I knew that, because the joy that filled my heart in doing that work was no longer present. And if we don't have joy in our lives, what else is there?
It is frightening when you step away from the security of knowing what your income will be, what the expectations of the role you play are, what is familiar. But there is a there is a comfortable peace that comes with those big decisions if your heart knows that they are right for you. And my heart seems to know.
Cancer was definitely the catalyst to make the decision, but only a catalyst. So now at 54 the real work begins, the work of ensuring that I remain authentic to what fires me up, brings me to joy and breaths life into my spirit. I know that I cannot support others to do that, if I am not living those values myself.
Initially there was a certain amount of guilt in that I am spending so much of my days doing the things that I love to do! Playing more deeply with my photography, learning more about social media and website development, writing...writing, writing, writing. And expanding my coaching business and what it can offer others. But the funny thing about doing what it is you are meant to be doing is that things begin to flow, and they begin to fall into place in some most unexpected ways. They days go by and if someone asks what you did, it's hard to explain because on one level it could be seen as nothing really, but on a level that really matters you did everything! It's a wonderful place to be.
The one thing I am very intentional about is that whatever I am doing, it is aligned with my passions. My list is always close at hand, and if I question something as to whether it is moving me closer to my vision and my passion I pull that list out and read it through one more time. If the answer is no, then I put the request or the activity aside, and return to what fuels my spirit. That can be challenging in it's own right, because so many of us live our lives as people pleasers that have spent decades saying yes to what matters least, sacrificing what matters most, in an effort to please others in our lives. To not let others down. To not be considered selfish or self-centered by those we love.
But the truth is, that those that love us are going to keep loving us. They will begin to see those actions not as an insult, but as you making self-care a priority in your life, and respecting that. And in an ideal world, they will see the value of doing that for themselves as well when they see you lead by example.
So here's to always growing and to growing all ways. Here's to taking the leap of faith that this is what is meant to happen at this stage of life, and trusting that the net will be there to catch you. Here's to knowing that the universe will provide for you when you are aligned and living the life that you were intended to live. Sharing the gifts that only you have to share, doing the 'work' that your gifts and passions were intended to do. And spreading the light that is YOU into this world. Here's to each of us being who we truly are...being Truly You!
Note to my readers: I need you to know that if you do decide to click on any of the advertisements on my site, I may receive compensation as an affiliate of these businesses that I support...but I hope you know that in doing so you are supporting my own vision of living life on my own passionate terms and being truly me!
It was an interesting evening last night. So much is changing around us right now, as we await further information on where our journey is headed...and, knowing that the only constant we have in our lives is in fact change. So in going with that flow of thought, I decided it was time to change up my website a little. And so it began...
Not everyone you know likely has three blogs flowing from one website. I am not everyone. And choose to document and share different aspects of my life's journey in different ways. It's a very long story, and I won't bore you with the details of it all at this point.
Anyhow, in working to make those changes, put my blog areas together, and update a few things, I ended up hitting a wrong button that completely erased my ongoing 3 years Truly You 'Sharing Blog' journal. I was devastated ...and in fact this morning, was still angry with myself for the mishap. But as I've tried to with every event, good or bad, over the past several years, I calmed down and asked my self "Why is this happening for me?"
It's that constant re-framing of events that has made such a difference in my life. Instead of asking 'Why is this happening to me?" when things don't go according to our well orchestrated plans...I instead choose to ask, "Why is this happening for me?". So as I have for so many, many events...I asked myself this same question this morning.
As the day progressed, wonderful things happened and came to light. So what are the possibilities of why this happened for me?
It takes time and energy to become who we truly are! In life, so many things can get in the way of our figuring that out..but the time comes in each of our lives where we need to be able to do that if we're going to live happy fulfilling lives that are authentic reflections of our best selves. These are just things I've learned along the way. I hope that they might help you in your own journey into being Truly You!