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Archive for June, 2012

I like to tell myself that life is good, that the glass is always half-full.

I like to tell myself that I can still play the piano as well as I could when I played all the time.

I like to tell myself that I am happy being single.

I like to tell myself that I’m not afraid to try new things.

I like to tell myself that in okay with my body the way it is.

I like to tell myself that I’m as young as I feel.

I like to tell myself that anything is possible.

I want to be those things and believe those things.

Most days I am and I do.

But some days, they don’t feel true.

In the middle of June, I went to a dance recital for a studio that only teaches adults. As I watched two classes in particular, the “Rust Class” and the “Big Dance” class, I was horrified and in awe at the same time.

What were they thinking? Didn’t they know they were too old or too fat to get up on stage and dance?

How amazing to watch their joy! Didn’t I wish I had their courage to do something they loved that society said they couldn’t do anymore?

I see-sawed between those two emotions so quickly, it almost made me feel nauseous. I couldn’t fathom how judgmental I was feeling. I’m always cheering the “big” dancers and singers on those reality shows. I want to see them make their mark. I want to see the world recognise their talent no matter what shape encloses it. But seeing women in my own city doing that?

It scared me.

It challenged me.

It made me ask what I would try.

If I really did accept my body exactly as it is?

If I wasn’t afraid of being judged?

If I wasn’t trying to hide?

This week, I’m going to find out.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I’ll be on a plane to New York so that I can attend the Creative Joy Retreat in Garrison, NY.

Five days, four nights of writing, photography and yoga.

Waiting

Yup, you read that right. This curvy, not bendy, slightly frightened body is going to give yoga a try. It’s not some thing I ever thought you’d hear me say, but when I first heard about the retreat, even the inclusion of yoga didn’t stop my heart from singing that this was a time and space where I was meant to be.

I did breathe a sigh of relief when I saw that Marianne has taught a curvy yoga course.  Even so, am I little freaked out by the idea? Entirely. Really, “little” is a rather huge understatement.

Did I mention that I don’t know any one else who is going on the retreat face-to-face? Oh, and Susannah, one of the retreat leaders and teachers, (author of one of my new favourite books and creator of one of my favourite e-courses) wasn’t able to get a visa? I’m excited to learn from Tracey who was willing to jump in, but that change definitely reduced my comfort zone space.

This is my year of boldness and right now that means approaching something that scares me with open hands and an open heart.

Who knows what might unfold?

A year ago, even the writing portion would have had me feeling panicked. Now, I can’t wait to pull out my notebook and get to work with Jen. That feels like complete joy!

Here’s to five great days of writing with Jen, photography with Tracey and Yoga with Marianne, filled with wonderful women rediscovering and expanding and resting in our creative joy.

What about you? What would you try?

———-

Just a note, I intend to be pretty quiet in internet land once the retreat begins on Thursday and I’ll definitely be sleeping in on the 3rd.

See you then … but maybe before if there’s a story I just can’t wait to share!

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Ferry Sunrise

    

once i knew everything
i needed to know
about the source of light and love

   
then i would have been
bewildered by those
who paused to celebrate
the summer solstice
  

today i sat in silence
with my face turned
toward the sun
and simply breathed
   

now i have more questions
than answers
but this i know for certain

   
more hope than doubt
more love than fear
more trust than cynicism
more peace than hate
more acceptance than despair
more grace than judgment
more light than darkness
   

that is worth breathing in
that is worth celebrating
no matter how you
understand the source

    

Courtyard Sun

Happy Solstice!

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When I decided last week to take more photos, I thought it would be fun to take at least one picture each day of something that caught my attention or brought me a moment of joy.

Thanks to Emily Quinton for the inspiration of her It’s the little things blog posts. The glimpses into her world never fail to make me smile.

So, here are a few moments from last week in my world.

Monday Snap DragonsTuesday Blue Hydrangeas

And yes, for those paying attention, it’s the same blue hydrangea you saw in last week’s post.  It really was my Tuesday picture.  I’ve been having fun watching how the colour grows.

Wednesday BannersThursday Purple SidewalkFriday Round Chai Latte HeartSaturday Red Rose

No Sunday picture, but I couldn’t resist sharing an extra Saturday pic.  I actually turned the car around and went back to take this picture.  I needed to.  I was giggling too hard to be driving anyhow. =D

Saturday Sign

I haven’t decided yet how long I’m going to keep taking a picture a day, but there are already Monday and Tuesday pictures on my phone.

It was a fun exercise that helped me slow down, pay attention and savour those moments of joy.  That definitely can’t be a bad thing.

Give it try … and if you do, I’d love to see a glimpse into your week.

Feel free to leave a link in the comments below.

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Ever noticed how a tiny pebble thrown into the middle of a pond can have ripples reaching farther than you imagined possible?

That’s how the last couple of weeks feel. My copy of Susannah Conway’s This I Know arrived and while the book is clearly meant to be savoured and reflected on as you read, I couldn’t put it down. I devoured it over the course of a weekend. (Don’t worry Susannah, I’ll be going back to it time and again to savour every moment of it!) New Favourite - This I Know

Right now, I’m allowing one tiny part to soak in. In one of the reflections at the end of each chapter, Susannah wrote these words:

Where are you right now?

What’s touching your skin?

Take time to explore what it feels like to be inside your own skin as you move through your days this week. Put freshly laundered sheets on your bed and sleep nude tonight, reveling in the sensation of cotton against your skin.

I love the feeling of slipping between freshly laundered sheets, just after a shower with cleanly shaved legs. It’s decadence, even when the bed is my own and the sheets are cotton. But I almost never take the time to have those three things happen at the same time. It’s not like there’s any real effort involved (well, other than the leg shaving part!). The sheets need to be changed and laundered. A shower can happen as easily before bed as in the morning. But I don’t do it. If it happens, it’s by pure chance.

That weekend, thanks to that tiny pebble, I planned it. It was time for laundry, so I took my shower and shaved my legs before bed. Slipped on a freshly laundered nightgown and crawled under the covers.  I had a fabulous sleep. I was later to bed than usual but I woke up before my alarm clock, feeling fully rested and content with my world.

I made a decision that morning. Those little acts of self-care? They are valuable. It’s worthwhile to make them happen. It’s not self-indulgent or silly. It doesn’t matter whether anyone else thinks they matter. They matter to me. I’m worth the effort.

My world feels different. Not in large tangible kind of way, but something is clearly shifting at the core. It’s early in the process of learning this lesson, but I feel more content. I feel more capable. I’m paying more attention to the world around me. I feel more at peace. At the core of my being, there is a bubbling sense of joy.

Is it all related to those little things? Probably not. There are lots of other things going on as well, but they feel like little tiny streams of water that are working their way through the hard, stony, dry places and bringing the essence of life.

Today’s dozen is my list of little things that are making a difference.

  1. Making fresh laundered sheets, clean shaved legs and just out of the shower happen before bedtime. Not all the time, just when it’s time to change the sheets. (Thanks for the reminder of how much I love this, Susannah!)
  2. Throwing out that underwear that lives in the back of my drawer. You know the stuff. Those ones you never want to wear but you keep just in case? I decided I never need to be that desperate.
  3. Tucking the sheets in on the bottom of my bed. I’ve always told my mom that I like them better un-tucked (perfect excuse for a teenager), but if that’s true, then why do I like them tucked in when I’m at a hotel so much?
  4. Reading before bed. I love the feeling of reading snuggled under the covers. Probably comes from all those years of reading just a little bit more after the lights were supposed to be out.
  5. Taking photos of things that bring me joy. I often see things that catch my eye, but I don’t take time to stop. I love the ability to capture those moments on my phone. Who cares if someone wonders what in the world I’m doing? Will the minute it takes really make me late?Courtyard Blue Hydrangea
  6. Folding the laundry as soon as it’s done. It’s so easy to put off. There’s always something else I’d rather do, but there is something satisfying about seeing the drawers full. Apparently my mom was right about this one all along too! Who knew moms were so smart?
  7. Making loose-leaf tea just for me. I love tea. I’ve got more varieties at home and at work than any one person really needs to have. If I’m making tea to share, I almost always choose a loose-leaf tea. If I’m making tea just for me, I normally quickly grab a tea bag, because it’s not worth the hassle for one cup of tea. Crazy part is, I’ve even got great tea brewing options that make loose leaf tea for one quite easy.Angelwater Tea
  8. Saying no. It’s easy to want to say yes to everything. I hate risking disappointing someone. But sometimes no is the right choice. It’s about honouring who I am and what I most need at a given time. Might mean saying no to plans on an evening when my body wants to stay home. Might mean returning a library book unread when I realize that as much as it seemed like a book I wanted to read, it’s not, and renewing for another 3 weeks isn’t going to change that.
  9. Using conditioner. I tend to grab the shampoo on its own or the 2 in 1 version. It’s quicker, but I like the difference in how my hair feels when I take the time to use the conditioner too. How much extra time does that really take in the morning.
  10. Flowers. I don’t have a green thumb. I still remember a series of plants that graced my childhood bedroom. Drought or flood did them all in. There was never a happy medium. But I love flowers. Today, I bought myself a treat, cut flowers to sit on my desk. It won’t be an everyday thing, but why not buy myself flowers when I see ones that make me smile?Flowers for my desk
  11. Breathing. I know. Everyone has to breathe. It’s necessary for life, but today, I spent my morning coffee break, just sitting and breathing with my face turned toward the sun. It was like breathing in joy. (Thanks for the idea Rachelle! I’m already loving this month’s practice for Flock.)
  12. To be determined. I’m still figuring this out. I’d love to hear your favourite little acts of self-care. There’s so much we can learn from each other on this journey. What makes takes very little actual effort, but let’s you enjoy life more?

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