Tuesday, 26 February 2013

What's She Up to Now!

I have played it very safe over my life - really! I married young, stayed home with my kids and thought that was what I wanted.  But then, I went back to school as an adult, got divorced, got married again, got divorced, fell in love, moved in with a man (an amazing man!), dropped out of my religious fervour and fell into a multi-coloured land of change; and, finally, I found out that playing it safe isn't safe at all - this "grey scale living" can actually set you up for more drama and disappoint and depression. Nothing too bright and exciting, nothing unpredictable, nothing that would draw attention, just shades of grey book-ended between black on one side and white on the other.

I veered off the highway somewhat when I started my quest to live authentically - no more pretending or trying to fit into self imposed constraints. Roles prescribed by my understanding of "church" and my own belief system came under scrutiny as I opened myself up to examining my values - those deep-seated inner workings that affected my beliefs and actions. I looked at my experience and realized that much of what dictated my actions - religious beliefs and structure, past experience, false pride and excessive perfectionism - paralysed my need to grow and know who I am right now.  Very little reflected my values - although much, of course, made it more comfortable to navigate the world I had chosen.

So, I jumped out of my comfort zone; examined my reasons for all kinds of decisions and started living as ME. I eschewed marriage and embraced a common law relationship filled with love and respect and fun.  I started travelling to places outside my "Home and Native Land" and found the hidden adventuress within - laughing at getting lost in Beijing, risking train travel in a country where the language was impossible to learn; exploring alleys and eating from street vendors; trusting my instincts and living - really living. I loved to just watch the Chinese go about the simplest activities, exercising in the parks, getting their hair cut on the street, zig zagging their way across bumper to bumper traffic and holding their children up to urinate in a garbage can in a busy train station. Life - not right or wrong, better or worse - but life - and it felt amazing.

Facing my values - really digging deep and separating them from my beliefs and the society I had chosen as my world - set me free to become ME.  I know now that I am a lover - a lover of life, people, places, knowledge, wisdom, beauty - and there is not even one shade of grey left.

I may shock those who know me well, attract a gasp here and a smile there, but, I will be me. And, I hope that one day, someone will walk past me sitting on a park bench and wonder, "What is she up to now!"

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Inner Diva Unveiled

I am so very conservative in most that I do but now and again I like to break out and shock those who never knew I had it in me! Much has changed in my life over the past 4 years and weight loss is only one of the magic numbers that have lifted the veil on my inner diva and invited me on to the stage of my own life.  Diva - when it is all about me - seems selfish and annoying but my Inner Diva can be that self who is loved by me and lives completely and authentically hopefully touching the little world around me with simple joy that comes from just being real!

Here are the numbers that added up to liberate my Diva within!

1 - "Is a lonely number, the number one!" I was on my own again - OK, I will quit singing - and adjusting nicely actually! I was finding my world was not just black and white but green and orange and red and purple too! Eggshells were meant for the garbage and not as a carpet to be crunched under my feet. I turned the diva power up, shone the spot light on my soul and came out to the world as someone with a little punch behind that calm demeanor!

2 - "TWO, two, two are better than one; (double mint anyone?)" - but, really, I met the love of my life, a man who loves my Inner Diva - the one I thought I needed to hide behind academic smarts and "strong womanly accomplishments"! To find a partner who could bring out that Inner Diva who loved to rock the night away singing along with some old rock and roll or groovin' past sunset with Etta James was such a gift!  I had finally learned to share the real me kindly, respectfully and lovingly and let the pieces fall where they may.  Joy, oh Joy - my love liked what he saw!

3 - Three Is NEVER a crowd!  My Inner Diva loved to welcome more people into my life, to laugh and play, sing and dance, and share my life on this new stage! Unlike the cautious, caged me of years gone by, I opened up my heart and welcomed new and interesting people into my life - people who embraced "thinking and feeling and sharing". Some were a little overwhelmed by my new diva outlook and left to wander their own path but those I meet along the new roads I travel now meet my eyes with warmth and acceptance (and if not I am obviously on the wrong road!). Living authentically is never a bad choice; it frees you to be you!

4 - FOR the love of life! I certainly still stumble and fall into my un-diva like head now and again, but I am learning that my happiness is truly found in the experiences I openly seek and not in the big house or designer clothes or any other material good I might choose to measure success.  I travel, giggle, enjoy sunshine, seek music, revel in the beauty of photography (even my own amateur attempts!), explore adventure and new thoughts by reading amazing books, jump in and share imperfect thoughts and crazy opinons and subjective observations and all kinds of feelings - you pick - some cost money and others are free but they are all experience and worth every penny (had to slip that in!) and every ounce of effort.

5 - Give me FIVE! My Inner Diva celebrates little things openly with friends, in the coffee shop or on the pathway, and privately, in my own heart!   This diva holds a delicious single chocolate in her hand and toasts her love across the dining room table and laughs at the pleasure of the melting goodness. (Only ONE chocolate! Amazing!) My Inner Diva coaches me to love myself and when I feel like dancing I grab my honey and dance - in the kitchen, in the park, or on the hiking trail - I also hum bars of music and sing the five words I might remember and let thoughts of life bubble out of me instead of guarding my voice just in case the sentence is not perfectly formed.

I love it when my Inner Diva is prodding me to change and be real - and those times when I shut her down, I just know she will eventually pop up again, usually at the oddest time, and burst into song! Hoping you find your Inner Diva and let her push you on to the stage of your life where you can live openly and authentically for then, THEN, you will be able to be marvellous YOU! 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Bigger is Better!

So much of my focus in 2012 was on becoming smaller - fewer inches, smaller portions, lower numbers on the scale, smaller sizes in the closet. That is still ongoing but 2013 is shaping up to be a year of growing bigger: 
  • A bigger heart with room for selfcare - a notion where I can put myself first without feeling selfish!
  • A bigger heart with room for gratitude - for new friends; new love; new places and new experiences, and;
  •  A bigger heart for courage - courage to change, courage to let go; courage to face fear and triumph.
This special day is much bigger than the sweetness of chocolate or the grandeur of diamonds - it is one that can be marked with - a SMILE.   I am discovering the power of a smile - from and to strangers - and realizing, slowly, as Maya Angelou has shared, "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song." 
Love yourself, and then share that feeling, that song, with others - it will make that moment, that day, your life - BIGGER!


Happy Valentines Day!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Wisdom Sign Post #2 - Honour My Physical Me

I spent six months working on the first leg of my journey - getting my mind around my dreams and opening up the connection to the driving force - my heart.  My physical self was standing (or sitting!) in the way of the ending I had penned to my life story. I couldn't get to the mountain top if I was going to have to drag an unhealthy body all the way.  When it comes to our - or should I just own this and say - my body - I do a lot of "smoke and mirrors" kind of dancing, avoiding the inevitable until I truly can't walk anymore - or breathe easily or sleep well.  I needed help to start on a new treatment plan -to honour my physical me!  My first lesson was helping to move me forward and JUST START!   That little piece - just start - is within the grasp of anyone reading this today and can mean many things - a short walk in the neighbourhood, consulting a nutitionist, starting aquasize once a week, dancing with  your grandchildren or joining a community of people with the same hopes and dreams.  No matter what you choose, a step forward is moving in the right direction!

PROTECT "It" Along the Way
With my new mindset in place, and my new focus on my physical "me" or "it",  I started with a good look at my diet - the food, the additives, and the amount.  Youch!  The trick was to figure out what might be triggering the brain fog and fatigue, let alone the weight gain (that was easier to figure out!). Sugar was definitely my enemy and I was spurred on to control my sugar intake if not eliminate it totally.  I knew I needed to honour my own body with its own quirks and mysteries - and, everyone does have a very unique body.  Each person needs to figure out what might be lurking in their pantries and on their plates that is making them sick and then get rid of it to make room for all the goodness waiting to move in.

Three months into my journey, I tore the meniscus in my left knee - which, until then, was what I considered my good knee. I had not embarked on any new exercise program at that time - just a simple walk from the parkade to my office one day ignited an excruciating pain. I ignored it and babied it for weeks before seeking medical help.  I did not honour my body and I have learned that delaying medical intervention is unhealthy. Simple stuff, really, but ingrained in my personal beliefs - or so it appears. The medical intervention included a chiropractic visit, an X-ray, my first ever MRI and taking the right drugs to address the pain, but, more importantly, it equipped me to deal with the pain and taught me how important self-care really is.  My discovery of such a simple truth added fuel to the fire my mind had ignited earlier - a lesson learned - better late than never. 

Don't hesitate to involve medical professionals - chiropractors, naturopaths, physicians, physiotherapists - put your team together so your "it" is taken care of with all of the uniqueness and frailties considered - all part of one package - YOU!  Some won't go away; others will - and the only one who can discover that truth is you and who you call on to help you sort out that mystery.

Ice Queen

Scrape! Swish! Scrape! Swish! The coolness of the air, the dim lighting of the arena and the sound of skates gliding across the ice.  Twirling, jumping, leaning into a beautiful circle with a perfect edge. Flips, axels, and spirals going faster and faster as the wind rushes through my hair - BZZZZZZZ - the alarm rings and my Tuesday begins.

In the warm steam of my morning shower, I review my plan for the day.  I had committed to skating last weekend.  While looking for exercise equipment at Canadian Tire (I know - not exactly the expert's store!) I remembered my colleague talking about free ice and going skating once a week at noon.  The skates were just in the next aisle so I squared my shoulders and resolved that I would be back on the ice this winter no matter what but I needed skates first! I knew if I bought the skates I would use them - my upbringing would never allow such waste as throwing new skates into a dark closet.  With German and British blood (and I mean this with great respect for both!) coursing through my veins, thriftiness and stubborness were never far below the surface.  Of course, now I prefer to say I am good with money and tenatious - sounds better!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Fit - Bit by Bit

Yearning for Spring!
I am always looking for motivation to keep heading off into this new land - more like a new galaxy to me, really!  A land where people like to walk and bike and kayak and skate.  Where they stop and share a low fat latte or healthy, REAL yoghurt and re-hash their most recent hike or bike trip!

I am not above looking to gadgets if I think they will provide this motivation, and, the Fitbit One is amazing!  I had many questions about the fitbit.  I heard about it from my weight watcher buddies online and so many were so excited about this little miniature trainer I finally caved and checked it out.  With winter slowing me down on my usual walking pattern I researched, read, re-read, and finally, with trepidation (I am so super cautious about "trendy" devices!), I hit the button to order.  Having followed the wave of excitement over this little technology wizard on WW's, I knew that interest ebbed and flowed - would my interest hold? or was I wasting my money on a temporary toy?

Saturday, 2 February 2013


Have a heart? Heart throb? Forgiving Heart? Warm Heart? Brave heart? Broken heart? Take heart? This month hearts will abound and, depending on where you are in your life, your spirit will dance with anticipation or drop to the depths of despair. Of course, most of us will be somewhere in between.

I have had a change of heart - or maybe I should say I am working on that! I have slowly started to inch along learning to face the inner me - that place that decides what I put into my mouth and how much I move my body and why - or even why I don't - do something to take care of me in the first place. I have been inspired by a book recently that is about how to understand and help children who have a weight problem (Weight Watchers Family Power).