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Flannel on Fire; A Sure Sign of Burn-Out

womanonfireBurn-out. It’s a thing.

When you’re the glue that holds it all together, it’s dangerous for everyone when you get so worn out that you crack.

My therapist calls it ‘over-functioning’. I call it every-day living, or at least I have since I became a parent.

When you’re too busy to even think about taking a break, and nobody cares enough to pick up the slack, something’s gotta give.

Something’s been giving for a while here, and tonight I think it snapped.

If you’ve read enough of my sagas, you will recall when I super-glued my foot into a pretty little open-toed sandal. You will remember when I had tummy-trouble in the middle of a boot-camp fitness class. You might even recall the cat setting his giant fluffy tail alight. You will know that very little passes by without getting a deep, full belly laugh reaction from me.

But not tonight.

Absolutely burned out at home and work, I allowed myself the indulgence of a candlelit bath.

With my face covered in an organic chocolate cleansing mask, and my hair dangling in the front of my wet face, I thought I detected the smell of something burning.

I have a terrible sense of smell, so I wasn’t too alarmed. But that quickly changed.

With deep conditioner in my eyes and a slippery hold on the edge of the bathtub I skittered to attention as I glimpsed a trio of candles burning rather too brightly on the vanity. Wait. I didn’t have a trio of candles, I realized as the smell of something burning became overwhelming. I had a candle. One.

And that was smoke in the air not steam.

And something was burning!

In my hurry to retrieve my forgotten face mask something had snagged my all-time-favourite-snuggle-in-at-home-costume; my mommy-flannel-nightie. The one my five-year-old son insisted was the most beautiful piece of clothing I owned. It was flaming on the vanity, melting a bottle of lotion, and shooting flames up, up and away.

Sometimes we ignore the signs when we need to slow down, that we need to administer some strict boundaries and compassionate self-care.

But trust me when I say this; a flaming flannel nightie gets ones attention. Fast.

“Mom, are you ok in there?”

Barely, I thought as I pulled my charred nightie into the sink and then returned to the bath, resigned to the fact that perhaps this was as good as it gets.

Thank you universe for reminding me that not protecting my own time, energy and values will cause me to burn-out, by sending me a big hunk of burning-flannel.

 

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dating · Dating Advice · Dating Advice for Men · Dating Advice for Women · Dating Advive · Dating Over 40 · Life · Life Lessons · Mature Dating · Meaning of Life · Relationship Advice · Relationships · Romance Dating · Uncategorized

Swing Your Partner ‘Round & ‘Round

square dancingI used to think the term partner was kind of dorky. It was a pretentious term that made me want to gag. Kind of like when someone said, ‘making love’. What the hell?!

Partnership and making love seem to have gotten a lot more sexy as I’ve gotten a lot more mature.

The older we get, the more important it is to connect with someone who understands the values you were raised with and where you come from.

I recently connected with a school chum who has known me since I was a pre-teen. We spent some time talking and  shared a male/female perspective on life, work, and partnership.

Ah, yes. Partnership. The great connection we all seek which satiates the need to have someone witness our lives. Time unravels more quickly as we get closer to the end, and having someone to partner with begins to mean more and more.

Having a partner means having someone to stand as our witness in this world and say,

I see you. I see you for who you are, all you’ve been through and accomplished, and everything you hope to be. I see you.

True partnership is rare. Partnerships involve intertwining two lives to support, uplift and encourage one another. And that comes with the requirement to empathize and love in an active way.  It requires truly caring for someone and putting your kind thoughts and words into action.

You go out the door everyday cheering one another on, and come back together eager to share and plan. If it’s working, both benefit. If it’s not, you feel like you’re not in partnership, but continuing a solo journey through this wild and wonderful blink-of-an-eye that we call life.

True partnership is a dance of communication, support and joyfully participating in not only the exciting, but the mundane aspects of one another’s life.  Ah yes, the mundane. That unsexy, but major part of our time spent here on earth.

Our culture honours the individual and  often people dismiss commitment, thinking that relationship growth will come without effort or deliberate attention. Good luck with that.

Partnerships are living relationships. Nurturing a culture of neglect within a relationship is a bad thing. You know what happens when you neglect living things? They die.

People want partnership but they aren’t willing to do the work. They aren’t willing to communicate, prioritize time and sadly, many people lack empathy. We swing our relationships in stomach-churning circles, instead of lovingly holding them with care and giving them the elements they need to survive.

Tonight it was nice to connect with someone who really understands what it means to be in partnership.

It was nice to know that my values and my heart are not alone in this world, and that someone, somewhere remembers who we were.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Can I Get a Witness?

old-man-kissing-old-woman-on-foreheadSome time ago, I stared across the table at a man who used to be my lover. The menu wasn’t all that spectacular, but that didn’t matter.

What mattered was that after all of this time, we were still close in one another’s hearts.

What mattered was that we were there.

Back almost where we started so very long ago. Less than a block away from his old place, and the same distance from where I spent some of my most difficult and formative months at work.

It was fun to listen to him. Another man of privilege, just starting to find himself on the other side of the horizon of adulthood.

For people like me, who’ve had a harder than normal life, who’ve been alone, had no one to turn to at times, watching someone get to know themselves is an eye-opening process. It always makes me thankful that I had to be grounded in my own personal ethic and morals for so long.  It also frightens me thinking that so many adults wreak havoc with one another’s hearts trying to ‘find themselves’.

It can be frightening to watch someone twist and morph into a thousand different personas that they are not, being a bystander until they finally settle into who they are. Sometimes settling at peace, but more often catching peace in fleeting moments of sunlight, solitude or minor successes, and still not understanding that these small moments are peace.

Sometimes having the luxury of luxury isn’t such a great thing. You have the time and means to run away via travel, hobbies that require gobs of accessories, and buying highs (whether that comes in the form of delicious meals, booze, drugs or expensive cars and toys).

Ah yes, to be able to run away. I’ve done it, enjoyed being away, but also know the feeling of having the weight of a shadow on my back, despite being half way around the world.

To be at peace means to find joy in moments, and to come to uncertain feelings, thoughts and emotions without letting fear cloud the path to clarity.

Sitting across from this man whom I’ve known so well, I sat forward, happy to hear about his journey to becoming. What I forgot was that throughout the years, he had also been witnessing mine.

 

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The Smoke From Old Flames

Smoking-man.jpgSmoke billowed from a chimney

coughed up from an old flame

twisted and shape-shifting

it disappeared

mist transformed into the sky

first it was vapour

and then it was as a dog

fluffy tail-wagging white

a wizard’s cap

dissolved into the ether

like you; everything and nothing

never clear

Like the reasons we go back

a wizard’s cap

vapour caught again

compulsively seeking release.

andshelaughs writing · Canadian Poets · Canadian Writers · Creative Writing · Love Poetry · Poetry · Poetry Month · Poets · Romantic Poetry · Uncategorized · Writers · Writing · Writing Inspiration

Poetry Month: A Lady Gets Over It & Into It

whiskey in a tea cupWe’re deep into poetry month (ok, ok, we’re a week in), and I haven’t poeted yet.

What’s up with that?!

Honestly, what’s up with that is that a dear friend and creative mentor to the western hemisphere died. Just disappeared from the local art scene, and left a huge void. I think of him every time I write, and I miss him. He died while editing my first novel (about death and dying – no, I’m not kidding), and I’ve been a little hesitant.

If he were here, he’d roll his eyes and say, “Get over it lady,” I loved the way he used to say ‘lady‘, “and get writing!”

He interviewed me a couple of times on his radio show, and just the other day, a friend of mine who had tuned in to listen remembered my friend, and that particular interview, “My god he was turned on. Hell, you had the whole city horny.”

whiskey in her bonesYes, this is the feedback we need from our creative friends when trying to write smut. Success.

So in honour of my friend, who was ruthless in his art and living an authentic life, today I will dedicate myself to writing what needs to be written.

In honour of my friends who, like me get too caught up in the grind to sate their creative, sensual, lovely inner wild beast, I will write what needs to be written; without fear, shame, shyness or reserve.

I will also need bourbon to do this.

 

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Solo-Parenting; What Solo Feels Like

walkingI’ve been darn lucky to raise such a really good kid.

I spent a lot of days worrying about how I would put food on the table, afford medicine when he got sick, and whether or not I was doing all I could to give him what he needed.

I stayed home for so many sick days I thought I’d lose my job. I stayed up late cooking and putting loot bags together for Hallowe’en parties and Valentine’s day parties, and Santa surprises. And I loved every single minute I’ve had with my child.

As one of my older and wiser gal-pals told me one day while I was laying like a beached whale on the sofa, pregnant and sick, “Guilt will be a constant for you once this baby is born. You’ll feel guilty about everything. You’ll always think you can do better.”

I remember thinking that I wish she would just shut up. I remember thinking that all of these little nuggets of wisdom were huge warning signs during what should be the happiest time of my life. But they were right. As a mother, you never stop worrying that your child is happy, warm, well-fed and as they get older, not being a little shithead.

Becoming a mother was the single-most amazing and terrifying thing that ever happened to me. I felt strong and  fierce and terrified and vulnerable all at the same time.

So here we are, on the cusp of having this child officially become an adult, and it’s all been worth it.

Luckily both parents get along as well as possible, and I believe we’ve provided him a good solid foundation for making decisions and embracing life.

Friends have been a wonderful support, surrounding my son and I with time, listening ears and rounds of congratulations.

But as a single parent even moments of joy and success have been bittersweet. For the most part, I attend all of his activities alone.  I feel great pride, joy and a sense of accomplishment with no one really to share it with. Information about new opportunities comes and goes, and at the end of the day, it’s on my own that I wonder about them, rationalize, hope and dream for my child. There is no partner to turn to for another perspective.

What I have learned during the past few months is that not only have I done my best as a parent, but I’ve done well in general, helping my child make decisions that will hopefully result in greater happiness and success for him.

You will walk home from first days of school with no one to reassure you that they will be ok. You will send them out on their first time away from home, watch them perform in plays, the band, sports, on their first date, taking the car for the first time, with yourself being the only cheering section.  You will do this alone, with no one to witness these passages from child to adult. Sharing great joy is what makes joy so wonderful.

If you are on your own I have two pieces of advice; don’t second guess your intuition when it comes to what’s right for your kids, and don’t settle for good-enough. It’s all worth it. Every single minute that you worry and wonder, and spend alone.

 

 

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Pillowtalk – When Anything Less Leaves you Starving

Sensual
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.         ~Pablo Neruda~
I’ve been accused of being many things, but never frigid.

Like many of my close pals, I admit to ranking the physical among some of the most important aspects of a romantic relationship. Like top three..two, maybe…you get the picture.

I’m tactile, and sensual, and love everything about physical intimacy. Everything. Don’t roll your eyes. Physical intimacy can be something powerful, beyond language or the mundane acts that bind lovers to one another. That’s why it’s called intimacy.

Sexual intimacy is a sacred bond between lover and beloved, with no accurate interpretation outside of that relationship. It’s alchemy  unique to each interaction.

Vulnerability, trust and honesty are the foundation of this intimacy, and can be damn hard to cultivate. Fear has no place in this arena of affection, but it tries to muscle it’s way in. It whispers things like; be quiet, be modest, be ashamed.

My advice is to take a big ole’ paddle to Fear’s behind, and kick it out of your sexual psyche.

If you find someone you can be naked with regarding your desires, fears and insecurities, don’t ever lose them.  Cherish the hell out of them and let them know.  Get to know the dark and light corners of their soul and let that joy radiate from your smile. That’s what sensuality and loving someone’s body is about. This is the deep intimacy of loving that we all crave; lover and beloved, beyond logic or language.

Wishing all of you the kind of intimacy that would make a sailor blush and your granny proud…xo