Summertime To-Do List

being happyYou can’t have it all.

Seriously, you just can’t, unless you want the anxiety to go along with it.

So, instead of giving you a ‘Summer To-Do’ list on top of all of the other stuff you have on your plate my darlings, may I suggest a “Less – More” list?

 

Less City – More Beach

Less Kitchen – More  BBQ

Less Glamour – More Flip-Flops

Less Cohen  – More Calypso

Less Contemplating – More Laughter

Less Solitude – More Friend Time

Less Formal – More Casual

Less  Agenda – More Spontaneous Road Tripping

Less Accumulating – More Making Space

Less Hurry – More Mindfulness

Less No – More Yes

Less Worry – More Wonder

Less Dwelling in the Past – More Letting Go Into the Future

Less Bourbon – More Gin

Less Work – More Kiddo

Less Should – More Let’s

Less Waiting – More Freedom

Less News – More Art

putdownthatmap

 

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This Summer Don’t Forget to Live a Little

flipflopway of lifeReaching for a box of snack crackers at the supermarket earlier today, I said to a lady, “I’m so addicted to these”. She replied with the all too common response; “I know, I’m so bad.”

Really? Bad because you like to munch on the odd complex carb now and then?

Let it go. Seriously, let all of that shit go.

On the weekend, a teenage girl and middle-aged man were marvelling at the wonders of technology that supposedly measures our health; calories, steps, sleep, heart rate. What on earth are people thinking?

Sure, I need to drop some weight, I’m trying to eat a more plant-based diet, and move my body, but I refuse to feel like I’m punishing myself.

Our anxiety levels about productivity are higher than ever. Our obsession with our bodies does not come from a place of love or acceptance, and it seems that the majority of people walk around forgetting something very, very important -We only get one ride on this planet.

Food, sunshine, water and air are all things to be enjoyed and savoured. Freindships and lovers and muses are  relationships to be revelled in. These have a finite measure, and really shouldn’t be  meted out according to some fucked up standard of what’s right and considered acceptable by the folks who control our media and have a vested interest in keeping us all just a little bit miserable so we buy (literally) into the system.

Our bodies and souls need time to rest, rejuvenate, and yes, even rejoice.

I am barefoot on my patio as I write this, drinking a beer, and listening to birdsong.

My wish for you this summer is warm sunshine, cold beverages, sandy beaches, bare feet, and enough love to make you feel like life is worth living.

 

National Wine Day

Dear Wine,

This letter  is long overdue. I confess that lately gin has swayed me away from your bacchanal charms. Please forgive me for waiting so very long to remember my love for you.

I have loved you in proper settings, paired with the right food and dull company. I have sipped you at world renowned wineries, with once-in-a-lifetime lovers. Although I love you always, I mostly love you when you’re dumbed down on my little patio, whispering craziness in my ear.

Wine darling, you have  buoyed me up when there was nothing else; no money, no man, and no plan.  You were there with me in the change-room when I’d surpassed my sexy weight and helped me find something that made me feel like I had my groove back again.

You offered me the pain-numbing support of your alcoholic tonic when it was just myself, a hot-wax pot and  my bikini line. You may not have helped with accuracy, but you sure as hell helped with the perseverance part of the grooming. I bow down in thanks for all of the delightfully delicious fun in my girly bits that your aesthetic anaesthetic allowed for.If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, Wine, you are our life-coach.
 You inspire  me to  open the gate for  inhibitions to escape and allow my morals, ethics, standards and sense of humour explore new frontiers.  You have  soothed the tender skin of broken relationships, bad days at work, and wondering how the hell life passed by so quickly.

You have introduced me to wonderful friends and even more wonderful lovers. Oh, thank you for the lovers.

Today is your day, an in your honour, I raise a chilled glass of rose in gratitude.

 

Your True Self

doitlaterWhen did the dreaded mid-life crisis start rearing it’s ugly head in our thirties? Seriously.
Recently I’ve spoken with a handful of thirty-somethings in the middle of what I will call spiritual crisis. Oh, and forty somethings and fifty somethings…
I think you get it don’t you darlings?
Our day-to-day has become a constant battle of trying to convince ourselves that life is hap-hap-happy. When really, we get up and go to jobs that require more and more of us, or no job at all, neverending bills, and to-do lists that make the activities and the relationships (friendships) we once loved seem like dreams that we can’t really take time to enjoy.
This morning as I stroked another thing off my to-do list, I had a call from my wonderful friend the Amazing C, and we had a good girl talk. I miss her and she misses me. The old her, and the old me. The broke, single, carefree, laughing our heads off ‘us’.
Neither of us could have planned out how our lives have played out. Neither of us feel completely connected, or hopeful at this stage. But what I think we shared was feeling connected,  because someone out there  does indeed understand our bitching, our heartache, and our complete frustration in the moment. And then I asked; is this who we really are? Is this our true ‘self’?
I write this on the tail of my previous post, and share with you a portion of an email exchange with another dear friend…
Thank you for your email. Thoughtful as always. I haven’t been calling as much because I know that you’re in a difficult place right now.
As you can likely tell, I’ve been in a bit of a dark place too, feeling like there is little meaning in my life… Sadness is the only way I can describe it…I let it overwhelm me sometimes and then I realize that I’m letting it take over my life, that I’m allowing the cycle to continue.
While I was taking my Buddhist classes, they taught that in their philosophy, those who commit suicide come back and have to endure the suffering over and over again until they live out that particular lifetime. To which I thought; Fuck off and son of a bitch.
At the retreat I just attended, I decided that I did not want to speak in our evening dharma groups, that I just needed to ‘retreat’ and listen. Ironically, this year they asked me to be one of five speakers.  Anyway, during our dharma group chat I was able to remain silent, and one lady spoke of how she lies awake in bed at night, quite often lost in anxious thoughts of the future. Oh boy, could I ever relate. … And then she said what were the magic words for me in that moment; “I know that these thoughts aren’t’ real. They’re just thoughts”.  For me that was really important as I often make up scenarios in my head about all of the things that I’m afraid of coming true.
The other thing that came to me during my time in silence was that I’ve never felt good enough. I’ve never felt pretty enough, or smart enough, or good enough for anyone or anything, and quite frankly, when I look at my life, I think I’ve been exhausted my entire life just trying to ‘be good enough’. It’s a shitty way to feel and to live. I haven’t figured out how to change that, but at least I’m aware of it now. That awareness is like having a big turd on the living room floor and not being able to get rid of it. That awareness just sits there like a big, stinky, piece of shit…
I’ve also realized that in the moment, I’m not any of those things either. It’s a constant struggle to shake off where I came from and be in the present, looking forward to anything.
I don’t know why I’m telling you all of this. Maybe I hope that something will resonate, and you won’t feel as alone as I do sometimes.
So having reflected on all of this, I’ve decided that there is only one solution. Shenanigans. Yes, darlings. That is all.  An afternoon on a patio with a kindred spirit, a girls weekend with the women who make me feel like a kid again, and lots and lots of time on my little patio, looking at the world and letting the reality of just how wonderful things really are. In. This. Moment. These experiences and feelings of joy are very much also part of our true selves, it’s just time to let them in, because we are good enough.

A Place You Belong, A Sense of Purpose & Someone Who Loves You

storytotellYesterday I started reading The Rainbow Comes and Goes. Perhaps drawn by fame and perhaps drawn by the mother-son relationship, I lugged it in to my pedicure appointment and settled in for a bit of escape.

I have to admit, my first literary choice was Change Up, but I’d forgotten that on my way out the door. So, having had  a crap weekend, struggling with grief, belonging, and contemplating my very independent (aka alone) status in the world, I shelled out for a book that had piqued my interest, but likely never would have read had I not been so distracted. Ah yes, we must be thankful for serendipity and the overwhelming feeling that we need to disappear.

It’s interesting to me that the stories people tell themselves; the ones that shape their identity and perspective often go untold. It’s often the ugly-step-sister emotions, like not being good enough, that drive us to be better. They drive us toward what is right and good, because let’s face it, wrong and bad are only fun for so long.

Reading about Anderson Cooper and his famous mommy G.V. reminded me again that we’re all the same inside. Regardless of whether you’re just an average cog in the machine, or someone strapped with a moniker tied to family and wealth, I believe that we all seek the same things; a sense of belonging, purpose, and connection to someone who deeply loves us.

When those things are missing, getting out of bed in the morning can be a bit like taking the first step on the road to hell. Being tired is one thing. Being tired of it all is another. But we do it. We get up when we feel out of place and alone, and we carry on. We all must do it every once in a while, but lately, as in the past few years, it feels a bit relentless.

So, if you’re feeling out of sorts  (like me), you need to have some quiet time to see what’s out of balance, and what, if anything, you can do about it.

Reading a short essay about meditation and practice, I came across an idea that helped me during my last retreat. When we meditate we begin to ask ourselves basic questions. We may seek answers from books or teachers or friends. The reality is that no one has the answers, and just as importantly, no one can tell you which questions you need to ask yourself. But it always comes down to ‘why’.

During a walking meditation along the Ottawa river I came to my ‘why’. I was more than a bit surprised at what I came up with. Which of course led to a more important why, and I’m still working on that one.

As you work toward your ‘why’, may you have peace in your heart. Wishing you and I both a place where we belong, something to do that makes us proud, and someone who loves us deeply.

 

 

Happy Hour – Right After Closing Time

A few weeks ago during a conversation with one of my very close, wise, and kindred-who-gives-a-flying-patoot-what-anyone-else-thinks friend, I decided that I would not have any serious  discussions (especially with my sweetheart) after 8:30 pm.

Really, who wants anything too heavy before bedtime, whether it be a big dish of pasta, or a big ol’ cup of pissed-off? Nobody. You know why? Because you just can’t digest anything that late. It repeats on you, and leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

In favour of letting my anxiety get the best of me, I’ve decided to let it go. Until I get moving the next morning anyway, and since I’m really not a morning person, that means sometime after 10am.

With all of that designated, “No Bitching” time, I’ve discovered a couple of things. First of all, I’m happier. As in way happier. I’m not such a snowballing mess of fear and anxiety. Second of all, it’s given me way more time to be grateful.

So if you’re a Type-A-worrying-control-freak, give it a try. You may just find some joy.

 

Don’t Be Fooled by Potential

My single greatest folly when it comes to relationships is falling in love with potential rather than fact.

Is he romantic? Do you want the same type of relationship? Do his actions match what he says?

Hmm…it’s hard to face facts sometimes, but why waste time?

The Don’t Let the Bastards Get in Your Bedroom

snoring.jpgHow often have you lied awake in the darkness, with something on your mind and remained still and silent?

How often have you shed tears that only your pillow has known? Or perhaps craved your lover but been unable to touch them?

We’ve all held sadness throughout the day, only to release it when we’re alone; in the bathtub, shower, on a long run, or in bed.

But have you had great joy, and great love you were too timid to share as well? Well, last night was one of those nights for me.  I had both, and damn it, I was going to enjoy it.

You see, I’ve had many, many nights where loneliness and sadness were my bedfellows. They’re not nearly as sexy as a man, and they’re worse at keeping you awake. I’ve cried a river of tears in my bathtub and in my bed. Quite frankly, I think I’ve used up my lifetime quota, so I fully intend on enjoying every second of joy when the mood strikes.

We all know the torturous sounds of partners that snore like lumberjacks after a night of swilling whiskey. Ah yes, the torture of sharing space with someone who makes a lot of noise. When you’re tired, the sound of someone else indulging in sleep is almost too much to take.

Last night I was curled up in my sweetie’s arms, wide awake as he drifted off to sleep. If you’ve ever been smitten, you know how lovely that sounds is; your loved one cozy and warm and safe, drifting off with long, relaxed, deep breathing. He was dead to the world, but I was awake. As in, awake-awake. As in, I had some bedtime-energy to burn, and damn it, I was going to set a match to it.

Too often I hear my gal-pals tell me how terribly lacking their relationships are when it comes to physical intimacy. I know it can be inconvenient, time consuming, hair-mussing, and laundry producing. But really, what the hell?!

Intimacy is one of two great things about being an adult. The other one is booze.

But I digress….

What I’m getting at is the one, single element of our ‘intimate’ relationships that we let slip is the intimacy itself; physical and emotional. Day-to-day tasks take over, and before you know it, you’re sleeping with someone you no longer en’joy’. One of you sleeps, the other one is horny and resentful. It’s great when you’re on the same  Exhausted/Exhausted schedule and Horny/Horny schedule, but let’s face it, that rarely happens.

So, last night, curled around each other with my dozing sweetheart , instead of letting another moment be sequestered by the fatigue of our day-to-day-pooh-ha, I seized the moment. Well, his moment.

Just a little suggestion if your bedtime routine is more like a sleep lab and crash pad than a flamboyant boudoir; roll over and do something about it. Maybe even splurge on a candle or two.