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An Ode to Younger Women

women circle

Let me clarify. This is not a perverted rant from an saggy-testicled male poet. This is a rant from one woman to another.

This afternoon on my way to a photoshoot to update my online identity, I made a quick phone call.

This essentially makes me vintage. As in; I prefer a phone call to a text or any other kind of message.

I called a young lady with whom I work, and consider a pal. She’s younger than me, educated, capable, and way more in touch with how the world works. I am that friend to my older friends, and so it goes.

At one time, I was the younger-more-in-touch-with-reality-and-technology friends. I considered myself fortunate to be present with these ladies. I was deeply grateful to them for sharing their experience and their well-intentioned advice. I learned about becoming the woman I always wanted to be; professional, funny, sensual, and confident. Thanks to these older women I learned to live my life intentionally.

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I still need women in my life who have been-there-done-that, and know how to order a proper cocktail in order to tell their story effectively.  I also find myself now admiring the  younger women in my circles for their enthusiasm, unrestrained hopes and dreams and even their naivety.

To all of the young women out there who are now just exploring their identity as grown-up, professional, artist, or mother, we need you. We need your voice, your ideas, and your participation in all parts of life. You are valuable and loved. You’re part of a community of women, ever-evolving, ever-aging, and always, always, always in need of one another.

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Vulnerability vs. Stupidity

mice and cat

 

Facebook was kind enough to send me a memory from a year ago.  I must have shared this while feeling rather on-top-of-the-world and likely somewhat smug about it all. Mea Culpa.

vulnerable

I do agree with the statement – Wholeheartedly, but today I feel much differently about my vulnerability than I did then.

I’m feeling rather stupid. You know, that lovely nausea inducing feeling of shame and embarrassment. I absolutely believe in vulnerability, and generally, when it comes to little things, like asking for help at work or sharing my  experiences with someone down and out to help them feel better, I’m good at it.

But the big things I’ve been vulnerable with have come back to bite me in the ass. Instead of feeling safe, secure and loved, I feel ashamed. I feel worse off, and the weight of the world is now resting on my shoulders way more heavily than it did a year ago.

It begs the question of how we know when to expose our bellies to a world full of people with emotional swords.  The answer is something we all know; we don’t, we never will, and it’s always a risk.

Years ago I thought that it was worth the cost, you know, all of that hokey nonsense about in order to receive great love, we need to take great risks. At this age,  I’m not so sure any more. I kind of like the idea of curling up in a big ball and keeping my war-weary heart safe and sound.

Weigh whom you share your weaknesses, needs and dreams with. Be as sure as you can that they will honour you where you are  most fragile.

Wishing you  great friends who will cherish your vulnerability, and in turn, trust you with theirs. Kindness, kindness, kindness. May it reign.

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When You’re Too Busy to Write About the Important Stuff

woman-reading-letterBefore I settle in to do some serious creative writing today, I must fulfill an obligation of friendship. I must escape the keyboard, and put pen to paper. I’ve been negligent of my duty to keep my friends abreast of my girl-news via proper letter writing.

My mailman hates me. You see, my mailbox doesn’t get the attention that it deserves.

I only make visits bi-weekly to clear out the junk mail; real estate flyers, fast-food coupons, and annoying letters from our Conservative political rep. Buh-arf.

On occasion there’s a little treat in the mailbox.  My friend in Newfoundland will take time to write a letter, despite her aching hands, and my gal-pal in the great-white-north, The Amazing C, will take time from her busy family life, writing to me about the things that matter to her (on sparkly paper no less).

There is something about the feel of a hand-written letter that’s so much different from something we type at our worn-out keyboards. There’s something about anticipating what’s inside the envelope, taking time to sit and savour the words that someone dear to us has thought to put on a piece of paper. There’s something about knowing that someone cared enough to get off their spectacular tushie and find a mailbox.

Perhaps it’s because I’m such a tactile person that I so enjoy holding that letter in my hands. Perhaps it’s because I’m a lover of words that I take so much pleasure from being able to read a dear one’s thoughts. Regardless, I do believe that the alchemy of letter writing is a stronger connection than digital light flashing and dying, being able to be turned off instead of being placed in my bedside drawer where a letter can be unfolded and read during those nights when sleep is somewhere far, far away, and my mind won’t be still.

The problem with letter writing is that it takes a bit of time. Not only do I type much faster than I write, but letter writing requires stationary, a pen, a stamp. It requires getting out of the house and finding a post box. It requires the person on the other end to  get their mail, open the letter, and pause to take in the news that was so important it had to be written down.

I’ve been terrible with my letters during the past two months. The speed of life has whisked away all but the essential functions; work, eat, sleep and work again. This is the first weekend I’ve been able to stop for more than 24 hours and catch my breath.

When my Newfie friend sent a text saying he was in town, I realized that I’d yet to write to his wife about the new love in my life. I kept thinking; This requires a letter. This requires her to stop, get a cup of tea, snuggle up in her chair, and take in the words that I had married together to tell her my thoughts and feelings, and how my life had changed. Communicating in a letter is the closest thing that I could do to sitting down together in her living room and seeing her eyes light up or fill with tears as I told her about my losses and my love.

Alas, time passes quickly when it’s not my own. Before I could do a damn thing about it darlings, her hubby was at my door and shaking hands with Mr. Wonderful. Mr. Wonderful of course thinking that if he were indeed that wonderful, why hadn’t I mentioned him to some of my closest friends.

I’m sure my pal on the east-coast is wondering the same thing.

All I can say is, sometimes it’s worth waiting to spread really good news. Sometimes, when it comes to the kindred spirits of true friendship, it’s worth making the effort to make the news as special as the story of your life actually is.

This rainy Saturday is a wake-up call, shaking me and telling me to catch up on some of the things that I’ve been too busy for, for far too long.

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Not Afraid to Boogie: Living a Meaningful Life

dancing old women
“Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” ~Frederick Nietzche~

Are you doing everything you ‘should’? Should. It’s worse than the F-word, and more lethal than methamphetamine.

I live in a suburb of commuters. Each day people herd themselves into train cars bound for the city corral, and then herd themselves back on to be let loose in the pasture of traffic-congested suburbia.

Commuting on the train was a soul-smothering experience. Everyone was dressed the same, barely made eye-contact, and wished they were anywhere else but being jostled along like Mike & Ikes in a speeding box while they lived a meaningless life.

I hated it.

So I quit.

That’s right, I quit.

I didn’t lose my mind and scream like an Edvard Munch painting character. I didn’t march through the office beating a drum and telling the man to fuck off. No, I simply persisted in the direction of the type of life I wanted to build. This train is a metaphor for life;

We make ourselves small in an effort to protect ourselves. We stop dancing. We try to fit in so no one challenges us. We turn inward when reaching out has garnered painful feedback. Turning inward and shutting down when you’ve been hurt is a mechanism to protect yourself, but one that is dangerous if you don’t eventually open your heart up again to all of the wonderful love that’s out there.

Trust, is not black or white. It merely exists on a fluid continuum of trustworthiness. All relationships whether personal or professional fall along this continuum somewhere. You just can’t let the untrustworthy outweigh the trustworthy in the grand scheme of life. It is a delicate balance, but if you’re out there reading this, I know you can handle it.

This post is not a tragic story of loss and lessons learned, although I do have those stories too. Unless you’re open to sharing a bottle of bourbon on a humid night, you’re not going to hear those tales. You know why? Because they’re in the past, and from this perspective, those experiences are an integral part of the firm foundation upon which I’ve created a good life, cultivated deep friendships and learned that belly laughing, sharing a smile with a passing stranger and  hugs are the best therapy. To lock yourself away is to deny yourself all of the beauty of life.

Although, in truth, nothing was the same.

She forgot about the stars… and stopped taking notice of the sea.

She was no longer filled with all the curiosities of the world and didn’t take much notice of anything…

from The Heart & The Bottle by Oliver Jeffers

If you live in fear, and crave change, the only choice you have is to take a leap of faith and step in the direction of your dreams, regardless of how many painful lessons you may have been taught.

You either dance, or wish you were dancing. My experience has taught me to dance whenever you can, with other people who choose to hear the music.

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A Guide to Achieving the Perfect Life

daring adventure or nothingPerhaps there’s been a huge cosmic shift in energy, maybe we’ve had some rare planetary eclipse, or maybe it’s just the big old world shaking us up a bit to remind us that nothing is as it seems and everything changes. You see, I can’t seem to understand what the heck happened this week in Andshelaughs land.

Just when I think I have it all figured out, somebody shakes the snowglobe and I haven’t got a clue what’s going on.

When I was a kid, I used to see adults and think how nice it would be when I finally had my life together. Ha! Anyone over 30 knows how much of an illusion ‘having it all together’ really is. Throughout  years of helping people during crisis, I have come to realize that we never, ever have our lives together in such a way that we are immune to change.

Often change can cause suffering and pain; anxiety, addiction, grief, fear, or  tightly woven combination of all of those emotions. If you can make your way through it, keeping fear at bay, and even a tiny flame of hope burning, change can be the best thing that happens to you.

This week, I had a number of conversations that were difficult, enlightening, and even shocking. People I assumed to be sensitive, intelligent and thoughtful demonstrated qualities just the opposite of that, and others, surprised me by crawling out of the dark-ages and exposing excellent quality of character.

Because the conversations were not what I expected (expectation is such a fickle bitch anyway) they made me think. Hard. Should I have said that? Should I have kept silent? Can I trust you? Who cares...

fancy dark chocolateThe bottom line is that it really doesn’t matter. Most of our big decisions in life come about as a result of something we never expected.

So I’ve decided to sit back and watch. Wait and not wait; carry on. See what happens. Go with the flow. Dream. Hope, and even laugh a little at it all.

Life will always roll like waves on the ocean, sometimes smooth, sometimes rough, and every once in a while there will be a rogue wave that knocks you down, pulls you under, and spits you out, disoriented but with a fresh perspective.

The only time we ever have life under control is when we can sit back, breathe deeply and accept that life changes. When you are aware of your reactions, you can actually stop reacting, and remain calm, observant and cultivate a deep sense of who you are and what you need to do.  In the mean time, there’s champagne; bourbon if it’s serious.

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She Will Move Mountains

come easyWith a BIG day looming tomorrow, big of course being a subjective term, used mostly to describe the unreasonable pressure I put upon myself, I came to think about how little credit we give ourselves ( or maybe it’s just me), for some of the changes we transform ourselves through and the incredible amounts of energy we use to survive in this crazy western world.

This is just a little reminder to be gentle with yourself, to  fiercely be  who you need to be, and to be unapologetically authentic to your own creative spirit.

insidethebox

Mark the moments which define you and celebrate them with childlike enthusiasm, not carrying the worries of what’s next on your shoulders.

Choose your battles and only give energy to the people, places and things that recharge your own batteries.

Sending you love and light, and opening myself up to receiving some of that good stuff too!

Be amazing, and never look back!