The Chapters in Bloor West is one of my very favourite places in the city. I often spend hours there leafing through the pages of new books and magazines on quiet Sunday afternoons.
The locale also holds a special place in my heart because it’s where I had my first real date. Back in 1990-something when it was still the Runny theatre, a boy took me there to see Titanic. I knew he was special when he sat through three hours of overly dramatic Leo without complaint.
Yes, the theatre-turned-bookstore holds a special place in my heart and so you can imagine how heartbroken I was when I learned that it’s scheduled to close after the holidays. Truth is, I still am.
I was trying to think of something meaningful to end with, to wrap this post up with a nice bow… but sometimes it’s equally important to just “share what happens but hold off on what it means” (Mark Nepo).
Here is my second personal commandment:
there is nothing to prove. all that’s left to do is enjoy.
This one I’m taking from Rob Bell, who I was introduced to yesterday on Oprah’s Super Soul Sundays. Like for Bell, this is the lesson that has taken me the longest to learn and I have to keep relearning it daily.
As your classic honour roll, teachers’ pet, valedictorian overachiever – even my blood type is A+ – I’ve struggled with the need to prove myself for a long time. I always wanted to be going places.
But I’ve learned that I’d much rather slow down so that I don’t miss a moment, linger so that I enjoy my days, and live a life full of wonder.
“I didn’t ask for success. I asked for wonder.”
Off to lie on the couch, nurse this cold and read Bell’s new book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God…
new books and holiday cups. distressed FX vanilla filter.
Alright, it’s been five days. Five days of this nasty cold. Five days of utter sloth-like-ness. I, for one, have had enough.
But on to more fun things, like this:
I had the pleasure of practicing with Nikki last year when I was in Nica and she 100% converted me to yin yoga. If I wasn’t going to be 8+ months prego, I’d so be there. Instead, how about you go?
If you do, please give Nikki a big hug for me!
The best kind of reading is rereading. Right now I’m rereading Happier at Home, Gretchen Rubin’s follow up to The Happiness Project, the book that started my blogging adventure.
In both books, Rubin outlines her 12 commandments – her 12 principles for living her best life. It got me thinking about my own.
So far, I’ve come up with one:
assume the best
I don’t, at least not yet. I almost always assume the worst. I’ve even tried to convince myself that assuming the worst is a good strategy because if the worst happens, I’ll be prepared and if doesn’t, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. WRONG. In reality, you overreact to the worst and are only half present for the best – the other half is looking over your shoulder for the next disaster (something Brene Brown calls “foreboding joy”).
And you squander all of the moments in between.
So I’m trying the opposite on for size. I already prefer how it feels.
What are your personal commandments?
toes still present but baby belly threatening to take over
One of my friends recently celebrated a rather big birthday – the kind with a 0 at the end of it.
When we asked her how it feels to be her particular age, she paused and replied, “I thought it would be different. I thought I would be more… well, settled“. Settled in this case meant a house, a husband, a couple of kids, a car and white picket fence… that whole thing.
I still can’t shake that conversation and here’s why: I think settled is overrated. Settled seems to imply that we’re done, we’ve achieved what we want to achieve, checked off the boxes, etc. But then what’s next? Waiting for the end…?
This past spring, I asked my 84-year-old grandpa about his longevity secrets. His one piece of advice, above all else, was to “never settle, never get too comfortable and never think you’re too old for x, y, or z”. It’s really being slightly unsettled that keeps us alive.
There are other words I prefer to settled – calm, content, grateful. I don’t ever want to feel settled. I want new adventures, new goals and dreams, and new breath in each day.
Here it is, my annual 100-things-I-am-grateful-for-list.
- My husband. Enough said.
- The growing baby boy in my belly.
- My orange fluff ball of a crazy cat.
- My family near and far.
- My dad who gets a special shout-out for dropping everything whenever I need him.
- My friends near and far. So many wonderful, supportive souls.
- Core – whatever the new norm may be, you gals are my sisters for life.
- My little niece, Audie. How I love you, little one!
- My bestie, KS. Thank you for ALL of the support recently and always.
- This house, my cozy retreat.
- Our new wheels! How grown up it feels to have an automobile!
- Being able to afford whatever life things we might need.
- U of T – the very best place to work.
- My colleagues who have proven to be, above all, immensely supportive.
- My boss. He’s awesome and that’s rare.
- Canada and, in particular, the Canadian health care system. I have been truly blown away the last few months.
- My doctor, who I can email and call at any hour of the day. She’s always there.
- Nica and El Coco Loco. Can’t wait for the next visit!
- Waves of Hope and my amazing bro-in-law.
- High Park.
- Living in the west end.
- Saturday morning croissants from Mabel’s or Hula Girl or Cherry Bomb or…
- Croissants in general.
- Vegetables, and my recent insatiable appetite for them.
- and my juicer.
- And my blender, of course – ninja! Junior isn’t happy unless he gets at least two smoothies a day.
- Hilly’s rice crispy squares.
- H&M maternity clothes.
- Thanksgiving! It’s the start of my favourite time of year.
- Just a few more months until Christmas… weeeee!
- Getting older. It really is true, the added years come with a sense of calm and self-assurance.
- Music on Saturday mornings.
- CBC Radio 2 – my daily soundtrack. Tempo!
- ECB’s beautiful voice.
- Friends who take pretty pictures. funnyyoushouldask.
- Autumn, especially this one. 20c, sunny, leaves gently falling, beautiful colours all around. Yes please.
- People who offer up their seats on the TTC.
- Quiet moments.
- Good books.
- Oprah’s Next Chapter.
- Brunch dates.
- That Aunty Gratia will teach our little one how to play the piano.
- My hubby’s red flannel PJ pants… he’s none too pleased about me constantly borrowing them. Tee hee.
- Movies, although I need some good suggestions.
- Rookie Blue, my favourite of favourite shows.
- Vampire Diaries. I know, I know.
- My dinner club crew.
- Pure maple syrup candles… and maple syrup itself, of course!
- Punches and kicks from inside my belly.
- Long showers.
- Days when you don’t have to wash your hair.
- Dry shampoo!
- My blue eyes and strong thighs. My curvy spine and dirty-dishwater coloured hair. The fact that my body can grow a whole other person.
- Quotes like, “Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and loved more than you know.” – Christopher Robbin
- Cozy fall sweaters… and that most of them still fit.
- … and kisses!
- Croissants. I like them a lot.
- My sensitivity and vulnerability. I can’t help but wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m done trying to change that.
- Annual trips to Algonquin with the growing family. Can’t wait for next year!
- Finally knowing my blood type.
- My yoga ladies like Janey B and Darcy. I can’t wait to have my butt kicked by you again soon.
- Yoga lady dinners at Live and Magic Oven.
- Kris Carr and the like.
- Those every day moments when you suddenly find yourself completely overwhelmed by joy.
- The Chocolateria on Roncies. Trouble and then some.
- Green tea. Perhaps one day my taste buds will reunite with coffee.
- The fact that six years later, my little white MacBook is still going strong.
- Pinterest and Etsy. Facebook.
- My new iPhone has arrived!
- The super nice man at the Toronto Permit Parking Office.
- And the lovely ultrasound tech who showed me all five teeny-tiny toes.
- Fresh cut flowers, especially when they are delivered to me.
- The snoogle!!
- Rain boots and U of T umbrellas.
- The Lunch Box and the ladies at the Lunch Box. They are like family.
- Weeks when my hubby isn’t travelling!
- The dishwasher. She joined the family back in December and boy, do we love her.
- That soon, I will have Mondays off. Woot!
- Winnie the Pooh. I love you.
- Contact lenses. Seriously!
- Having so many things to be grateful for.
- That if we try hard enough, we can all find at least one thing to be grateful for, even if it’s the fact that we’re still breathing.
Happy turkey weekend!
Today is my first of many Mondays off.
It’s been a quiet day, a day to be introspective and scrub my soul.
I’ve been reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly and, like any great book, it hit a nerve.
It forced me to temporarily push passed my vulnerability and my perfectionism and roll out my yoga mat for the first time in seven months.
So here I am… in sweats, au naturel, growing belly and all. Vulnerable but joyous.
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world…” ~ Brene Brown
This past week I added myself to the queue for the iphone 5S and I watched this (though I’m not entirely sure in what order):
It’s something I have thought about for awhile, our zombie-like-ness.
This is just sad.
But what really struck me was the idea that we have forgotten how to be alone. The minute we start to feel the “uh oh, I don’t know what to do with myself now” feeling, we seem to need to anesthetize it with texting, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. It’s a temporary comfort, a dull, mildly satisfying experience… but at the expense of what?
“You never feel completely sad or completely happy…”
I often daydream of just deleting all of my accounts and going all Walden for awhile… but I know cutting myself off technology isn’t the solution either (it’s analogous to when my mom traded in McCain’s fries for quinoa – keen-what?! – 20+ years ago).
So for now, perhaps it’s even to just be conscious. The next time you check your Facebook account, ask yourself why.
“I went on a cleanse once; it was a mixed blessing. On the one hand, I detoxified, I purified, I lost weight. On the other hand, I fell asleep on the highway, fantasized about eating a pigeon, and crapped my pants. I think I’ll stick with the whole eating thing.”
This is a must read: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelly-maclean/surviving-whole-foods_b_3895583.html
Okay Gen Y, read this: why generation y yuppies are unhappy
I’m a Gen Y yuppie and I must say, it’s pretty bang on. Most of the professional development conversations I have had with myself have sounded like this:
So many of us are unhappy not quite happy and it’s because we keep chasing the extraordinary. There’s nothing wrong with “following your bliss” – I have a soft spot for Joseph Campbell myself – but many of us think our bliss has to be something dramatic or complicated. It doesn’t, not at all.
One of my favourite scenes from Peaceful Warrior is when Millman asks Nick Nolte’s character why, if he’s so philosophical and enlightened, he works at a gas station. Nolte’s response: “This is a service station. We offer service. There’s no higher purpose.“
Maybe you don’t need to find your bliss but instead, build it. Maybe the extraordinary isn’t something you have chase because maybe, just maybe, there are no ordinary moments.
P.S. It helps to work hard.
P.P.S. I still believe in unicorns.