quilts…

Imagine your life as a quilt. There are pieces made up of past experiences, squares of personality traits, fabrics of previous loves and broken hearts… all woven together into the collage that is you.

Sometimes life can pull at the threads and the seams can come undone. As painful and vulnerable as this may be, it also presents an opportunity. The rough patches let us stop and consider how we might want to sew our quilt back together so that it’s stronger and more resilient.

Certain pieces will always remain – you can’t change your past. But others can be discarded – like those personality traits that no longer serve you (perfectionism, self doubt, regret, etc). And new pieces can be added – wisdom, strength, growth.

Every bump in the road is really just an opportunity to rewrite our story.

Hugs.
mxo

Einstein

early mornings…

It’s 7:00 in the morning. Munchkin is fast asleep in my arms… again. I foresee a lot of early morning posts in my future.

We had a great night going into yesterday. Ryan slept for a good portion of the night between feeds which meant I could attempt some shut eye (though he’s such a loud little bugger when he sleeps, it’s hard to actual doze off). This last night was a different story. He slept just fine as long as he was being held… constantly. The second I put him down, all hell broke loose.

So I’m catching up on my email, online shopping, and contemplating life.

It seems my biggest challenge right now is the lack of control. I’ve been such a control freak my entire life and now, I’ve lost control over the most basic things (eating, sleeping, etc). Things that seem to work with Ryan one day make him scream bloody murder the next. Not being able to control the situation has turned me into a ball of nerves.

But I suppose that’s what parenting is about and there’s a life lesson in there somewhere. Parenting might just be the greatest teacher for staying present in the moment.

Looking backwards can be frustrating (like when you look at your bed wondering how you took those glorious nights of slumber for granted) and it’s pointless – those moments are gone.

Looking forward is a crap shoot. In an hour, Ryan and I might be napping peacefully together (fingers crossed!) or we might be back in the emergency room. Flip a coin.

So all that’s left is the here and now. It’s now 7:27am and he’s still slumbering. Rather than worry about what being held might mean for his future sleeps, I’m just going to enjoy this peaceful moment. If only the tea delivery service would wake up. 🙂

mxo

earlymornings
I made tea!

stepping away and buttery treats…

It’s 10:54 on back-to-work Monday… back to work for everyone at my office except me. I’m still in my PJs eating a delicious apple. Mat leave is strange.

It was hard for me to walk away from the job I’ve moulded over the last ten years. And while I’m excited about the year ahead, it’s still weird to think that someone else is in my office right now, sitting in my chair, typing away at my computer… it’s amazing how territorial I can be especially considering this job was just supposed to pay the bills while I was in school. I graduated five years ago.

Serendipitously, last night I finished Finding Me in France by Bobbi French. My favourite lessons always come from books and last night was no exception. French writes,

“If I had to narrow it all down into one piece of wisdom it would be this: sometimes you have to step away from the many things you have to do to find the one thing you want to do.”

Noted.

mxo

P.S. I made goureges! Butter + cheese + flour… what’s not to love?! Here’s the recipe from my good friends DGL and Mi:

Gougeres
Gougeres… yum!

nothing to prove

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.
new books and holiday cups. distressed FX vanilla filter.

Happy Monday!

mxo

assume the best

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?

mxo

yogabellytoes
toes still present but baby belly threatening to take over

(un)settled

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…?

settle

End. Final.

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.

three generations
three generations

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.

Happy Saturday!

mxo

gen Y

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:

geny

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.

mxo

P.S. It helps to work hard.

P.P.S. I still believe in unicorns.

unicorn

connection…

Truth – I’ve had two Guinnesses (and lot of lobster!)… we’ll see where this goes.

Truth – I only walked 6,500 steps today due to impractical (but awesome!) shoes. First day of “failure”. 

Truth – Everyone’s life is perfect on facebook, twitter, pinterest. No one’s life is perfect in reality.

My lovely friend, Janey B, sent me this article today (she knows me well): stop instagramming your perfect life

I tried to give up facebook in favour of real connection – it didn’t work. Why? Because, for the most part, we can’t escape technology. The trick is to carve out real connection on top of (or in spite of) it. We just have to learn how to live with technology. 

It requires some caveats. The most important of which is that technology doesn’t replace true connection. Even with thousands of fb friends, you can still feel mighty lonely on a Friday night.

It’s a tool, and one that can be used strategically. 

Using technology to build community instead of building carefully-curated images of ourselves is an option, and a worthwhile one.”

Ok – how? Like this, I suppose: if you leave a note on my wall, be real. Better yet, rather than posting on my wall, text me. And rather than texting me, meet me for a coffee… but whatever you do, don’t call! I don’t know how to use the phone part of my phone…

Reach out. Be vulnerable. Be real. Connect.

Yup, that was a nonsensical Guinness-inspired rant. 🙂

mxo

off the hook…

It’s early on a Saturday morning. 

I’m up, alert, and enjoying the quiet before the day gets going.

Right before I disappeared to bed last night, I wrote this in my journal…

I’ve been thinking a lot about how finite life is, how this is really it and how each day passes without a do-over. I guess for some people that would serve as a stern kick in the butt – a motivator to get going, start doing, and be someone more. For me, after almost 30 years of pedal-to-the-metal overachieving, I just want to slow down and live. I already feel like life is passing me by and I might totally miss it if I don’t slow down soon.

Being alive is a privilege. I want a long life filled with love (friends and family), great food (coffee!) and the occasional adventure. I want dinner dates and pretty things. I want trips to far away places and cozy weekends at home. I want to savour life and not feel like I’m on a speeding training racing towards the proverbial next step (do we ever get there? where is there?) I want to read books and loiter, and occasionally do yoga. I want to write in my journal about all of the things I want. I want the life I already have… 

image

So, with that, I’m letting myself off the hook. Again.

Happy Saturday! 

Much love.

mxo

my body story…

By far the most prevalent story in my life is the one I’ve developed about my body. 

Since I was young enough to perceive how different I look, I’ve alternated between forcefully trying to change my shape and willfully trying to ignore it. This story has defined much of my life. 

It has also tainted many of my experiences – like my wedding. The only trepidations I felt that day were all about my body. After years of trying to be a wallflower, I suddenly felt exposed, on display. Every bride is supposed to be radiant and beautiful on her big day. I just felt like an imposter. I’ll never get that day back. 

image

I have good days and bad days, but it’s always there, this story, even on the yoga mat. 

After reading Waking (INCREDIBLE book), I tried something different today. I took my mat to the very back corner of the studio and grabbed two blocks, a strap and a bolster. I decided to replace my usual forceful “you can do better” approach with a slow maneuvering. I wanted to feel each and every bone, pay attention to each and every muscle, and think about my body differently. It was humbling.

At the end, I was left feeling grateful for this envelope that surrounds me. I was grateful for how my spine moves and my legs support me, how breath travels in and out, and how my body sustains me. These are privileges denied to many.

image

It’s small, seemingly insignificant moments like these that erase the old ink and help to write new stories.

Be kind to yourself. 

mxo