September 20

Butting It Out

**Note 1** I actually started writing this several months ago. Then summer happened and came along with it were the tough choices of whether or not I’d rather be frolicking outside or banging my head against my lap top trying to string together words I’m happy with.

If only there was an emoji for my decision making abilities…

Oh wait, there is…

poo

Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. I’ve turned out okay(ish) depending on the day of the week and the time of the month, so I suppose I’ve done a few things right.

I have, however, made one decision I can finally say I am – without a doubt – proud of and have zero regrets or second thoughts.

And no, it has nothing to do with my dating life.

**Note 2** At the time of initially writing this, my dating life was still on its nine-year hiatus and that has surprisingly changed, which is a story for another time.**

Anyway.

I quit smoking.

People quit smoking all the time… so why is this such a big deal for me?

My choice to begin in the first place isn’t one I’m proud of. Sometimes, you have to travel to the dark side to appreciate the light. Right? (Still waiting for the light to manifest itself into my romantic life).

**Note 3** Sometime last year, I was having a conversation with a friend about my lack luster love life. I brought up the topic of smoking and how I felt that it was something I had to give up before I could totally attract a healthy relationship – as much of what I had been attracting over the last decade has been toxic (not all, though!). I was treating myself with toxic habits and attracting similar relationships to the one I had with my self. Voila! Not long after butting it out, my perpetual single life smoldered out as well… again, a story for another time.

Regardless, it was a large part of who I was… and who I wasn’t.

In fact, I was such a stealthy smoker that most people in my life didn’t even know.

I was a mostly private – and heavy – puffer (of cigarettes, just to clarify) for 20 years.

Two decades.

That’s a long time.

For 20 years, I relied on these magic toxic filled sticks to make me feel at ease.  They were my dirty little companions in times of anxiety, excitement, boredom, and busyness. They were a social crutch. Ever been awkwardly waiting for someone at a bar? Easy, go for a smoke while you pretend to text someone.

They went great with wine, telephone conversations, driving, and they were my way to step back and quiet my mind. And let’s not forget coffee – nothing went better with caffeine than a dose of carbon monoxide.

Don’t even get me started on how great it was after sex… Well, so I’ve been told…

And I actually enjoyed it.

“Life is short… do what you enjoy. I could quit smoking and then I could get hit by a bus. It’s my only bad habit… I eat well and I exercise…. I really do take care of myself. I could have worse habits!”

This was my reasoning each and every time.

For twenty years I told myself that this was something I had full control over. I controlled them, not the other way around. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The mere thought of going somewhere and not being able to have a cigarette or needing to hide it sent me into anxiety. Despite being careless with my own health, I was always cautious and considerate of those who I shared my bad habits with.

My car was stocked with the necessities. Gum, mouthwash, hand sanitizer, and body spray galore. I was like a Health and Beauty aisle at Walmart on wheels. Minus the Health part.

I had ‘quit’ several times over the years. Nothing stuck for more than a couple weeks, tops. I had tried the gum, patches, cold turkey and medications. The terrible dreams were one thing, but my raging bitch moods were another story. Don’t even get me started on being on Champix when you are PMSing. Guys, if you think we are too emotional then… think again.  You haven’t felt true toxic wrath until you’ve seen a crampy, high strung woman too bloated for her fat pants sans her cigarette. That terrifies even me.

I actually felt it was in the best interest of my own well-being and the safety of others to continue to light up.

Although I had ‘wanted’ to butt out for a long time, the one habit I never bothered to adjust was my thought patterns. I had always ‘worked’ on quitting smoking, but I never worked on my mind. For a while, I had only wanted to quit to have extra cash.

I had started CrossFit in 2012 to challenge my mental and physical strength. By no means do I consider myself highly competitive or even all that athletic, but I wanted something that pushed me just a little bit harder. I had only taken small sips of the proverbial Kool-Aid… which was enough to quench my thirst for a healthier lifestyle.

cfIt wasn’t solely CrossFit – much of it was also the changing social perception. Gone were the days of sandbox ashtrays in shopping malls and street corners. I had been a social outcast for the better part of my childhood and smoking was something I did to fit in to some -any- kind of crowd. Despite the changing laws and stigmas – it was still easy enough to hide. But, trying to mask the fact that I was losing a lung before the CrossFit warm-up was even over was getting to be a real challenge – and not the kind I signed up for. I dreaded things like sprints and thrusters, and wall balls and burpees were the absolute worst. And what was the first thing I did after walking out of the torture chambers? Torture my body even more. And not for positive gains.

The more I went, the more I began to feel like a hypocrite. That’s like claiming to be a nature lover as you nudge the remnants of your nic-stick into a sidewalk nook and cranny.

Finally, my mind began to change. Slowly but surely, I began to hate it. I had a hard enough time explaining to narrow minded people why I am was still single and child-less at 33, never mind trying to justify why I was dating the slick devilish darts.

smokeIt had occurred to me that my mind had been conditioned to think cigarettes were ‘cool’ and simply a part of ‘who I was’. The only way I could quit was to rewire my brain and adopt new ways of thinking. Rather than being accustomed to telling myself it was something I needed, I began to tell myself the opposite. (Now if I could only translate this into every other area of my life, I’d be set!) I also did what I have been seemingly good at in other areas of my life – I focused on the negatives. That’s right – but this time for good reason. I filled my brain with the very worst things I could think of. Rather than thinking about how much I enjoyed it with a cold beer on a hot summer night – I consciously thought about all the toxins I was polluting my body with and spent time asking Siri to show me blackened lungs.

One morning, I got into my car and left for work. I had one cigarette left. This is where panic mode would usually set in and I would need to b-line to the Mac’s store. I opened my glove box to dig out some change – only to have the content of primarily empty cigarette packages fall out. I stared at the pile of money I had turned into a toxic wasteland.

And that was it. This is stupid. I kept on driving – which might have been the best decision I have ever made.

Deep breath.

(Because I can do that now.)

 

May 31

Excuses, excuses

glasseswtf

I’ve been avoiding writing the same way I avoid questions like, “Do you have a boyfriend yet.” The difference is that one I’ve avoided by making plenty of excuses… the other… well, I don’t have an answer.

The last year or more since I’ve even bothered to write anything has been a juggling act and I’ve dropped the ball a few dozen hundred times.

I know I need to write and yet I avoid it. Why? Well, I will tell myself things like I have no time, work is in the way, I have nothing to say, and on and on.

The back and forth dialogue in my mind goes something like:

“I feel so inspired, this is going to be easy!”
“I can’t wait to get started!”

*Sits down to write*

“Nothing’s coming out…”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself, just get out of your own way!”
“This is stupid! Everything I try to write sounds like crap!”

*Texts friend to vent*

*Tries again*

glasseswtf“This sounds even worse! Nothing makes sense!”
“I don’t even know what my point is!”
“Who is going to care, anyway!”
“Blah!”
“I quit!”

“I can’t wait to get started!”

(And in case you’re wondering, yeah, I made that stellar graphic in Paint because it’s one of the few things that’s actually still working on my computer. Sweet, eh?)

I’ve been meaning to write a book for… oh I dunno, the last few years or more. It’s a vicious cycle. Creativity hits, words fill the page, PMS (a.k.a. nuclear emotional warfare) hits harder, self doubt blows up and before I know it I’m starting over. Again, and again. Approximately every 28 days. Not only that, the creativity process is an emotional one that stirs up a lot of energy (sometimes unwanted), PMS or not. They say writing is ‘therapeutic’, but I’m pretty sure that sometimes, after writing, I could use a good therapy session. Why? Because the process of creation is the thing that triggers the most emotion in me. Emotion = energy in motion.

Sometimes, I tell myself I have no business writing if I’m not in the right mind frame. It’s like I’m perpetually waiting for things to be just perfect. But, that would do little for authenticity.

I easily walk into the quicksand of negative self talk – in heels no less. I can barely walk in flats, never mind stilettos. I have a remarkable ability to focus on all the things that I don’t perceive as ‘right’ in my life and why they are preventing me from doing what I want. Which is nothing more than excuses, in other words complete bull shit.

However!

Yes, there is a however!

I put it this way… I think about living out my existence and what would haunt me forever if I didn’t do it. What would pick away at my soul eternally? That’s usually the thing you are meant to do. It’s not meant to be easy.

Hang on, I lost my train of thought again. Damn it. I’ve probably written about this very same thing before. Damn it, again.

Anyway, point is… you just have to keep going. What would have ever been created if no one ever got out of their own way and maximized their time? Get out of your head and just do it. Maybe it will be easy, maybe not. Probably not. Or, continually hang on to excuses, fear, and self doubt. What fun is that?! Where is it getting you?

That goes for me, too! I always need to eat my own words! It’s likely why I put them out there sometimes, to keep myself accountable.

My phone just beeped and someone just sent me this video… how synchronistic…

What are your excuses keeping you from?

If you’re tired of kicking your own ass and would like to keep me company on kicking mine, please join me HERE.

April 18

… And Breathe.

brain

brainPrepare for brutal honestly.

I tend to write only positive and uplifting moments… moments that can inspire magic and hope into others – even if it is only my average readership of one person (thanks, Mom). But if I always did that, I would not be including the remaining fibers of my soul. I would only be showing one fragment of my being, and given that I wear my heart on my sleeve, I find it damn near impossible to hide the rest of me.

That’s not to say I don’t have anything uplifting to say, but today I’m just not in the mood. Maybe it’s the weather.

F#ck it. Today I write my feelings, as they are, in the present moment.

It’s my therapy.

Lately, the amount of days I have felt empty and alone and lost and anxious have outnumbered the days of feeling intrinsically happy and calm. It’s a piss off really, because I WAS there, and I have always been the purveyor of self fulfillment and wholeness – the importance of going on your own epic self journey – and yet here I am, trying to chew on my own words.

Maybe I’ve been looking at too many ‘throw back thursday’ photos and wondering how I went from hob-knobbing with the semi rich and famous, doing really cool shit (as defined by my ego), travelling, donning some low cut, sexified tank top – to sitting alone on a Friday night, in my Walmart-special hoodie donning a salsa stain on it, and on the brink of joining a nunnery. If I ever do end up on a hot date in this life time, I may need an instruction manual.

Anyway, that’s not the point. I get that my interests have shifted as I get older more mature. Actually, I don’t even know what my point is.  Blah.

After all the searching and inner workings – I find myself not knowing where the hell I am. But then again, where did I expect to go? I have no clue. I suppose I figured after going on sabbatical from being stuck inside some little box the majority of society views as ‘normal life’, I’d at least have somewhat of an idea as to what the heck I am doing or what path to take. Perhaps I even went as far as to think I might also have a morsel of romance after I learned to find it within my self, first.

I don’t.

None. Nada. Zero. Zilch. F#ck all.

It’s like every time I think I have found myself, I get lost again. And again. Or maybe I’m just beginning. Maybe I have not yet learned to love myself in the first place. I don’t know.

Untitled

I also have a problem. It’s called self sabotage. It gets me every time. I am an expert on self destruction. Very rarely can I hold on to a good though long enough to let it play out. Instead, I kill it with impatience and a lot of ‘this-is-never-going-to-work-i’m-a-failure-my-life-is-OVER’ kind of thing. I have a solid habit of thinking of the worst possible scenarios in just about, well… everything. Some – if not most – days, it puts me into a total head spin. 

I’m starting to feel bogged down by those thoughts.

But I feel like lately that’s all I know.

My brain needs a bath.

I want to wash myself clean, scrub my negative patterns away until I bleed. Find a way to stop fearing the unforeseen and inch closer to my dreams.

But I feel like I’ve done that – over and over and over again.  It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey – I get that.

Good grief, I really need to stop saying the word ‘but’.

I guess I’m just frustrated, and I needed it to let it out.

Maybe I’m closer than I think.  

Exhale… here we go again..

yourself

 

 

 

March 2

Let’s Jump Into Bed

messybed3

I’ve started to make my bed each morning. This has never happened. Perhaps, psychologically I feel that if I make my bed it will help to tidy up my entire life which some days feels like a disaster. That, and it’s a small task that leaves a feeling of pride to start the day off.

My inner child is stoked.

“Yeah Mom, Dad! Take that!! I totally just made my bed!”

Life = winning.

Amessy bed1nd at the end of the day, it looks even more appealing to climb into.

But, in actuality, it’s the same level of comfort.

So, maybe this small step can be carried over into the rest of the mess. Truth is, we are all a little bit messy. Some of us aren’t exactly where we want or thought we would be in life. Relationship woes. Marriage woes. Financial woes. Emotional woes. Woe is me.

Some of us have really messy beds.

But, look closer. Is it really, ‘woe is me’?

Fuck that. Not today.

WHOA is me.

It’s all perception.

We are taught from a young age that you ‘should’ make your bed. And if you want to, go ahead. Really. I am.

Because I want to.

It can be as messy as you want it to be. (Unless you share it with someone, it might need a little compromise. I don’t have this problem… yet.) Still though, it might need a little fixing up before you crawl in – and if you make it too tightly, you might kick your feet so that it’s a bit more loose. A little breathing room, you might say. The trick is to find the right balance.

Regardless, it’s your bed. It doesn’t matter how perfect it is. It doesn’t matter how messy it is. It might change on a daily basis. Maybe you’ll go for month with nicely tucked in sheets. Maybe you’ll go for twenty years with pillows strewn across the floor.

What matters, is that it’s where magic happens. (Okay, as of lately, I don’t know what this is like, but whatever, you get the point.) It’s where magic CAN happen. It’s waiting. Calling your name. Dying for you to jump in, roll around and make love to it. How you decide to play – to explore in it is all up to you.

It’s where dreams are made.

All you have to do is show up.

(Maybe relax a little.)

Whoa…

This is a metaphor for life.

Sweet dreams.

messybed3

December 30

Tight Pants, Loose Change and Resolution Refrain

Be-The-Change

Ohhh, the holidays. That joyous time of year that floods the shopping malls with only the kindest of folk. The time of year that has me digging around for an even more elastic-y pair of elastic stretch pants.

Only one of those two sentences has truth to it.

Every year I ask Santa for a slim waistline and a fat bank account, and every year he gets it all mixed up. But is it really Santa’s fault?! Or is it my own for shoving all those extra chocolates and perogies and ham and meatballs and those cute little cocktail wieners into my face that I didn’t need. No need for me to insert a sick joke here, I’m sure you’ve already thought it.

Every action has a consequence. Mine is puffiness around the mid region… and quite frankly, there is nothing Santa can do about it.

(But seriously though, I did get to spend the holidays with a ton of people I love tremendously, so that trumps the stretchy pants.)

gymAnd so comes the New Year. A real time for change, right? Another chance at bringing to fruition all that I (and you) want. Hooray!

But,

A change in numbers doesn’t mean change, unless you are a calendar.  It doesn’t mean a promise of better things to come.  Change only comes from a change in attitude and inspired action. You have this opportunity in every new moment – which is basically, well – all the time.

A ‘new year’ sounds great and all, and sure it gives that refreshed and brand newish feeling – albeit a fleeting one – but don’t sit around and wait for the stroke of midnight. Every moment is a new one, regardless of what year it is. And not to sound totally morbid, but do any of us even know if we are going to live through 2014?! Nope. If you aren’t six feet under, the moment is always ripe.

I stopped making typical new year’s resolutions a while ago. Fuck the plans to save more money, lose weight, etc etc.

Why? Because you don’t know what life is going to throw at you! Last year, I could have sworn by this time this year – I’d be running my own retail business and more financially stable.

Instead, life threw other surprises my way. But as for the good times, I did I find myself couch surfing and castle hopping in Germany, sipping cervasas on sail boats and working in the film industry. None of my year was anything like I thought it would be. I managed to do almost the complete opposite of everything I was ‘planning’ to do. And I enjoyed every single minute of it. I didn’t sit around and wait for the right moment to come along. Instead, I grabbed opportunities by the balls and some of them led me on down paths I never thought I had. Even all the perceived ‘bad’ shit helped with that, too.

Obviously not every change happens over night. Would I way rather be backpacking across somewhere in Central America right now? Oh hell yeah. That’s not going to happen tomorrow with the current state of my bank account. But the point is, is that when you decide to be conscious of the moment, doors you didn’t even expect will open. And some others may shut. You really don’t know where life is going to take you.

I have one goal and one goal only – that is to appreciate everything… whether it’s the extra five bucks to buy a coffee or 50 for a night out. With gratitude comes happiness, and with happiness comes opportunity, and when you are in that zone, things like losing weight and attracting cool shit comes far more naturally.

So rather than setting up all these ridiculous resolutions that last for 72 hours and set you up for frustration and failure, practice mindfulness. Not the most easiest thing when you are feeling disgruntled, but it does help to create change.

Look at everything with a sense of impermanence. That person you last talked to? Yeah, they are going to be gone one day. So are you. That bed you slept on? Well, to be honest it’s going to be in the dump one day. One day that house you live in is going to be gone. Sounds harsh, but it’s true.

Everything – every, single thing is impermanent – and when you look at things with that in mind, not only does it help you to have a greater appreciation for even the crappiest of moments… but it can also create a state of urgency to make change if you are unhappy. Currently, I’m not happy about my tight pants.

Life is short. Don’t wait for a flip of a calendar. Carpe diem. Be grateful.

Be-The-Change

November 4

Why You Should Hug a Writer and Then Run Like Hell

to-hell

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and pondering life lately, and my moods have been… well let’s just say a little bit over the top extreme. Only the people really, really close to me would know this – it’s not something I would ever publicly broadcast, or anything silly like that…

Usually, I am able to associate my over driven emotional tendencies to being a being a female – which should be explanation enough.

MoodsLately, however, it’s been a bit hard to handle.  I’ve always been a chick – as far as I know – some of the early 20’s years are a bit blurry. Either way, I should be used to it by now. (But trust me, men, you really never do get used to having a dagger driven through your guts every few weeks and the hormonal aftermath it leaves in its wake – and don’t tell me that you have to deal with it, too – because you have NO IDEA).

Regardless, because I am a woman – I need to know everything. EVERY FREAKIN’ THING.  My ups and downs lately have been a little bit more than hormones … they’ve also been in part to my spiritual wandering to find out why the hell I am here. These ‘character glitches’ I am noticing have been rearing their ugly head a bit more clearly as I find myself on another personal quest that caught me off guard and hit me harder than that chick in high school with a jealousy problem.

For that reason, I am trying to come to terms – and embrace – some of my… ummm, let’s just call them ‘eccentricities’. .

In the midst of my self exploration, I  forgot to look at my self as being a ‘creative type’… which comes with a laundry list of interesting ‘traits’. Although this may not be reason enough – at least it can be partially attributed.

Yeah… totally… that’s totally it. Riiiight.

I think.

Combine that with being a lost soul trying to break free of the shackles of society, ovaries, a rather dry love life, and full moons – and what you have is complete and utter inner chaos.

It was right around the time I started tapping into my spiritual essence that I began writing more frequently. You see, writing is one of those ‘things’ that has been with me since early childhood – when my Mother taught me to read and write before I started kindergarten. I didn’t like to speak a whole lot and I often found solace using words – in written form.

What a treat it was to skip out on learning the alphabet and read Nancy Drew novels instead. How about them Hardy Boys?! I wonder if they are single. Also, I did not mind hanging out in the teachers’ lounge washing dishes during spelling class. What kid didn’t want to chum with the grownups in a cigarette smoke infested staff room? Way. Too. Cool.

This immediately separated me from the other kids. Who the hell is this 5 year old reading novels and trying to impress us with her short stories at show and tell? She gets to skip class, again?! Wtf.

What a nerd.

Therefore, I suppressed my ability to write for most of my life. It was apparently a talent I had – according to other people – never myself. Most writers never actually think they are any good at their own skill. So, I would deny it. Over and over again. In fact, I still do.

It doesn’t help that I just read Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 tips for great writers and I fail at all of them. Every goddamn one.

I can’t really call myself a legit ‘polished’ writer –  I don’t exactly make a living off of it, I don’t follow the ‘rules’ and I am not formally trained. I only know that my word hobby has been around since I was an awkward child.

I wanted to be ANYTHING but a writer. Next to musicians, writing is one of the least lucrative career choices there is. Race car driver, trapeze artist, lion tamer, lawyer, sewer inspector, private investigator, that chick that’s the bait to catch cheating husbands, exterminator  – please god give me any other talent BUT writing.

Clearly none of these things worked out.

“Well, why don’t you write more?” some people would ask.

“How about you just f*** off and stop asking me that. I don’t want to write.”

And so brings me to this juncture – personal journey #437 and facing some tough questions about who I am.

(For the record I still don’t know.)

trainwreckBut, I can’t be a writer. In this day and age, everyone is a writer just like everyone is a musician and everyone is a photographer. The Internet can make you a pro star anything. Secondly, why on Earth would I even want to take part in this carpal tunnel syndrome inducing activity that makes me want to pull Greek on my dishes and then saw off my sore arm/fingers with a dull butter knife? Seems crazy.

BUT…

I started to explain some of my mild excessive neurotic behavior to fellow writers and even strangers – and they would tell me, “You must be writer”.

Well that’s just f’ing great. Now other people were pointing it out, too.

Then I started to consider that I should maybe acknowledge the fact that perhaps I was a writer – or at the very least a decent wannabe writer – even though it wasn’t bringing home the bacon.

Maybe I just need to accept it. Honor it, in whatever way possible – even if it means I’ll never be an actual ‘writer writer’ per say. EVEN if it means writing a story about how much I despise writing. Regardless, it was a gift that was given to me and I’ve done my best to suppress it.

As I began to meet other writer types, I started to notice certain ‘quirks’ – some not the most flattering – but it did seem to give me a morsel of clarity into the kind of person I am.

Things are really as clear as mud now.

These ‘traits’ could really just be my own made up things to help me feel better about my own erratic behavior on this weird journey. But whatever. In case you know a few in your own life – they are also things that you should know to make your life – and theirs – a little bit easier.

You see, there’s a kind of personal hell most writers go through on a daily basis. By “most” I really “some – and by “some” I actually mean “female” and by “female” I really mean… well, me.

I am sure I am not the only one, but I’d hate to make an error in judgment and speak on behalf of any writers that are actually SANE. I don’t want to pigeon hole anyone. Although, I don’t believe that ‘sane’ and ‘writer’ belong in the same sentence – but hey, I’ve been wrong before.

(I’m using the word ‘we’ because I would like to think that I’m not the only excessive person out there. If you’re a writer and don’t carry these traits, I’m sorry. And also – please tell me your secret).

The thing about some writers is that we loathe writing. We will generally do anything – ANYTHING – to avoid writing.

Write?! Write now?? Right now?!?

to-hellNoooo….. I can’t write right now. There’s a Coronation Street marathon on TV and after that I need to go outside and shovel dog shit, cut the grass with scissors one blade at a time, organize my sock drawer, clean the furnace ducts, knit my best friend’s brother’s cousin’s dog a sweater, rearrange my closet, rearrange my ENTIRE god damn life and call (insert annoying family member here) that I never talk to.

Once that is done, then… THEN I will get to writing, FOR SURE.

Only after I have a bottle of wine.

Furthermore,

  • We always have words and ideas rolling through our head. We tell ourselves stories and sometimes we actually start believing them. Which leads me to my next point…
  • 99.999% of the time we have a story or an idea in our head and when we sit down to write it, nothing comes out. When that happens, our life is over and we become purposeless human beings… and so begins the suicide mission. When we fail at writing, we fail at every other part of life – which may not be the case in reality – but it is a story we will tell ourselves (at least this is true for me)… and quite frankly, NOTHING is going to change the fact that I feel as pointless as a broken pencil.
  • If we are able to get our ideas out – LIFE IS GREAT and the sex is better!!!… Again, this is something I don’t know (seven years single, remember) but I can only imagine.
  • The above is always remedied by wine (or whatever else your poison may be). However, it’s made worse if you fall asleep before writing your ideas down. There’s a limited time on this and if you don’t capitalize on it – you wake up feeling remorseful and so begins the cycle, again. And then you have a new problem. It’s called alcoholism.
  • Don’t correct a writer on their spelling mistakes immediately. That’s what an editor is for. Most of us wannabes are too broke and not legit enough to have an actual editor. If you do feel the need to get all nit picky, do it gently. I didn’t come here to win a Spelling Bee – I’m here to get ideas out of my head before someone cries bloody murder. I don’t care if they are in any logical order – I just want them gone asap –  because I’m not sure they monsterwritereven allow you to have a pen in the asylum. Whether or not I used the proper form of their or there – or misspelled something – is the least of my worries. I don’t even care how many tenses I’m using in the same paragraph. I’ll deal with that after.
  • Knowing you ‘should’ write but avoid it is a lot like being possessed. You know Danny Torrence in The Shining? Yeah, well, rather than ‘Red Rum’… my finger is twitching and that little demon voice is saying “Write me. Wrriiiiiitte Mee. WRITE ME.”

That all being said, writers are really a bunch colourful, caring, attentive souls with a high awareness. You should know one. Also, give them a hug. They probably need one, even though they’ll deny it. They will keep your lives interesting and full of drama all derived from their head. How creative and enticing!!!

And if you do know a writer trying to find their way in the world – keep in mind Danny’s Father, Jack Torrence in The Shining, and prepare accordingly.

Also, this might be the worst thing I’ve ever written… but who cares, my raging emotions are now justified. Sort of.

Where’s the wine?

April 8

Criticizing… criticism.

criticism1

I’m going to be hypocritical-ish and rant about one of the things I am most critical about – criticism. One of my biggest pet peeves in life is criticism. Not the useful, constructive kind – but the unnecessary, bully-like, pathetic jargon that offers no intrinsic value.

I usually put my see-no-evil-hear-no-evil blinders on in most cases – but sometimes some of the stuff I see and hear drives me bat-shit crazy. Whyyyyyyy do we not see how useless this is? I could easily seclude myself, and I do to a large degree, but as someone that enjoys being social and connecting with many, I often come across things that make me shake my head at humanity. Shame, shame.

criticism1If I had written this two plus years ago, I would have been the pot calling the kettle black.  One of my most successful past-times was offering up a critical analysis of people I didn’t even know. The more people that enjoyed it and found it entertaining, the more it pushed me to continue. In the end, it only elevated my ego and did not have any real service to my evolution as a human. They say you keep repeating the same mistake until you learn the lesson. Luckily, I did around the 104,957th time (give or take a few thousand).

The other day I logged into one of my social networking sites and the first thing I saw was photo prompting viewers to share their one word opinion of an over-weight woman wearing something that perhaps wasn’t the most flattering. Was it attractive by ‘societal standards’? No, probably not.

But, who cares?

Apparently many.

Thousands of people whose lives have been grossly affected by such a travesty.

OMG. Those courageous souls! Still offering up their own derogatory commentaries – even after they’ve had their eyeballs violated and are still graciously giving another few moments of time to weigh in – ON TOP of the ten seconds they just claimed they will never get back .

How generous!

It’s not limited to a random photo on a Twitter feed or a Facebook page – which I get is an (un)necessary evil, really. Media and celebrity gossip columns are great, too. This is where we get to ignore our own lives, utilize our degree in psychology and  provide endless opinions on someone else’s life – without even knowing the true person on the inside.

Part of life? Maybe. We certainly were not born with it though, so I can’t fully agree. Life is pretty short and I find it saddening how much time we – as humans – spend focusing on everyone else but ourselves.

Think about how awesome it would feel to know yourself just as well as you know the person you’re focusing on!

And for those that get the pleasures of unleashing the critiquing – please, tell me the secrets of having a mistake-free life? Humans are dying to know! (No pun intended).

The point is – it’s very easy to get involved in all the banter, especially if the subject is not something that fits your own views. The one thing I try to do is look for commonalities rather than differences. We aren’t that different. Beyond form, we’re all comprised of the same essence. Everyone is on the same journey from different starting points.

Knowing that, what’s to criticize?

Be mindful of the words you say. Next time you choose to chime in, ask yourself if your intentions come from a positive or negative motivation. Humans are the greatest mirrors for our own selves. What you criticize in one usually lies within your own self – and why would you want to bring yourself down?

Now that I’ve written an hypocritical, criticizing, opinionated piece on criticism… rant = over.

 

March 24

Deep Thoughts About Some Thoughts

right

I haven’t been blogging as much because I am working on my first book and I don’t want to give away toooo many of my stories here. Speaking of book writing, it is proving to be the most frustrating thing EVER.

I am quickly discovering the many stages of writing a book, which go a little like:

Write, edit, delete, writer’s block, ****ing curse, curse louder, tiny creative moment, omg write it down now!, delete, throw shit, wine, write like a mad man, more wine, headache, whine, edit, repeat.

Anyway… that’s not what this is about – but that’s more or less what I’ve been working on. I would love to share what guided me to that decision, because it is really quite miraculous – but I’m also saving that for my book.

What was I going to say again?

Don’t mind my A.D.D… holy shit there’s actually sunshine happening outside! Oh, right… anyway… I’ve noticed that I generally write when things are on the up and up. Positivity! Great! But, I’m human and I don’t always have sunshine blowing out my rear end. Sometimes, there are times when I feel like, how can I possibly share an inspirational story when that is the last thing I feel?

I find that I am pretty good at helping others get past some of their own negative self talk – and it is really quite astounding how many souls have come into my journey lately and have been opening their eyes to things about themselves that they hadn’t seen before. It’s quite rewarding, actually. But when my turn comes and I’m in the midst of one of my own pity parties (which are many), good luck getting me to leave. My own stubborness to flip my frown upside down despite how many things I have to be grateful for is sometimes my own worst enemy.

thoughts1It’s one of those things about myself that I continually work on. I don’t think the key is to boycott any feeling of sadness, but rather to honour every emotion (energy in motion) and to be mindful of where our thoughts take us, as they have a vital role in creating our environment.

The last couple years I’ve been incredibly unhappy with where I am at in my professional life. All  I have been able to think of is how stuck I feel, how I am not doing what I should be doing and how I am not living up to my true potential. There are some days I feel as though I am a waste (sounds morbid, but I have no other way of putting it) and I’m pretty sure I’ve shed tears daily for the last couple years consecutively. There is something about it that causes me a great deal of sadness. I’ve had a number of hopeful opportunities fall through the cracks, and I consistently think that sometimes I shouldn’t even bother because no one is going to give me a chance, anyway. Then again, I am the only one in charge of creating my own opportunities – and I am also in charge of sabotaging them with my thoughts – which I do, before they even happen.

I know for a fact, what I am doing is not something that is aligned with my soul or gives me any type of fulfillment.  Sure, I suppose this is likely true of 98% of the working population, but in my mind very few of us are able to move beyond these feelings because we are limited by our own negative thought patterns.

Some people might say, “suck it up, that’s life.” But I beg to differ. That is not life. That is what we are accustomed to thinking. Out of an infinite universe containing billions upon billions of other universes, I certainly did not come to this tiny rock of all places for no reason at all. I have shit to do and my soul knows when I am not doing what I am here to do. In the same breath, that is not entirely correct because I know I am always exactly where I need to be in any given moment… but ‘exactly where I need to be’  isn’t always a place I particularly like. And in another breath, there is always a lesson to be learnt in the place we are.

Long story short, I’ve been spending a good chunk of the last while solely focusing on how I feel stuck and nothing else.

What I get in return? MORE AND MORE of the same. And more! I am creating my very own reality.

The same thing goes with finances. I’ve gotten by for the majority of my life, but the perpetual thought in my mind is always one of:

“I can’t afford it. I can’t do this, I can’t do that. Every time I get a little bit ahead, something happens. I can’t. I don’t have enough. I can’t, I can’t I can’t. Somebody call the wahhhhmublance because I can’t stop crying about everything I can’t do!”

… and the list goes on. My thoughts consistently operate from a place of lack, rather than gratitude for what I do have.

As a result? Even more of the same. In fact, just the other week, I was thinking about how there is something coming up for me that I can’t afford – and guess what? My car broke down.

Energy goes where attention flows.
Energy goes where attention flows.
ENERGY GOES WHERE ATTENTION FLOWS.

This is not some generic statement that we hear over and over again – it is truth.
rightThe things is, I KNOW that this is happening… I am acutely aware of it, but yet I continually get in the way of my own self. I can very easily look at some of my other thoughts and intentions of things I have wanted to manifest into my life that and how they have unfolded almost perfectly. Effortlessly. Some of them are absolutely mind blowing and still leave me and those in my life rather speechless. Things that the vast majority of people would tell me, “Get real, that chances of that happening are impossible.”  I would love to share them, but I am also saving that for my book.

I also have a friend that I have known for a few years. For as long as I’ve known her, she has always talked about how she is secretly a millionaire. Quite honestly, all she does is talk about how much money she has. She is forever speaking about how she can do just about anything because she has the finances to do it. She doesn’t do anything differently than me, but every time I see her – she seems to have even more. On the other hand, she consistently talks about how alone she is and how the potential romantic partners she meets are always of the same breed – abusive and controlling. She talks about how she will never meet anyone that compliments her and how she is destined to be alone and miserable forever.

For the past couple years I have known her, I have heard her thoughts – which are always the same. It is quite astounding to watch as what she thinks about, is created.

Changing  your thought pattern isn’t the easiest thing to do. I struggle with my own every minute of every day. Almost every time I run into a challenge or something that hasn’t worked out (which is often because there is something better coming that we can’t yet see), I immediately fall into the trappings of my negative thought patterns. Almost always, I throw a tantrum and right away I say, “that’s it! I’m done! I’m done hoping for things to work out because they never do! Why bother if it always leads to disappointment?! WHYYYY!!”

When I think that way, I begin to believe it. When I believe it, I put energy into it and ultimately I continue to create more of the same. And that, right there – is one of my biggest personal challenges.

Having said that, I’m thinking I’m about to change all of that.

I originally had other intentions for this post – there was something entirely different I was going to rant about. Perhaps, I will save that for my book as well.

Where do your thoughts take you? What are YOU creating for yourself?

February 22

Why I’m Never Going to the ‘Gym’ Again

grouplife

This might turn out to be a long winded post – so grab your coffee (or if you’re like me, a glass bottle of wine).

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a problem with my fluctuating weight. I’ve always been pretty active with a regular gym routine, so I’ve never been grossly out of shape – but I’ve been at points where I have felt a little more than uncomfortable.

In 2011, I reached my highest point (ironically my lowest point) – tipping the scale at 200lbs, which, for my 5’7 stature was enough to make my favourite pair of pants split wide open in public. Yeah, that happened.

I didn’t know where it came from, but what I did know is that I strongly disliked feeling uncomfortable. It was time to change it.

grouplifeSo I did. I shed about 30lbs. Great!

I actually wrote about that journey right here.

And then I fell off the wagon again.

There was no real rhyme or reason other than I got bored.  Arms day. Legs day. Spin class. Weights. Over and over again.

*Yawn*

I felt like my body was changing, but as a person – I was not.  My mind wasn’t being challenged. I’d go to the gym and plug in my head phones and watch some uninspiring TV show, gawk at the other gym goers and fumble around the gym for a good two hours, sometimes breaking a sweat.

Everything felt so… monotonous.

I never gained the weight back, but over time I saw myself start to lose the definition that I had worked so hard for – and it seemed to happen instantly. I use the word ‘definition’ both figuratively and literally.

During that time, I had a number of friends that kept urging me to come try CrossFit. I couldn’t stand listening to them (sorry), I found them to be so annoying with all their “WOD talk”.

Seriously! Shut up already!

CrossFit?! That sport that proclaims to be for ‘The Fittest on Earth”?

How about the most annoying on earth!

I go to the gym, I work out, how could it possibly be that much different than what I do? How about you take a great big ‘wod’ and shove it up your ***!

What the hell is a WOD anyway?
Is this some kind of cult?
What’s a burpee? Does it involve beer?

(WOD = Work out of the day, BTW)

Not to mention that, there was a laundry list of other reasons why I didn’t feel like I needed to give it a try:

BUT, I already have a gym membership.
BUT, I LIKE to work out by myself at my own pace.
BUT, I don’t really do group classes.
BUT, I’m not in good enough shape to do CrossFit. (Which is equivalent to the annoyance of people telling me they’re not flexible enough to try yoga.. that IS why you GO to yoga, btw).
BUT, I can’t do anything overly challenging because of my problems with my right arm.

Etc, etc.

So, there it was – enough reasons why it seemed pretty pointless to bother. Save for some lacking motivation which will surely pass, I’m getting by just fine with my regular gym… so why change what’s not broken?

And here I am, entering my fourth month of CrossFit at Synergy Strength.

synergyLast fall, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. So I checked it out. I was almost immediately intimidated. OH. MY. GOD. I have just walked into the non-violent version of Fight Club. I’m breaking a sweat just by shaking in my boots.

It wasn’t that everyone there was ‘ripped’…there were all different shapes and sizes, but these people were STRONG. Stronger than anyone I had seen at a gym.

I didn’t want to go back. Not ever. Not only that; it was a pretty big eye opener for me – it showed me exactly where my weaknesses were. It was kind of depressing, actually. For all the hours I had spent in the gym doing bicep curls, leg extensions and working on building muscle, I still couldn’t do a single push up.  Climb up a rope? Not a chance.

With hesitation, I signed up to take the training (OnRamp) classes.

WTF am I getting myself into? Box jumps? I can’t do box jumps. After too many fractures, I’m terrified of jumping, period. This is NOT happening.

Maybe I should just stick with the regular gym. If I quit now, I can still get out alive.

BUT…

During that time, something else happened to change my mind. Without warning, someone I love lost the use of their legs. There I was, watching someone that’s cared for and provided for me my entire life lay in frustration day after day… as I was watching someone realize the real importance of physical strength… and watching someone who would gladly give just about anything to have another chance my mindset began to change pretty quickly.  And there I was, spending more time in a hospital than I cared to – for months – watching someone I love learn how to walk again from the ground up.

And I thought CrossFit was too much of a challenge?

<insert self bitch slap here>

I will never judge anyone based on what they do or do not do, but from that point on – my opinion on physical fitness is a little bit more pronounced. Quite honestly, perfectly capable people that don’t use their bodies to the best of their abilities drive me nuts.

You never know when that may be taken away from you. I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan on taking what I have for granted. I plan on seeing just how much I CAN do.

If that wasn’t enough, one week after I signed up, I was in a car accident which put me out for a couple of weeks. It hit me (literally) at a  point during great financial/emotional distress and also cost me just about every dime of prize money I had won competing in a business competition for six months. I thought 200lbs was one of my lowest points – but during this time I felt even lower. I felt weak – physically and mentally. Honestly, I had no motivation to even go to CrossFit once I was able – but all that changed pretty quickly.

burpeesCrossFit has been without a doubt one of the best choices I’ve made in a long while. Except for learning what burpees are (unrelated to liquor), I’ll never like burpees. However, it’s been a few months and I’m starting to find that ‘definition’ again – and not just physically. With every ‘WOD’ I find a piece of me on the inside that becomes just a little bit more defined. I can’t explain it, but it has that kind of effect.

CrossFit strengthens the body, but more than that – it strengthens the soul.

Going to the gym and and finding your own sense of motivation is just as, if not more challenging. I’ve done it and I’ve succeeded at it. Sometimes, true strength lies in knowing when you need to reach out to others, too.  For me personally, something was missing from my humdrum work outs… something I found in CrossFit. The fact that I’m in and out in an hour tops is a bonus, but there is something about being in the ‘box’ that is just… different. In a good way. The community itself is unparalleled to anything I’ve ever been a part of – and that’s coming from someone who ‘doesn’t do group classes’ and ‘prefers to do my own thing’.

They define CrossFit as being the “Fittest on Earth”, but to me, it is so much more than the physical fitness. I’ve learned that there’s a pretty big big BIG difference between big muscle and big strength that is functional. It’s about your best form, function and pushing yourself beyond your perceived limits.  It’s about taking these and applying it to all areas of your life. It’s about being the best self you can be.

But isn’t it dangerous? Can’t you hurt yourself? Yeah, and you know what?? Getting in your car is dangerous, too. Spending precious moments of life riding the waves on the couch is dangerous. Never knowing your own strength – is dangerous.

(And by the way, a good CrossFit box is equipped with top notch coaches that make sure you don’t do anything stupid… something I never had at the gym)

Point of the story? Just because something challenges you, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. That doesn’t mean you have to step into a CrossFit box – but step out of your comfort zone. Expand your perceptions. What’s right in front of you might just be the very thing you’ve been looking for.

If CrossFit is about being your very best, I think I just might be an annoying CrossFitter until the day I die.

If you can’t beat ‘em, you may as well join ‘em.

September 6

11 Simple(ish) Things.

One of the constants in my life has been a dear friend of mine by the name of Rod Black. Actually, I’ve written about his significance in my life before. I call him a soul mate and quite often I think he is an angel in human form, as he always appears in my life at the precise moment that I feel even remotely troubled. There are a number of people I have very deep and meaningful connections to (they know who they are)… but in this case, it was Rod that inspired this piece of writing.

The past few months have been some of my most personally rewarding, eye opening and challenging. I’ve been discovering a lot about my spiritual side as well getting to know myself on a deeper level. With that, comes a lot of questions. I mean A LOT. There are days where I often question my place in life and what I’m supposed to do to reach my highest potential. And there are plenty of times I feel overcome with fear to do so.

There are times when I feel like I don’t really belong anywhere, and days when I feel completely unmotivated and detached from life. Some days, I feel like I’d like to float away.

It’s those exact days, when my phone rings and it is Rod, as if he is telepathically hearing my own fears and self doubts. I almost think he is. Whether I am in need of a gentle reminder or a swift kick in the ass, he is there.

I’m sure everyone can relate to those days where you feel incredibly stuck. You feel like any goal you have set for yourself is millions of miles away and completely out of reach. Those are also the days where every single roadblock imaginable seems to appear, and those are the days you really want to give up and float away. Those are the days your ego pays you a nice visit and makes you question everything you’ve ever done and makes you feel like it’s not worth trying anymore. Fear, personal loathing and self doubt cloud any kind of positivity or self worth.

I’ve had a number of these days in the past while. Thankfully, I’ve been able to recognize them, understand them, and accept them… or at least I try.  It’s part of being human and the only way to get through those times is to allow them. I’ve recognized that these days are not the essence of me, but my own ego.

Though it is easier said than done, the days I feel stuck and like none of my dreams are manifesting I try to picture my ideas much like a garden. You plant the seed, and though you can not see the activity taking place beneath the soil – with enough care and attention, you see that seed grow and take form.

It was during one of my recent moments of doubt and disparity that Rod called me.

He told me to make a list of some of the things I am proud of, thankful for, that make me happy, and that I admire in my own self. He told me I should always have this ‘list’ close by so that when I feel like I am in a funk I can refer to it.

“It works, Tanis”, he said.

I chuckled and said, “Hmmm yeah…sure…okay”, and  shrugged it off. I was in such a foul mood that day that I didn’t think I had anything to be thankful for, which is pretty ridiculous. Either way, I didn’t really think about it. I would have rather had a glass of wine and sat in a dark room sulking to myself rather than think about anything ‘positive’.

Then he asked me again. And again. And yet again.

“Did you do what I asked you Tanis?”

“Ummm…”

“You didn’t, did you. TAAANIS!!!”

“Okay, fine. I will. Like, what… do you want me to send you the list  or something!?” I joked.

“Yes, as a matter of fact I do. I’ll fill in the things that you are missing.”

So here goes…

11 Simple things that things I am proud of, thankful for, that make me happy and that I admire in my own self.

 (Note: I decided to start with 10 things… but at the end I had to add one more. There are many more than 10 which I will add in my own journal, but these ones came to me first in no particular order… and really, I’m cramming way more than 10 in here)

1.  Let’s start with the glaringly obvious. I am thankful for my family, perfect or not. Blood is blood, and I would not be here if not for my family.

2. Also on the obvious side – roof over my head, food to eat, water to drink. Air to breathe. Sunsets, stars, and simple things.

3. I am happy that my Mom taught me to read and write before the age of 5. I remember reading Nancy Drew novels in Kindergarten and writing and reading my own short stories to the kids as they were still learning the alphabet. I also got to skip spelling class from Grade 3 onward. During that time, I got to hang out in the teachers’ lounge and learn the fine art of washing dishes. I’m not sure if that is something I am happy about – but surely it will make my future partner pretty happy and I’m certain my parents thoroughly enjoyed it as well.  Regardless, reading and writing is something I’ve taken for granted, because it has always been a part of my life and I often forget there are some that never do get to learn. I’m sure my spelling and grammar skills were better back then than they are now, but either way – I was privileged to learn early on.

4. I am thankful for my ability to manifest things. This is one some of my friends have often told me I can do. Many times I’ve heard, “If you say it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen”. For whatever reason, this has not worked with manifesting a lottery win just yet – but other than that, I have come up with some crazy ideas that most would say “that’s not possible”… and I have sat back, followed signs from the universe, and literally watched my intentions manifest into form. What are they exactly? I’m saving them for my book (one day).

5. I’m thankful for my interest in music. I started with playing the organ (my parents’ choice) and played the flute in my school band. I played the drums in my teens and got booted out of the first band I was in – which prompted me to buy a guitar. Scratch that – my Dad bought me my first one. When I got good enough, I bought my second guitar which was a HUGE deal to me, because it was the very first big purchase that I ever did myself. I also remember the man at the music store that told me I couldn’t touch one of the expensive guitars basically because I was a girl… So I pulled out a wad of cash, said “Okay… no problem, see ya later!” and went to the competitors and bought and even nicer one.

6. I’ve been wanting to start my own business for a while and I’ve been working diligently on writing a business plan for more than a year as well as working full time, dabbling in some writing, taking evening classes and also trying to maintain some kind of social life. I’ve learned that I’m great at writing business plans and I’m pretty happy about that. On that note, earlier today I had an extensive Q&A session at a local firm and got questioned on nearly every aspect of my business. It was pretty intense, and at this very moment I am happy that I held my composure with confidence, even though there were some questions that totally stumped me.

7. I’m pretty happy that after three days of having no luggage in New York City, it was returned and I was able to wear clean clothes to Central Park. I’m also happy that I was *only* stranded in the Washington airport for 14 hours and not 24. Furthermore, I was even happier to leave New York because it was cold and hang out in balmy Texas for a few days where I got to take in the SXSW festival (another thing that was ‘impossible’, yet I intended it to happen and it did). Among other random things, I’m happy that I can fit through the ‘Leprechaun door’ at O’sheas and also, I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty thrilled I got to wear ‘Keith’s glasses’ a week ago. –>

8. I’m quite happy with my intuitive abilities. These are some skills that I’ve been developing over the past while but have improved greatly in the last few years. Everyone has them, not everyone knows it or knows how to awaken them. Often, I am able to read and feel other’s energy and sometimes I have the ability to see one’s aura/energy field. It’s a GREAT bull shit detector. There are times though, it’s more of a curse than a blessing as sometimes I am filled with information on others that I would rather not know or feel.

9. I am proud of my ability to network. I have actually never really thought about it because it’s one of those things that just seems to ‘happen’. Now that I actually think about it, it’s likely one of the things I do best and I’m pretty stoked on it. It doesn’t matter what industry I am in, I have an innate ability to attract precisely the people that I need or want to know. Because of it, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many of my ‘idols’. Some of them, ten years ago I would have said “as if I would ever meet that person.” And because of both my networking and ‘intending’ skills, it’s afforded me some really cool experiences. I also know that people don’t come into your life for no reason. Everything is connected. Whether it’s an acquaintance or someone I  now call a friend, I’m pretty happy about each and everyone of them. I wouldn’t be where I am otherwise.

10.My yoga studio makes me pretty happy. It’s one of those things I never thought I would do, or could do. In fact, if you read this post – I was petrified of it. I also just signed up for a Qi Gong class – a form of Tai Chi/Kung Fu. I had my first class today and I’m already starting to learn even more about myself. I’m fairly stoked on this class and to try something new.

11. Last but certainly not least, I am thankful for my friend Rod. It was my interest in music that allowed me to meet him. I am proud to know him and proud of him. Rod had an experience years ago and was declared dead at the age of 19. Shortly after, he had a near death experience… much of which he writes about in his music. I’m pretty darn happy that he is here today. When I think of his challenges and watching him keep going, it challenges me to do the same with myself. He is the pure embodiment of passion and perseverance. I encourage you to check out some of his music here or on youtube.

So now I am sitting here reflecting on a lot of these experiences and memories and realizing more and more how much I have to be proud of.

The next time your having a bad day and your ego is kicking your ass… maybe it’s today… maybe it will be tomorrow… I encourage you to do the same.

We spend so much time focusing on and gravitating towards the negatives. Society is geared towards the negatives whether it’s via social media, TV, or our daily conversations. So much in fact, that we often forget to really truly focus on the positives.

What are some of the things about yourself that you are thankful for? What aspects of yourself are you proud of?