Sunday, December 14, 2008
"What you focus on appears."
Once upon a time, when I was living in Kingston, Ontario and going to teacher's college, I walked into a small bookstore and bought these two cards. I often buy pretty cards and then use them as art rather than sending them. Most of these cards eventually end up being put into my Anything Book or my Inspiration file. For some reason these two have followed me everywhere since. I have had them up - side by side - on every wall of every room I have lived in since 2001.
They say that what you focus on appears. A few days ago I was brushing my hair and I looked over at the wall where I have put up some photographs and other treasures. My heart skipped a beat when I looked at those butterflies. They HAD appeared - several times - in my life over the past year. When I asked Laini to design our wedding invitation, I knew that we were going to have wings, but I didn't really think about which ones. When her gorgeous art arrived, I was delighted, but I didn't make any connection.
When Lisa agreed to make our beautiful wedding cake and said that she wanted to make it like our invitation, I remember thinking how beautiful her drawings were and then how stunning and unusual the cake was. I still didn't make the connection.
When Kirsten Michelle sent me her incredible photographs of the wedding, I was so grateful to her for such beautiful images of our day. (The last two photographs are hers!) I was glad she captured such important moments. I remember cutting the cake with Mark and then jokingly holding up the sugar butterflies and having our picture taken. I STILL didn't really make the connection.
For eight years I have been looking at these two butterflies and not really thinking about them. I have appreciated how pretty they are and have thought about whether or not it was time to take them down and decided it wasn't time yet. For eight years I have semi-consciously been focusing on them. But they have been there to be focused ON. And sure enough, they appeared.
I am sure that the Universe was struggling with that one. "She wants butterflies? A blue one and a monarch? Hmmm..." But sure enough, with enough time and enough concentration, they appeared. And just like the two that I have been dutifully placing side-by-side since 2001, they were side by side; and they were beautiful.
So I hate to break it to you folks, but what you focus on appears. It may not be on purpose or in exactly the form you expect, but it appears. And if you are not clear, you might get unusual results. As for me, I have put up a few more things that I want, but this time I have been a bit more specific. I have also decided to consciously look at the images a bit more often. I don't have eight years to wait for my other dreams! But I have learned my lesson! I get it now. I am just glad that I got to learn it with wings that were on my wall and not the monkeys!
P.S. I DID IT!! I put my money where my mouth is. I sent off my first proposal package to an agent!! Fingers crossed please!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
"If you can put fear aside, you're unstoppable." - Janet Hagberg
This is the last day over at Soul Coaching. It has been an interesting month. At the beginning of the month I questioned my own ability to follow through; to show up and to trust myself with this journey, and I am proud to say that I did it. I did show up here at my desk every day. This is huge for me! I am sad about some things. I did not have time to visit everyone on the journey very much, and some days I did the bare minimum required, but I journeyed just the same! (Thank you so much to Jamie for hosting!!)
Today is about celebrating yourself and the changes you have made. I am actually surprised by the profound change that seems to have happened in me. It feels quite fresh and tender and new so I am not going to show it too much light yet, but just know that things are going to change around here! I'm feeling a shift, and that shift is moving me forward in lots of ways.
I have been sitting here for almost an hour writing and rewriting this post. I want to be eloquent and profound, but the only words that keep going through my head are, "I'm done." I keep hearing them no matter what else I try to say. I guess that is the most profound shift. I'm done. I can't explain it more than that. It's not the blog that is done, it's not me that is done, but on so many other things, I am done. It's finished. Stick a fork in me! For a long time I have been about the 'me' part of this blog - about all of my questions - and this month I have had answers. I feel like a chick ready to hatch. I am done being small and worried and unsure. There is no more time for all of that. I'm ready to embrace the 'more' part. Starting right now.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
"Remember, you are not here to play it safe. You are here to start fires." - Sera Beak
Because these two gorgeous girls are in this world, and because my friend Karen has two girls and my friend Colleen has two girls and my friend Gerb has two girls, and because I take my job as fairy godmother to Helen very seriously, I wanted to share some good GIRL STUFF.
In the past few years I have been on a real journey towards being a girl. Yes, I said girl because I never really embraced girl before, and you really need to do that before you can make the leap to woman. I was very girlie when I was small, but then something happened (school and camp happened) and I thought that being independent was the same as being tough and full of attitude. There was no room in my life for pink and soft when there was so much beer drinking to do and attitude to give, and boys to torture with my stinging wit.
But in my old age I have come to realize that there is room for all of it. There is a place for gentle and nice and feminine and that doesn't have to be mutually exclusive of strong and fierce and independent. Being a girl means being complex and complicated and full of questions and fire and femininity. By coming to terms with those things and bringing them all together, we can step into our power as women.
And hopefully by doing that, we can show other girls the way.
Women showing the way:
1. Christine Kane. She is fierce and inspiring. This is her blog, and this is a fabulous song.
2. Patti Digh. She shows you how to live deliberately. This is her blog. Her book is amazing.
3. Sera Beak. She will make you think about the Universe. A lot.
4. Sahara. This is a beautiful idea!
5. Geneen Roth. If you have EVER gone on a diet or had a bad thought about your body, find Geneen. Her books are life changing, and she also has a blog!!
6. Sabrina Ward Harrison. Who showed a lot of us it could be different.
7. Goddess Leonie. She is incredible.
And good things that are happening in this world:
Rock Camp for Girls. (This site has music!) (Anybody want to go to Ladies Rock Camp with me?) I posted this ages ago, and sometimes I just go back to watch it again!
Karen Heck, Lyn Mikel Brown and Lynn Cole.
Women for Women International.
... have you got any women to recommend or links to send? I'd love to make this list grow and grow!!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
A strange thing happened the day before we were due to start Soul Coaching. I was called into the doctor to get the results of the blood test I had had taken a week before. The blood test had come back positive for Celiac Disease (Coeliac if you are in the UK!) But the doctor told me that was I was allowed to start eating differently until I had had another test. Inside of my head I was thinking that that was okay - I could eat all of the things I would never be able to eat again and then I would be ready for going gluten-free in December. But then I started to pay attention, and I started to read up on Coeliac Disease, and I started to read Soul Coaching, and now all I can think about is getting healthy.
I have always felt like I was capable of MORE (hence the title of my blog!) - of sparkling and being a real force in the world - but I hated - HATED - myself because I couldn't seem to do the things I wanted to do. I wanted to shine, but I spent nights exhausted on the couch watching television. I wanted to dance, but I made excuses in phys. ed. to let myself sit out. I just didn't feel good. I eat really well, I take supplements, I read every health article I can get my hands on, I try to exercise, but nothing ever made me feel healthy and energetic. I thought I was just lazy. And that hurts.
But for the past few weeks alongside Soul Coaching, I have been reading the book Gluten Free Girl by Shauna James Ahern and my neck is practically hurting from all of the nodding I have been doing - it's ME! It's ALL THERE - the hospitalization for unexplained stomach pains in high school, the exhaustion, the weight, the unexplained medical symptoms of digestive problems, abdominal pain, the foggy feeling, everything!
But now I have a huge problem waiting for the second test. I know what I need to do to get healthy. I know that when I stop eating gluten I will feel BETTER. I know that my body will heal and I will know what it is like to feel great. But I can't do it and it's incredibly frustrating. Today the heading for level two in Soul Coaching is "Change your body, change your life." (178) Well I can't. I desperately want to, but I can't - yet.
It's a strange feeling to know exactly what will help and how to do it, but to not be allowed to. But in some ways I think that this time has been a gift. I think that if I had been able to start right away I would have had a much bigger grieving process. I would have wanted pizza and hamburgers and bagels and muffins. But now I have had those things and have felt rotten. Now I am ready to feel good. And feeling good will be worth far more than a toasted bagel!
I'm sure of it.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Two and a half years ago, I had an inkling for a book. I had scattered thoughts and some scribbled notes, but I couldn't get started. The book that I had in mind was so unusual that I didn't think I had any right to write it. I also didn't know where to start. But my soul was telling me the story anyway, even though I pretended that I didn't know what it was saying. Eventually my soul got tired of whispering and began to shout.
For some reason the week I began the book, I had tried meditating. It was like I could feel that something was trying to come through. I sat in my room and got very quiet, not really knowing what I was doing, but concentrating on my breath. When I came out of the meditation, I had the entire first paragraph resting in my head. I knew where to start. I wrote it down breathlessly. But the hesitation was still there - who am I to write this book?
But every time I hesitated, I would get a sign. The main character came to me with an unusual name. I didn't want to use it, but that weekend I went to Bath (and met the Gorgon in the photo above - talk about a creative fire!) and had a glaring sign that that was the name I needed to use. I kept being drawn to do things I hadn't done for ages - writing morning pages, dancing, colouring, going for walks - and in those moments, the whole book came to me loud and clear. I just needed to get quiet and get into the flow that comes from being creative.
Today in Soul Coaching, Denise talks about creativity. She says: "When you are being truly creative, time stands still, and you enter into a dimension that can carry you beyond the ordinariness of life." (156) I know this to be true. I got a whole book out of it. And this week? This week of fire and energy and creativity? It gifted me with another book. I have another bubbling idea. My advice? Get INTO being creative. Dance or colour or write or meditate or bake or do whatever it is you do that makes you lose track of time, because it is there in that moment that magic happens.
Friday, November 21, 2008
"Are you living your passion? are you following your dreams? If not, you have eight days to initiate powerful shifts in your life. Reinstate your intention - after all, miracles can happen in eight days." Soul Coaching by Denise Linn
Giggle. What a message. I have eight days to shift things in my life! That's both a joy to read and a bit of pressure!!
Today is all about love and kindness, and being quiet about it. So I am not going to write much except to give you some links of love!
1. Go here every day. Every click on every site it links to provides something for someone in need. It is all paid for by advertising.
2. They need our help very very badly.
3. So do they. Go here to read all about it!
In other good news and an attitude of gratitude, I opened my email this morning to discover I had won a beautiful photograph at Kerstin's blog. I am so excited! Her photographs are stunning! I bet you can guess which one I chose! Thank you so much Kerstin!
and in more goodness:
Nicole offered to do a reading from her Soul Coaching deck for those of us participating in the program. I leaped at the chance. I am a sucker for cards and readings! I had a tarot reading by Jamie a while back and it was great!
I had to tell Nicole my name and pick a number. This is the reading she sent me. I love it!!
Card Meaning: Break free, express yourself, and let your spirit fly! Flaunt
your stuff, dance, laugh, explore, and go beyond predicable behaviour. Be
daring. Fling your arms to the heavens in joy.
Your Soul wants you to know: You aren't here to be ordinary, but to step
beyond limitations and self-imposed boundaries. Don't allow yourself to be
trapped by convention or the expectations of others. You have the ability
to choose your life on your terms. Replace the phrase "I should" with "I
could, but I choose not to at this time." Perhaps you aren't always free to
create the exact circumstances of your life - but you're certainly able to
decide what meaning to give those situations. Select meanings that empower
you, for this is the time to break free.
Affirmations: Boundless freedom surges through me.
This has so much power for me beyond the obvious as I deal with a major shift in my life. Boy there is a lot of energy around this morning! I hope I can keep up!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Unleash yourself upon the world! - Denise Linn
During my lack of attention, the heat of the candle had begun to singe one of the feathers that I have stuck into my jar of sea glass. They are far enough above the candle that I didn't think they would be a problem, but the heat singed it just the same.
You'll forgive me, I hope, for seeing the obvious metaphor in this morning. You can't light a fire and then not pay attention. It must be something that you tend and nurture let fill you without letting it singe your wings. Lots of times I have felt full of fire. I have felt jazzed up and ready and full of beans and energy. That is often when the crash is the hardest. Fire isn't always followed by enough action, or it can also be followed by too much action that can make you burn yourself out.
Today I am going to let the energy of fire fill and inspire me. Today I am going to dance (thanks Jamie) and work on telling my story, but I am going to remember that the Skydiggers sang that "There's nothing as hot as a slow burning fire," and try to remember that there is a whole week of fire to come!
This poem has always inspired me and although I have shared it before, I thought it was perfect for today. It always makes me want to be more.
When she walks into the room,
some kind of light is coming from her head.
Even the geraniums look curious...
We're all attracted to the perfume
of fermenting joy,
we've all tried to start a fire,
and one day maybe it will blaze up on its own.
In the meantime, she is the one today among us
most able to bear the idea of her own beauty,
and when we see it, what we do is natural:
we take our burned hands
out of our pockets,
(The picture of the candle is by someone else, found here.)
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I am sitting in my office in England, thinking about the trip to the cottage that resulted in this picture. It is very early morning. I couldn't sleep, despite deep fatigue, so I got up and decided to get a little bit of work done. I can hear birds singing and sheep bleating, but other than that, it is very quiet.
I just wrote a whole post, and on the verge of hitting publish, I deleted it instead. It was another whiny, negative post that asked too many questions. I'm tired of making excuses and asking questions. I guess I got the message today after all:
Have a wonderful weekend.
P.S. I made art today!!! Inspired by this, and the tasks from yesterday I made art - but I can't get the scanner to work - you'll just have to trust me!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The first thing I have to say is: "Welcome to the world Anna! I promise to be the very best aunt I can be, and to love you unconditionally and completely." (Isn't she beautiful?! She was born on Monday night. Bliss.)
Now, back to the book:
I have been a little bit quiet over the past few days. I think that I have needed a bit of cover after several days of really digging deep. As much as I am getting from a month of Soul Coaching, I think I have also realized that intensive self-realization can be a bit too much after awhile. Sometimes I have to put in a movie and curl up with Mark.
Today was all about how you relate to the world. It's about understanding your patterns. Once again, Denise hit me right in the solar plexus. She talked about a client who had a pattern of protecting herself. The description - right down to the checking to make sure the door was locked three times - caused a click in my brain. I do that. I protect myself. And here I thought I was just uptight!
Looking back at my life, I can see absolutely no reason why I should be so afraid. I was raised with lots of love and support. Tonight, however, I watched a movie of one niece meeting the other one for the first time. Helen has also been raised with masses of love and support, but she was clearly uncomfortable in the hospital. She hates loud noises and strange places already at 2. So the question is: is it possible to grow up without fear or self-doubt? When do normal nerves and hesitancy turn into a life long pattern?
It made me think about where our patterns begin, and at what point we have to take control. I think that we can waste a lot of time worrying about why we are the way we are. I think that at some point we have to stop trying to blame teachers, parents, friends, husbands, wives, and even children for the way our lives have turned out. I think that at some point we need to see our patterns and our decisions as something that we have created - something we have control over - and do something about them.
Denise's questions today are about just that: letting go of old patterns. There is a quote I read once that went something like: "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got." I like that a lot. It puts responsibility and power right back where it matters, and where there is potential for real change.
"Today, be aware of the way that you relate to the world around you, and notice if there are any recurring emotional patterns." (99) I'm going to snuggle in now and see if I can't spot any other patterns in my life and begin to do what I can to gently let them go. I hope that you are able to do the same.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
1. This video that I found on Vivienne's blog. I loved it, and I completely fell in love with the song that it is set to. Po' Girl is amazing!
2. This Laini's Lady that is now for sale.
(Psst - it's my face!! Giggle!)
3. This new online course created by the remarkable Leonie.
4. This article at Wishstudio by Brandi.
5. This site is my new obsession. (Reason: I have almost been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. (Almost means that my blood tests are positive, but I have to go through another, more invasive test before they tell me officially.) I'm having some issues with it, most of which is a desire to begin living in a way that will make me FEEL BETTER, but having to wait. This blog has given me hope that I will not be left in a world of cardboard fake-bread.)
6. This post that made me take a deep breath.
7. This post - the first time a towel will make you salivate!
Have a wonderful weekend.
I have a confession to make. Last night I peeked ahead at today. I found out that today at Soul Coaching was about coming up with a mission statement. I have done this before, many times. In fact, I think I have a pretty good idea of what I am supposed to be doing with my life. I am lucky that I know, but that makes it worse that I don't always do it. Sometimes I think that angst is an addiction.
So last night after I brushed my teeth, I looked into the mirror and asked myself what I was doing here. I smiled and went to bed. This morning when I sat down and looked at today's challenges, I remembered asking myself that question and then I remembered one of my dreams. The dream was all about me trying to take a shower, so I picked up my dream book intending to look up 'shower.' As I sat down with the book in my hands, it immediately fell open to the entry for 'washing.' The first word out of my mouth was 'whoa.' I would never have looked up washing, as I assumed the dream was about a shower. (I LOVE it when the universe interferes!)
Well, once again, I got the same message I always get when I ask the universe for a message: get back to working on my book. 'Washing' suggests the cleansing of negative feelings such as despair or self-doubt. "Is it time to clean up your act or perhaps get started on a project you have been postponing?" Yes. Sigh. Thank you!
Later on I will be working on my mission statement, making some art, and catching up on your blogs, but right now I have to listen to the nudges of the universe. When you ask a question, your only job is to listen to the answer. I've been feeling bad about myself because I have this wonderful book I am not working on getting into the world. It's been muddying the waters around all of the other changes I am trying to make. I know I can change that. So that is what I am off to do -
What has been muddying your results? What have you been avoiding? Which page of the book would the Universe open for you?
Friday, November 07, 2008
Jamie at Soul Coaching, said, "I am making room for magic!" And it gave me goosebumps. Big ones. I have been FULL of goosebumps over the past few days. I had goosebumps as I sat and watched from a different country as a nation and a world began to hope again. I got goosebumps as I watched an interview with a 107 year old man. He is one of only 4 remaining British survivors of World War One. I got goosebumps when I realized last night that I had not turned on the television numbly, but had curled up with a book instead. I got goosebumps when I re-read the comments from my last few posts and from the posts of some of the other participants on this journey. I got goosebumps when I signed in at work with my married name for the first time. I got goosebumps when I realized that as Air Week comes to a close, I can hear a near gale-force wind blowing outside of my flat. I just got goosebumps before I wrote this as I realized that I have been PAYING ATTENTION - and so have all of you! We have been paying attention to our lives in a way that is creating magic and miracles.
Today the journey is about lightening up - and I can feel it! I can feel a lightening in the air (maybe not in the gale force wind!) and in my surroundings. "With everything I release, more energy/ love/ abundance comes my way."
Today I am tackling my in boxes - all of them! Roar! What clutter are you tackling today?
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Gadzooks, she did it again! As I read through Denise Linn's book this morning, I wasn't sure that I would have anything I needed to learn. It's another day about clutter, and I thought I had learned a lot about myself as I cleaned our bedroom last night.
I have always been a girl with a lot of clutter - always. That's me in the picture, happily surrounded by books and things, sitting on the one uncluttered surface in my bedroom. I think I must have been about 3.
So if I have always been a clutter girl, then two questions come up. 1. Is it just a part of who I am and I need to realize that I am allowed to feel good about myself surrounded by things? And 2. How can I change the pattern of a lifetime and stop feeling bad that I can't seem to keep things tidy and clutter free?
But then Denise said this: "A home that matches the contours of your soul subconsciously affirms that you are completely all right exactly the way you are." And I do not feel all right exactly as I am, surrounded am I am by clutter. I love things. I love creativity and beauty and sparkle and magic. I also currently live in a land that for some reason did not used to believe in building homes with closets. So I am surrounded by things. They are everywhere. And it drains me when I walk in the door.
So why? What's with the things? How can I be myself and feel mirrored by that self in my surroundings without all of the clutter? How can I create a home that supports who I am and what I might become while clearing the things that make me happy and drain me at the same time? And most importantly, how can this little magpie get rid of things that connect her to herself and her dreams and her two-continent life, when she feels so disconnected?
I think I need to take Denise's suggestion and change the lens. Tonight when I come home from work, I will try to see my home through different eyes before I tackle another room. Maybe I should invite someone gentle over to help - giggle - anyone fancy a de-clutter?
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
When people go on about why they blog and whether or not they want to keep doing it, I hope that they just once write a post about something that feels deeply personal and scary, only to have twenty six people comment and say, "Me, TOO!" It is a wonderful thing. Working on my values yesterday I found that one of mine was 'Connection.' This blog, this community is a vital part of that!
I have written about the concept of taming before, but I thought about it again today in relation to ourselves. I tried to revisit Day Two again this morning to make a commitment to something for the next twenty six days, but I was still too scared. I am so nervous that I won't follow through. But all of your comments yesterday helped me to see that I am not alone, and that all I need to do is be a bit more gentle with myself and start fresh every day. It brings this passage from The Little Prince to mind:
“What must I do to tame you?”
“First you will sit down at a little distance from me - like that - in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me every day.” - Antoine de SaintExupery
I will use that tactic on myself. I can commit to that. Once a day I will sit down a little closer to myself and do something to earn that trust. I will sit here and work through Soul Coaching, and I will commit to clearing a little bit of clutter every day as well. Eventually I will get through the clutter and the noise and hopefully I will have tamed myself.
Day Three: The last time I cleared clutter properly, I was determined to change my life and find someone to share it with. I cleaned out all of the clutter and put a statue of two ducks in the relationship corner (Feng Shui) of my house. Six months later I had moved to England with two suitcases and was madly in love. There is powerful magic in the challenge today! I intend to clear out the financial corner of my house tonight. I'll let you know how it goes.
"There is clarity within me and around me."
Monday, November 03, 2008
(This is another painting by Emily Carr (my new muse) I thought it captured 'Air Week' perfectly!)
With that one small sentence, Denise Linn kicked my ass this morning. I've been thinking a lot about self-respect over the past few weeks. My biggest problem and barrier to my dreams is that I don't follow through with what I say I am going to do. I simply don't do it. Without going more deeply into how, I realized this week that a huge part of my problem is that I don't respect myself because I can't trust myself. If I say "from now on I am going to do _________" and then don't do it, it sets up a tea party in my head that chatters about how I never do what I say I am going to do.
The tea party then goes on to say that this is why I am still overweight and unpublished. Then when I sit down to do something like this, it begins to chatter before I have even begun: "You've never done it before, why would you do it now?" or "We'll see how long this one lasts. The Artists Way only lasted three weeks!" or "You obviously don't want it badly enough or you'd do it." Urgh. So because I don't trust myself to follow through, it becomes harder and harder to even begin.
But today, that quote by Denise Linn did kick my ass a little bit. You have to BECOME your commitment. I guess I never really got that part before. I need to live, breathe, dance, and believe my commitment. How? How do I get past those little voice in my head? How do I do it every day, even when I don't feel like it? I just need to do it - like the Nike ad says - it sounds so deliciously easy doesn't it? Just do it.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
I am so glad that today is the first day of Soul Coaching. I have so much gratitude for all of October 2008's gifts, but I am ready to get on with November. In October I got married, spent several weeks surrounded in love and family and friendship, and turned 34. October of 2008 is actually a month of enormous changes in another way too. As the month ended I discovered something that has huge implications for the rest of my life. This month will have to partly be about that. (More as I process.)
So Soul Coaching cannot come too soon! Tonight I cleared my desk and my drawers. My creating/ office space is now tidied, organized, cleansed and cleared! My brand new journal is sitting waiting for tomorrow morning, and I am quietly thinking about what is next. I have hesitated doing projects like this on line until now because I wondered whether anyone would want to read along as I worked through such personal stuff. But I have realized that what I think is so personal is often the things that people connect with the most. We are not so separate after all. Blogging has helped me get that.
So for the month of November I have:
- chosen the painting above as my inspirational image for the month. It's by the artist Emily Carr. I have chosen it because she was a trail-blazer, and was passionate about beauty and the landscape around her. I also have chosen it because images of paths get me every time and this month is about a path. I love that the totems are dotted along the route. I hope that my own has such beautiful and obvious guideposts.
- decided that I will only set one intention: I will show up. I very very rarely finish one of these books. I get sidetracked and overwhelmed. So this month I will be gentle, but I will show up. Every day. No matter what. Even if what I write is crap or I am afraid or angry or bored or uncomfortable. I may not always be HERE (this blog.) But I will show up to the page.
Wish me luck! Join us if you like!
(I haven't made any art today. I spent the day clearing space for art - my month is officially beginning tomorrow!)
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I need to explain that the re-entry I am talking about is a different thing to let-down. Let down is what happens when you have been working really hard or being really involved in something and then it is over. Let down is that cold that you get at the beginning of your vacation. Re-entry is what has to happen when for whatever reason your life has been deeply and profoundly altered. Reentry is when you get home and you don't even recognize your furniture. Re-entry is when you look at your world and wonder how it can be the same when you feel so different. Let down is a pain in the ass. Re-entry can be a real bitch.
I don't want to sound down or depressed because I'm not! I've had the most wonderful, amazing time. But at the same time, it has felt strange moving back into my life. I have experienced this feeling before. I have experienced re-entry after funerals, and after my trip to Seattle. I have experienced re-entry after summer camp and when I flew home from England the first time. All of those experiences left me feeling different on a cellular level. How do you go back to normal when you don't feel normal any more?
My systems are slowly coming back on line. I am enjoying talking about the fun of the wedding. I am looking forward to our belated honeymoon. I am looking happily towards a future as a wife. I am beginning to understand that I need to work a little harder to keep those I love closer. All of these things are making the strangeness fade. Luckily, re-entry is always followed by a landing. It isn't always where you expected to be, but you are always a little wiser, a little more grateful and a little braver. If you are lucky, you are also a lot clearer about where else you are going and how you intend to get there.
(It's my birthday on Saturday! I'll be 34 years old. This will be my first year as a wife, too. Whew! This past year has helped me get that clarity of purpose. So I think that this next one is going to be about carrying out that purpose - wish me luck!)
And because I am participating in this:
I am also going to try to do this:
Because I have a LOT to get done and a LOT to do and I am going to use these three things to focus on the things that I am determined to get done. (And because making art scares me and I want to Be Brave!) November's going to be intense!!
Oh, and P.S.... YUM!!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
This is my favorite picture of us from the wedding. It says a lot about the day that in every single picture of us we are either smiling or laughing (except some of the ones of coming down the aisle!) It was amazing! It started on Thursday night with our "fake rehearsal." It was fake because it wasn't at the place, we didn't have music, and some of the wedding party weren't even there! But it was a great night full of laughter and delicious food and loved ones.
Friday night we went up to the hotel early and went out with some of our friends who had come from out of town. (One even flew in from Manchester for the weekend!!) We went out for delicious Italian food and had cocktails and laughed all night. This was the first time ever that all of these friends had been together at once, so it was the perfect night-before evening. We could almost forget what was happening the next day.
On the wedding day, I slept in until 9:00 and was just waking up when my friend Sean knocked at the door and came in to see me. We sat on the bed and watched the Weather Network (good news!) and then the day began. Hair, make-up, 4 Teddy Grahams for lunch (see the last picture) and a lot of nerves and hairspray later, it was time! (While I was doing that, the groom, groomsmen, my parents, Mark's parents, our friends Bonnie & Alex and Ron & Elaine, my aunts and uncles and cousins, and others I am sure I have forgotten to write about here were madly decorating and carting and festooning and lighting and generally making the day one I will never forget - thank you from the bottom of my heart!)
Everything ran like clockwork until the stroke of 5:00pm when we were supposed to be walking down the aisle and my niece decided to fill her diaper. With one groomsman dispatched to tell the groom I hadn't run away, we started a little later and with a good story to tell at HER wedding!
The wedding was perfect! It was outside under the trees. My Dad walked me down the aisle and then also did the ceremony. My Mom and Oma and Mark's parents were in the front row. My sister-in-law and brother were standing up with us, as were some old friends. My friend Mike played music for us to walk up and down the aisle, and my aunt and two uncles played a beautiful song while we signed the register. We used "Union" by Robert Fulghum, and a passage from "The Velveteen Rabbit" and a piece written by Mark's sister as our readings. And a lot of the women (and one of the men) got into the English spirit of the day and wore hats. My aunt said that she kept expecting Robin Hood to come down the path behind us.
After the service, we had pictures taken and our guests had drinks and cocktails. The reception was inside this beautiful building that was made up of glass and beams. There was already grapevine and candles and we added round paper lanterns and more candles and so with the white linens, it looked like a fairyland - exactly the look I wanted!! Instead of tinking glasses to make us kiss, we gave each table of guests a challenge to complete. From the first table to do it, the reception then went completely bonkers. One aunt and uncle had to sell all of the pears at their table (the centrepieces were glass bowls filled with pears) to raise money for cancer research, another table had to construct a balloon arch, and others had to make up songs or poems about different things. It was spectacular and perfect chaos!
I must admit that it was also freezing cold. FREEZING. The challenges helped people to get warm, but stupid us had asked for salad as a starter and ice cream - ICE CREAM - crepes as desert. People were wrapped in blankets by the end of the meal, but everyone said it was one of the best weddings they have ever been to. One dear guest said she loved it - that every detail was perfect!
The speeches were heart-felt and wonderful. Everyone (particularly my brother and my parents) made me tear up. But the big tears came with Mark's speech. He won over just about every woman in the place with his words. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Just after that, my Uncle Jim (the MC) told everyone that they could go inside where it was warmer to dance. They were inside in seconds and then we danced the night away! (Largely because there wasn't anywhere to sit so people just shrugged their shoulders and danced.)
You forget sometimes how much you love people. I've not spoken much about my parents here because they are going to get another whole post to themselves. But the wedding just filled my soul to the brim with love for all of the beloved faces who were standing there smiling as I walked down the aisle. The love we were a part of that day and in the days since from those dear ones who couldn't attend or who we couldn't invite, humbles me. It was truly the best day of my life - so far!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Mark and I looked at each other on Friday and said, "What just happened?" But it was the best sort of what-just-happened I have ever had! For more than two weeks we have been going solid, and it occurred to me this morning that I needed to sit and write it down before I began to forget things. Although everyone said our wedding would be a blur, I remember everything. The only thing I don't completely remember was walking down the aisle, but that was because I was too overcome with the emotion of seeing all of those beloved faces at once to concentrate on anything in particular. Then I got to Mark and I was calm again. The part I was the most afraid of was the part that was the easiest. Looking into his eyes and saying our vows was the most natural thing in the world.
I won't go into all of the details now. Mom has just gone to pick up the pictures from our photographer (these are pictures friends took) and then I will show you how perfect my bouquet was and how I couldn't stop smiling all day. I'll tell you about having the never-ending celebration and how our family and friends outdid themselves in the 'participation' part of the wedding. I'll tell you how it was the very best day/ weekend of my life so far! I can't wait to catch up - I've missed you - we have a lot to catch up on!
Here are a few pictures. I hope you like them! So... how have YOU been?
Thursday, October 02, 2008
"For a long time, she flew only when she thought no one else was watching." - Brian Andreas
I spent a few minutes with myself this morning. I have a series of books that I call my "Anything Books." They are hard-backed, lined notebooks in different colours and I have been filling them with anything for 18 years. They are filled with quotes, cards, poems, photographs, anything that I thought was something that I wanted to keep safe.
Caught up in a swirl of wedding preparation, I have been feeling off-kilter and I didn't really appreciate why. I opened one of these books today looking for a quote and I was confronted by my self. I remember so much of putting things into these books. I remember how I felt when I glued in a picture of my grandparents or stuck in a sticker from my favorite band. The older book is written in pink or purple pen and is full of stickers and SARK quotes written in the same colours SARK used. The newer one is slightly more reserved in shades of green and black, but the pictures and cards and quotes are the same - things, people and sentiments that I have loved - and it still speaks in the same way. "Here I am, this is who I am." I didn't understand at the time that I was creating myself. I understand it now.
I realized this morning that there is one thing I have left out of the preparation. I have forgotten to spend a little bit of time with the dreaming girl that I was. Most of the romance of the day is about her after all! I am going to be sleeping alone the night before the wedding and I think that she and I will have a little date. I need to whisper in the dark and tell her that she really did find her prince charming, and that reality of him is so much better than she ever thought. I need to tell her that falling in love is easier than we thought back then, and that every mistake and choice that we cried about brought us here - and here is good. I need to tell her that thanks to her message today, I will remember that being in love is the whole point.
That's it. We're off on the wedding weekend! Love to you all, and I will see you when I am a Mrs.
Monday, September 29, 2008
"Let there be spaces in your togetherness." - Kahlil Gibran
I think about this quote that is often used at weddings and I giggle. Yesterday I needed so much 'space in our togetherness' that I went shopping - alone! Wedding prep. has gone into maximum overdrive. There has only been one real 'Bridezilla' moment, but I stand by it. Other than that, the only sign that things are a bit stressful is a small twitch in the corner of my left eye that won't go away.
I feel like I am boring you with all of the details, but blogging is about our lives and this is certainly my life right now. It's strange to be the centre of attention so much. My brother keeps saying, "Suck it up and enjoy it for the week!" So I am trying to let go and enjoy people making a fuss. I am weirded out by some things, like the train on my dress and the whole head table looking like an interview panel thing. (I've kept the train and nixed the interview panel!) But on the whole I am looking forward to The Weekend with a healthy mix of excitement and nerves.
I've been cosmically ordering a warm, sunny day, and all of the elderly people in my grandmother's building are praying for sun for us, so we're good for weather! The leaves are changing colour rapidly, the menu is set, the first song is chosen, the cake has been tasted, the dress has been fit, the tuxes (complete with top hats, canes & white gloves - HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA) are arriving, the yellow school bus is booked, the photographer has been to the site, the hotel is booked, the presents have started to arrive (VERY FUN!) and I think we are on track for the rest of the week! Now if I could just do something about the twitch in the corner of my eye...
Monday, September 22, 2008
"Is there any other paper-related preparation that needs doing?" - Mark, speaking to me last night just before I told him about one more place card.
These are our beautiful menus! Mark has made them by hand. He's also made all of our table centre-pieces and our place cards. We're moving on to order of service. If you can see in the background of this picture, our house is a disaster! We are so very prepared and so very not prepared at the same time!
I'm writing this at 6:00am because I know I will not really get another chance to write until after we are in Canada. We fly home on Wednesday. This will be followed by dress fittings, hair and make-up trials, dinners, cake tasting, flower buying, and hopefully one or two breakfasts with my parents. Mom's birthday is on the 25th (Happy Birthday Mom!) and so all-in-all it is going to be a crazy few weeks! The wedding is on the 4th of October at 5:00pm Toronto time.
I was talking to two friends last night who are coming and I got really really excited! Ever since I was a little girl I only wanted two things from my wedding day. I wanted to wear a pretty dress (check!) and I wanted to have everyone I loved in the same room. I'm wearing a lovely dress and I will have most of the people I love in one place. A few couldn't come, a few are no longer with us, and a few of you didn't fall into the "OK Meghan, you have to have MET the person in PERSON" category! - giggle - but it's a wonderful group of loved ones that will be there. I well up even now at the thought of looking out at all of those dear dear faces in one place. I'm not sure I'll be able to keep it together. But BOY am I looking forward to it!!!!!
So that's it from me until we reach Canada. (I'll try to post from there!) Give a wink in the direction of Toronto on the 4th if you think about us!
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." - Antoine de Saint Exupéry
For the past few weeks, there has been a small rabbit spending its days on the lawn at work. I work in a place that is quite busy, but this little soul comes bravely out onto the lawn and chews his way through the day. His eyes are bright and alert, his body tense, but still he sits and nibbles on the grass for hours.
Tonight as I locked up I stood and watched him for a few minutes. He knew I was there, but he was unconcerned. I slowly stepped closer, talking and whispering to him as I moved. When I was just a few feet away, we stood and looked at each other for a little while before he turned and hopped a few feet farther away. I smiled. As much as I wanted to get closer, I realized that it was safer for him to be a little bit afraid.
I stayed watched him for a little longer and a line from The Little Prince echoed through my head: "You become responsible forever for what you have tamed." I have been thinking a lot about relationships over the past few months. Getting married and creating a guest list, losing a dear friend to cancer, and making friends with people half a world away have brought up all kinds of ideas about the nature of relationships. There is another quote I love:
I don't think that we take this responsibility seriously enough. When we tame someone or something, we have a part of them with us forever. We matter to them and they matter to us. I am about to promise to love, honour and cherish someone, but at the same time we will be surrounded by people who I also love, honour and cherish. I get goosebumps when I think of how much love I will feel on that day. Then I get goosebumps when I think about all of the love I can feel every day if I just stop and pay attention.
Why do we sometimes forget something so incredible?
And he went back to meet the fox.
"Goodbye," he said.
"Goodbye," said the fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
"What is essential is invisible to the eye," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
"It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important."
"It is the time I have wasted for my rose--" said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.
"Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose . . ."
"I am responsible for my rose," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
- From The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry - read more here.
P.S. I loved this post and this post today and wanted to share!
Friday, September 12, 2008
"Thank you for all of the good things that are happening in my life right now."
I know this because this piece of paper has followed me around ever since. I don't intend to carry it with me, and I don't consciously look for it, but it follows me anyway. Through many bag packings and many moves, it has stayed in my life. Every time I find it, I wonder what it is. I unfold it, read it, smile, shake my head at its appearance, and then fold it up and put it aside again. I always expect that that will be the last time I see it. Many pieces of paper have come and gone without thought. I am forever losing things. But this piece follows me everywhere, popping up in piles at the strangest times, often in a pile where I know it wasn't before.
This morning I found it again in a pile of wedding stuff. I don't know how it got there. It wasn't there yesterday. It is tattered and worn around the edges and the paper has become soft with repeated reading. I think maybe it is trying to tell me something! I read it again, smiling at the message sent from my 18 year old self. It begins with, "I accept myself unconditionally right now." I think that when I am finished writing this, I am going to have a cup of tea and finally really listen to her. She seems to know what she's talking about. Was the reason it has stayed with me that it was waiting for my 33 year old self to get the message? Well, I finally got it, and today I am sharing some of it with you. Maybe she was writing to one of you, too.
Have a wonderful day.
(This is written exactly as it is on the page. With apologies to anyone who might have written these first - I don't know where I got them! )
"I accept myself unconditionally right now."
"Infinite spirit, give me a definite lead, reveal to me my perfect self-expression. Show me which talent I am to make use of now."
"I am intending vibrant health." (30 consecutive nights just before sleep.) ("Intend" other things at other times of the day!)
"Thank you for all of the good things that are happening in my life right now."
"Please guide me towards finding what is beautiful, whole, and genuine within myself and help me express this awareness. I ask for the grace to share my individuality with ease. Help me to know that when I do express who I am that I am making a contribution to the well being of everyone around me."
"I love and respect myself"
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you." - A.A.Milne
There are wonderful things and there are stressful things in our life right now. There are books and jobs and families and websites and money worries and the wedding all swirling around our heads at an increasing speed. Our vision has become wobbly, and it was all getting to be a bit too much for me yesterday.
That shifted this morning when I woke up and looked over at my sleeping sweetheart and I realized that I need to keep our life in perspective. No matter what else happens, all of this is about us. We have made the choice to do things a bit differently. We have made the choice to be brave and to follow our dreams. Why am I expecting that that will be easy? (We hadn't expected it all to be happening at once, however!)
What matters here is that I love him and he loves me and that we are living our lives bravely and honestly. If we can keep hold of that and use that as the lens through which we see our current situation, I think that our vision will steady and we really will live happily ever after.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Every book you read about getting published tells you how HARD it is to get published. If I read the term 'slush pile' one more time, I think I am going to be sick. Hard, hard, hard, hard, hard. I'll tell you what is hard - weeding through all of that crap and still feeling like you have a snowflake's chance you know where of getting published.
My big wall? The synopsis. Everything I read tells me something different. All I want is for my book to get out there and apparently that hinges on whether or not my synopsis catches the eye enough to make someone read further. And this, my friends, has reduced me to tears. I write this because people keep saying how excited and full of excitement for my life I seem to be. I am that, but I am also a big bundle of nerves and fears and insecurities who has written a 70,000 word novel but can't sit down to write 1,500 words about that novel. It sounds so dumb to say that this has reduced me to tears but there it is.
So I have given up for today. I am feeling sad and small and in need of a good hot shower. When it gets so hard that tears come, it's time to take a break.
P.S. Does anyone know how to write a synopsis?
Thursday, August 28, 2008
"Do something that you will remember with pride and passion until the end of your days." - Rob Brezsny
I wanted to wait to write again until I had finished my project and sent out my manuscript but today I just feel SO FULL of joy and gratitude, I just had to share it with you! Today, my story of creation does not matter as much as the creations of some other amazing inspiring women. There is something in the air right now! I believe that magic goes out into the universe whenever someone puts something of themselves out there, and right now there just seems to be so much magic!!
First, I need to direct you to my dear friend Letha's site. She is one of the most incredible women I have ever met. Denise has written a beautiful tribute here that gives you some idea of how amazing Letha is. Her project is called Wrap Up Africa. I've already been and bought a gorgeous skirt from them. I shake my head every time I think of the goodness that Letha and her partners are bringing into the world. I am in awe and so honoured to be her friend. Please go there and buy a skirt if you can. Every little bit helps.
Next, I want to send you to buy an amazing book! (I've 'borrowed' this picture from Denise!) A few years ago I was an avid reader of a couple of blogs. One in particular inspired me to reach out and grab what I wanted from my life. I knew that I wanted to be as honest and real a writer as she was. It was she that inspired me to start my own blog. From that decision my life was changed forever. I have deep, wide, rich friendships with women all over the world and I have become a better, braver writer. When I saw that she was bravely creating and publishing her own book I knew that it was going to be a real gift to the world. My beautiful copy arrived today, smelling of playdough and whispering beautiful secrets. It's absolutely wonderful. I recommend it!
I also wanted to draw your attention to Jessie's site. Jessie is the brains behind the Be Brave project. As she has gone through her own brave journey, Jessie's life has been changed by a few meetings with incredible souls. I go to her site every day to see what else she has been up to. She is an inspiration and a true friend. Please go and see what she is doing now.
There is more! I can also tell you how BRAVE my friend Susannah is being by changing her life and moving to a whole new city! Or how this dear soul is moving COUNTRIES! Or that Dar's words continue to move me in wonderful ways, or that I am purple with envy that I won't be able to go to this feisty tribal council, or that this blog is a new find that I am loving more and more every day, or that this blog stretches me in ways I never expect.
Thank you for the gifts of your words, your art, your thoughts, your inspiration and your bravery. What an amazing world we are living in my friends! I'll be back with news of me on Monday.
Have a delicious weekend.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Other than that, things are busy! Our wedding is in less than seven weeks! SEVEN! Our website is days from completion, comments from readers of my manuscript have been incredible, and I've started a new project. It all seems to be happening at once!
I was thinking about all of this movement today. 2 1/2 years ago I started this blog. I made connections with lots of incredible women, and it makes me grin wide to see how far we have all come. This blog has opened up my relationships with family and friends, it has given me the courage to finish my book, and it has brought kindred spirits into my life. What a strange gift for a public diary to give. I am so grateful!! That's really all I came to say today!
Now it's off to work again, but not before I've found the Canadian men's 8 rowers winning gold on YouTube. I heard they all sang the national anthem on the podium - WELL DONE gents! I love it when athletes do that!!
For more inspiration!
... this delicious article by Leonie.
... and Jamie is hosting another Circe's Circle - she is one of my very first blog friends. She has changed SO MUCH of her life since then and she constantly inspires me!!
... and Ruby is back!!
... and my secret pre-wedding pleasure! (Gulp. It's SO SOON.)
... and this wonderful site is worth bookmarking!
now back to work for me... see you in September!!
Thursday, July 31, 2008
For the past few weeks I have felt quiet. With so much going on, I expected to feel excitable and frantic, but I don't. I feel quiet. I have three projects that need my energy and a wedding to plan and a friend to grieve, so I think I have pulled all of my energy into myself.
I am past the help of my books. I am past the help of my blog. I am afraid I realized this morning that I JUST NEED TO GET THIS STUFF DONE. Be brave is about doing something every day that scares you. Well, it scares me to stop procrastinating and just get these projects into the world. So that is what I am doing. I am taking a few weeks to pull my energy in and use it where it will help me the most.
Have a delicious, wonderful, divine, soul-full August. Keep me posted on you and wish me luck!