Don’t believe me? Watch this:
From the wisdom of Christiane Northrup and Oprah. How can you go wrong?
From the wisdom of Christiane Northrup and Oprah. How can you go wrong?
You glorious morning.
I have just heard the season’s first Robin song.
My windows are open wide to let in the cold air just so I can hear you more clearly.
Sing away sweet traveller.
You are always a most welcome guest.
It is true.
Spring is upon us. At long last.
When it feels all hope is lost – that winter’s bitter grasp will not let go –
your presence lifts us.
Your song melts our heart.
The end is near.
Hello Spring and all your glory.
Despite the layers of clothing worn –
Long johns, scarves and mitts,
Despite the rosy flesh and ears
From wintry wind’s harsh kiss,
Despite the mounds of roadside dirt
Where encrusted snow is knotted,
Despite each pole, the base of which,
Is brightly yellow dotted,
Despite the rising plumes of white
From frosty-face and sewer-bars,
Despite the clear blue skies above
with wind-chills straight from Mars,
February plays its part,
For each month has its story.
Canadians embrace them all,
And cherish each one’s glory.
Regardless of the cold alerts,
And broken water mains,
We’ll fish and skate and drive our cars,
With tires wrapped in chains.
“It’s merely winter in Canada”
We boast with pride and shout.
When really what we’re thinking is,
“Ten more days, then Feb. Get the F’n Hell Out!
It’s almost unimaginable that The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not include the right for its citizens to live in a healthy environment.
What’s really happening in Canada?
Share with all your Canadian friends. With elections looming in Canada, it’s time we held our politicians accountable and make the environment a top topic in the campaigns.
I recently watched the documentary, Mile… Mile & a Half – A Journey Along the John Muir Trail. It tracks the journey of five friends who embark on a 211 mile hike from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney in California. But these aren’t just any average friends. Each is an artist; two are cinematographers, one is a still photographer, one is a location sound recordist, and one is a camera man.
The documentary combines their skills to capture the beauty and sounds of this spectacular wilderness. But believe me, it’s not a typical nature film. It’s also a film about friends – their spirit, their perseverance but mostly their humour and camaraderie. And it’s about the people they meet and ‘collect’ along the way.
Well worth watching. I hope you make the time to enjoy it. (Psst…it’s available on iTunes & Netflix).
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” ~John Muir
So…winter’s here again in my part of the world which normally, for me, means three+ months of hibernation, cozied up inside, snuggled under a blanket, hot chocolate in hand (with marshmallows, of course!), enjoying the snow and cold through my living room window. Cold outside? Is it? I hadn’t noticed.
Not this year.
This year I plan to embrace winter and enjoy its offerings.
And I’ve convinced a few friends to do so too. Mwa ha ha!
Here is our list of potential activities.
We’re not the youngest of bucks either. 50+ is our demographic.
What’s the saying? You’re only as old as feel? (Kinda depends on the body part you’re talking about.)
Here’s my tally so far:
(I admit to missing a few days, but on others I’ve walked up to 3 hours) When did I begin? Mid October – and still doing it!
And then I added skating…
When I was a kid, I used to skate a LOT. (You can read more about that here.)
And then I became a parent…
stooping over holding up your toddler while balancing on extremely thin blades yourself is not easy on the back! (This was pre-‘learn-to-skate-with-handy-dandy-bars-the-kid-pushes-around-the-rink-themselves‘ days.)
Did I mention the toddler did NOT, under any circumstances – even bribery! – want to learn to skate and hence rag-dolled her body the entire time while wailing from the extreme torture she was being asked to endure? (Result: Added parental back strain from lifting and holding up the weight of said floppy potato sack while stooping over and balancing on extremely thin blades.)
Guess what? Staying inside with hot chocolate, warm and cozy under a blanket won out. (Ok, we did go tobogganing from time to time but skating dropped off the repertoire for a number of years, never really making a come-back with the exception of only a few semi-successful attempts when peer-pressure was added to the mix.)
Hence, I lost practice too. (That kid is now 22.) And life and age has made me wary of hurting my back. Plus years of less-than-consistant exercise hasn’t helped.
But hey! That’s life. If you don’t move it, you lose it.
So this year, I’m moving it.
Today I got my skates sharpened. That was the easy part.
It was public skating time at the rink. Should I go? By myself? Nah, I should wait and go with my friends. But there aren’t many people..why not? ..oh, all right. So I went.
Holy cow those blades are thin! How did I ever stand on them?
Just trying to walk across the rubberized floor was hard. My ankles were wobbling. My knees felt weak.
I felt like a giraffe lumbering along, a giant body on thin legs, knobby knees feeling like they were going to collapse under me with me every step, ankles bending from side to side and all culminating down upon those frickin’ extremely thin blades!
Who invented this sport?! What’s wrong with sliding about in your boots?
Ok. I can do this.
I let an eager kid and his dad go ahead of me through the gates.
Let the gazelles go ahead. The giraffe can wait.
I was glad to see there were no hyenas on the ice — you know who I mean, those ‘tween boys who like to prey on the weak and work in packs chasing each other around the rink, circling and taunting and coming ever-so-close, trying to make you fall so they can laugh and point.
Luckily the plains were calm today.
There was one other giraffe on the ice – any hyenas would prey on him first for he, as it turned out, was weaker than I.
I won’t go into every detail but suffice it to say the start was definitely slow and shaky. Tightening my laces helped a bit with the ankle wobble. And where the h*ll are those learn-to-skate-handy-dandy-bars-the-kids-push-around-the-rink-themselves things?! I want one!
I gradually gained confidence with each stride. The more I focussed on the fear of falling, the fear of hurting my back, the more difficultly I had.
I let go of the fear and breathed into the action. Looking ahead, I took it one push at a time – ‘If I can walk, I can skate’, I told myself. ‘Glide, glide, glide.’ I was doing it!
And then I made the mistake of trying to perfect my technique – WAY too soon for that nonsense.
I stepped, then… wobble, wobble, twist, bend, wobble – first right, then left, then around, then back, then forth – my arms outstretched waving non-synchronized giant circles in the air. I can’t even imagine what sort of face I was making. I only know that my eyes couldn’t have gotten any bigger. I was trying so fiercely not to fall!
And I didn’t!! I stayed erect! Shaken and stirred but with composure regained, I hoped no-one saw the graceful ballet. The rink guard skated by and looked politely over, a slight smirk on her teenage face as she adeptly slid past. I laughed imagining the site she had just taken in from behind.
Crisis averted, I returned to the basics gaining confidence, calm and speed — yes, I did feel a breeze on my face, even if ever so slight.
Shins aching from the strangulation I had inflicted desperate to brace my ankles and make my skate boots one with my feet and from the lack of flex denied by those blades, I decided to call it a day while I was ahead.
Total ice time: 15 minutes, approximately. Not bad – one minute for every year absent.
I’m definitely going to have to build up to this.
So what did I learn by lacing up my skates after 15+ years?
Embrace your giraffe-ness, especially when you begin something new.
Personally, if I am destined to stay a giraffe, then that’s ok with me. Did you know:
That sounds pretty good to me. I’ll try to be the best darn giraffe that I can and if I’m destined to become something else, then I’ll strive to be the best of that too.
For now, I am a proud Ice-Giraffe!
― Robert T. Kiyosaki
I wanted to be sure you all heard the news. Carol Tice is opening up the Freelance Writer’s Den TOMORROW, Thursday December 18th, to people on her wait-list ONLY! The Den will be open for a short time then will lock again until March 2015. If you’ve been whispering to yourself about becoming a freelance writer, then you owe it to yourself to hop on over there and check it out. I have a link on the right and have more info on my Sharing The Love page but bottom-line, you have to be on the waiting list to get the invitation to join.
Thought you may want to know asap.
Love and hugs. ♥
Stories we read as children stay with us as we grow and they shape how we see the world. And that can be a problem.
In today’s Bright-Side-of-the-Web, I bring you novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk entitled: The Danger of a Single Story.
A beautiful story-teller herself, Chimamanda eloquently relates her life experiences related to her encounters with the single story.
If you enjoyed this TED Talk, below is a link to four more inspiring talks about the importance of educating girls.
Don’t you just LOVE TED!
Let’s expand our stories! 4 more TED links here: http://www.ted.com/playlists/193/the_importance_of_educating_gi
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns,
or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
― Abraham Lincoln
Learn from mistakes or be consumed by them.
Forgive misgivings or harbor resentments.
Look on the bright-side or seek the worst.
Words are funny little things too.
Words can evoke an emotion or project an attitude.
That’s why words can hurt and emails can be misconstrued.
As I pondered my choices of attitude and words, I felt the name of this blog didn’t really convey my feelings accurately any more.
Why did I feel I was struggling to stay positive?
Because I was pushing against the negative.
We struggle when there’s a fight. When we feel we aren’t being heard.
What happens if we stop struggling?
The resistance is no longer there.
We surrender to what is out of our control.
I can only choose how I look at things, how I react, how I feel.
And I’ve realized one thing for sure –
Positivity is a choice.
So rather than Wrestle and Struggle, I will Embrace and Choose.
Welcome to the next generation of my blog!
Choosing To Stay Positive in a World of Negativity.
It may seem like a small change. A tweak in language. A waste of time even.
But to me it is a shift in attitude, in perspective, in feeling.
You may wonder why I have chosen, yes chosen, to keep ‘world of negativity’ if I am so geared toward the feeling of positivity. That is because I feel we are so bombarded by negative media and messages.
And although I have no control over that, what I do have control over is what I choose to subject myself to and what I choose to put out into this world.
What can you expect?
I will continue to post about
What you will see more of, however, are stories about:
I admit that these stories may not always, in fact may not often, portray a positive situation but they will be stories that I feel not enough people are aware of.
They are realities of our world that we must face and do something about sooner than later.
I’m hoping that by learning about them, you will feel empowered to effect change.
Once aware of a problem, we can make educated choices thereby achieving (hopefully) a positive result.
Awareness = Education.
Education = Informed Choices
Informed Choices = Empowerment
Empowerment = Positive Change
That is my hope.
That is my intention.
I want this to be a place where you can come to feel uplifted, inspired, educated and driven to make a positive difference in the world.
Where you too can Embrace and Choose.
So rejoice, because thorn bushes are chock-full of fragrant roses.
Are you with me?
I was secondary caregiver to my mother whose Alzheimer’s disease was progressing more rapidly than any of us had expected, and certainly had hoped.
I was primary relief for my father who was shouldering the brunt of the daily exhaustion, frustration and heart-ache of living with a loved-one with Alzheimer’s.
I was living in the suburbs, trying to maintain an aging house and yard.
I was working hard to grow my business while also working part-time in a career path I had no interest in, but it paid some bills.
And I was trying to balance my own family life and all that entails on a daily basis.
I was stressed, I was tired – ok, exhausted.
Mostly I felt alone. My mom, the one I knew at least, my compass, my champion, my sounding board, my support, my friend had left me.
Flash-forward one year and all that has changed.
My mother seems content and is physically healthy in a nursing home surrounded by angels who attend to her daily and nightly needs; the stress and constant worry lifted from our weary shoulders.
Don’t get me wrong – we still worry – but we know she is safe and well cared-for. And what more can we ask for her, knowing that we could not provide the same level of care ourselves.
I have moved to the city and down-sized to an apartment. I don’t miss my house or my excess possessions. In fact, I am still donating things weekly, anxious to pare down to just the essentials (and a wee bit more – it is nice to have a few luxuries, but only if I have space to store them!)
I am walking to shops instead of driving everywhere.
I am living close to theatres and our world-renowned symphony and film festival planning evenings out instead of in being numbed by the television.
And I am gearing my business toward a path that I know will be fulfilling.
So here are the 5 lessons I’ve learned over this past year that you can use too:
1. Ask For Help.
Try as we might, we could not provide for my mother as we wanted to and especially as she needed. We called on in-home care until that option was exhausted. When the phone rang and my dad asked me to come over to help him, I ran, because I knew if he was asking, he was reaching a breaking point. (Asking for help is not something that comes easily in our family.)
Maybe my mom would still be in a nursing home, but not with the timing she and we required and I shudder to think of the many scenarios that could have unfolded if we had soldiered on, trying to manage by ourselves.
2. Accept Help.
Sounds obvious that if you ‘ask for help’ you naturally ‘accept help’, but they really are two separate things.
As hard as asking for help is – and if you are not used to asking, believe me, it is hard, very hard – sometimes accepting help is equally or more difficult, especially when it is offered unsolicited.
Often our friends, family and colleagues recognize well before we do that we are struggling and could use a hand.
When help is offered, step back and pause and try to stifle your pride.
Ignore the “I can do it”, “I’m fine” “I’m managing” voice that so many of us listen to.
Even if you only allow them to do something small or easy, it is one less thing for you to worry about. Then accepting help the next time it’s offered may be just a tiny bit easier for you.
There are some things that are simply out of our control. So surrender to them instead of fighting against them, wishing and hoping that things were different.
Accept that this is the way it is.
We could not stop, halt or reverse my mother’s disease progression no matter how much we wished we could. We had to surrender ourselves to the facts and do what was best for her, taking ourselves out of the equation.
We can only control our own actions so we acted in her best interests.
Surrender can bring grief. Let yourself grieve. You’ve been fighting the no-win battle.
Surrender. Release. Breathe. Accept. And move on from this new place.
It is from this place that I realize my sisters and I are providing the same for my mother that she for so many years provided for us. We are now her compass, her champion, her advocate, her support, her friends – and we’re good at it since we had the best teacher.
4. Look forward
Funny that ‘looking forward’ appears on a list of lessons learned by looking backward, but I learned that by looking forward and envisioning a different possibility for myself, my life is now following a new trajectory – one that feels supportive and right for me.
Living life through the rear-view mirror harbors regrets.
You look at opportunities passed-by. Forks in the road you could have traversed. I don’t want to live with regrets.
Looking forward allows for planning and intention. For me, those are two crucial components in achieving my goals.
And I know that the future means I will have to say goodbye to my mother once again. (I think having to say goodbye twice is the hardest part for the family of Alzheimer’s sufferers.) But until then, she is still a part of our lives and we love her just as much. Passing on is a fact of life for us all. I shall be grateful for the time we’ve had but continue to look forward to other happiness ahead – she would want that.
5. See how far you’ve come.
Contradictory to #4, looking backward can be extremely helpful IF you don’t live there.
Periodically turn around and see where you were six months ago, or a year ago, of five years ago.
Celebrate your achievements.
Recognize your champions – even drop them a card of thanks.
Be grateful for the help you accepted along the way.
Then turn around and set your course for the future.
Yes, a lot has changed for me over the past year but what has remained consistent is my positive outlook.
I have realized that positivity isn’t a character trait.
Positivity is a choice.
I choose to look on the bright-side.
I choose to find the good in people.
I choose to look forward more than back.
And when I do look back, I look for the lessons I’ve learned and the distance I’ve travelled.
Change brings momentum.
That is why I’m excited to announce that in the next day or two (technical challenges considered), the name of this blog will be changing.
I hope you come back to see where I’m taking it.
Because with you, the journey is much more fun.