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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Happy Pre-Ride Thoughts

I got this little inspiration from my friend Terry (Thanks!).

So cute. So awesome. (especially the out-takes) - "Yeah but can Cavendish do this?" (@markcavendish) from swhitfield on Vimeo.

To Celebrate Life

To celebrate life is really just to celebrate for the sake of celebrating.

I try to do this at least once a year, regardless of what is going on in my life. Today marks the start of what has affectionately come to be known as the “Birthday Festival”. I love birthdays, because I love life. But it is my general feeling that expectations only lead to disappointment. So – why just have one day to try and cram in a bunch of activities, meals with loved ones, visitations? Why not just take the week – slow things down, lighten my schedule and savor some quality time with each of my friends, with the gorgeous summery weather, and with myself…. I’ve worked hard lately to make life a little simpler. I’m enjoying some down-time which feels a bit like the inevitable calm before the storm as I muddle my way through some very big decisions and some very important changes/transitions. While I’m not quite certain yet what the outcome will be of this time of transition, one thing I DO know is that I have been ready for change, ridiculously ready, for quite a while. It’s just deciding which road to take that’s got me all a-fluster.

So this years Birthday Festival kicked off with a much needed massage from Joanna Nicoletta at Advanced Health here in Fonthill (Thank you Dad!).
What an incredible therapist. This complicated lil’ body of mine has had A LOT of bodywork, and Joanna remains my absolute favorite pair of hands. Her clinic is located in the same building as our local flower shop (JJ Florists – another of my favorite places), and is just like a peaceful welcoming oasis when you step through the doors. Joanna’s fearless hands and incredible Presence creates release in me that isn’t just physical. I often feel like I’m lulled into a very sweet state of perfect surrender when she works on me. Her ability to relieve so much of my physical strain that comes from being active and managing complicated spinal issues, is often such a relief that I will sometimes cry, involuntarily, with the release. It’s sweet. Very sweet indeed. I feel like a million bucks.

So – Joanna – thank you. You, and the work you so selflessly do, are extraordinary.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Worry Is The Devil

Did you know that over 80% of the things we worry about never come to pass?

Seems kinda silly to spend so much time ruminating about things that are nothing more than fanciful projections of the mind. Nothing more than tall tales created by a fearful, bored or lonely ego searching for attention and meaning.

Two of the most profound words I've ever heard are:
Be Present.
Just be now. With this breath. This moment.

Everything else is an illusion, a story of the mind - either from the past or the future - neither of which actually exist. So being present for me makes my whole Universe consist of this hotel room in Toronto, the cucumber tomato salad I'm eating with salmon and feta cheese, and the cheesy Jennifer Aniston movie I've got on the tube right now. Which interestingly just reminded me that "Life should be a little crazy. Otherwise it's just a bunch of Thursdays strung together." Kevin Costner

That's it. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just this breath, a little too much garlic in my salad, this moment. That is it. Everything else has yet to present itself. So all I can do is dream... I mean I could worry and fret and stew. But, really, what would be the point?

Motivation Vs. Inspiration

"Motivation is an external, temporary high that pushes you forward. Inspiration is a sustainable internal glow which pulls you forward."
~ Thomas Leonard

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Fruitbaskets & Laundry Fairies

Today was the Best Day Ever.

And thank God because I have been feelin' pretty LOOOOWW this last little while with just maybe a little too much of the grey dreary days.

The Best Day Ever has actually been slowly percolating, getting better and better, for a few days now. It started a couple days ago when I went for a nice lil' bike ride with some folks I've never ridden with before. It was so great to get out. And, luckily, I didn't get dropped (too badly) on the hills, it didn't rain and I didn't get a flat. So overall - quite a delightful lil' ride.

Add to that a nice lil' Saturday afternoon teaching Partner Yoga and delightful unexpected lunch date with a friend. Then the next day my mom stops by with toilet paper. I mean - how sweet is that?! Only a mom... How unbelievably thoughtful. It was one of those - "Aaaaaaawwwww...I love you ma, thanks!" kinda moments. It really is the little things that just seem to make my heart swell, each and every time. It's all about the little things.

Which leads me to today, best day ever.
There are certain people in your life who just seem to show up at precisely the right moments. Like angels that always seem to know somehow, by some secret special power, just what we need. I was blessed with one such person who visited me this morning for coffee and cake. I mean, you know it's going to be a fantastic day when you start it with a little cake ;) It was so awesome to catch up with them before heading to the office for another long day.

And,doesn't my friend arrive at the door with a fruit basket! A fruit basket! How wonderful is that? I've never gotten a fruit basket before! I always thought fruit baskets were reserved for extra special occasions or something. I just felt so loved. I mean, seriously - what a sweet and incredibly thoughtful thing it is to offer someone a fruit basket. It was just tremendous. And as I'm putting the bounty of fruit away I discover that interspersed amidst the oranges and apples and grapes and tangerines and pears (and kiwis!) and bananas...was individually wrapped chocolates and candies! I mean, it just gets better and better. And then right at the very bottom of the basket was a perfectly ripened mango.Totally perfect. The last time I had fresh mango was when I was in Central America. So a whole lot of good loving feelings just started to flood through me. Despite the dreary day outside I was feeling so good inside that it didn't even matter.

And it's funny how the Universe tends to bring us more of what we focus on isn't it?
Because the whole rest of the day was just smooth, and happy and light. I met some fascinating and wonderful people today at work and drove home at the end of it all feeling quite content and satisfied. Quite content indeed.

When about half way home it hits me. Like a lightning bolt.
Sh*t! I forgot about my laundry!
I live in an apartment building so the laundry room is shared with a few other people. I had totally forgotten that I left a whole bunch of clothes in one of the dryers. Nice clothes. My favorite clothes. I grimaced at the thought of my favorite lululemon hoodie and my lucky towel that I might not ever see again. Because, by then, who knows how many people would have just helped themselves to whatever they found. Ugh.
(insert horrible sinking feeling).

But to my utter delight I arrived at the laundry room to find that some sweet well meaning Laundry Fairy had taken the time to fold ALL my laundry!Each and every sock, all my shirts, my favorite hoody, my towels - even my green froggie pajama pants. Everything. Neatly folded and piled. I nearly wept. I can't honestly remember the last time someone folded my laundry.'s the little things. It's just so sweet. I left all the laundry piled neatly in my room just because I like seeing it there - all sweet and piled.

So I went down and left a little note on the bulletin board in the laundry room that reads:
Thank You to the sweet person who folded my made my day."

Best Day Ever. Thank you Universe. For all of it.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Honor and Harmony

Another grey and cold and rainy morning. Ugh. Yucky.
But someone just told me that "You can make today whatever you want."
So.....ok.....I will then.

Monday, 2 May 2011

An Eye For An Eye

I awoke filled with mixed emotions this morning.

The news late last night was that Osama bin Laden had been found and that President Obama had ordered, and succeeded with, his assassination. This terrible man has killed thousands, with his proclaimed “war on America” and was the idiot behind the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks in NYC. He has been eluding capture for over a decade now and was finally killed in Pakistan by United States military forces. President Obama has said that “justice has been served.” And that this is a “great victory” for America.

The images of the Sept 11 suicide bombings of the Twin Towers are still etched, horribly, in many of our minds. The aftershock can still be felt in waves of fear and currents of grief whenever we are reminded of that horrible day and, I’m sure, whenever New Yorkers pass by Ground Zero, the site of the bombings. There’s no doubt that this man succeeded in terrorizing a nation. President Obama has said: “Bin Laden’s demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity. The US was not at war with Islam, but terrorists.”

Part of me agrees with this. I feel for the people who lost their families, their loved ones. I am sick at the thought of the suffering that this monster has created and the paralyzing fear that has been felt across the continent as a result of his actions. Yet another part of me is even more worried. When does it end?! Does it ever end??!

Bin Laden’s assassination is not going to end this ‘war’. My prediction is that it’s going to make things even worse. All of bin Laden’s followers, which there are many, are now going to be outraged. There will be an uprising and the only outcome of such a thing is more anger, more terrorizing, more fighting. It seems like an endless cycle. Bin Laden kills our innocent civilian people, Obama kills bin Laden. Now bin Laden’s followers are going to be seeking justice and fueled by even more rage and hatred towards America so they start killing more innocent civilians. So once they retaliate, Obama then orders more retaliation from the American side. It just goes on and on. And that makes me very sad.

US officials have released this statement this morning: “Given the uncertainty and volatility of the current situation, US citizens in areas where events could cause anti-American violence are strongly urged to limit their travel outside of their homes and hotels and avoid mass gatherings and demonstrations.”

My heart is heavy. I feel nervous about what this may lead to.
Yet I also believe in the power of prayer and I know how powerful thoughts can be. So I think the most important thing that anyone can do right now is send thoughts of peace and hold an image of safety, security and protection around our soldiers and politicians, the innocent civilian citizens, our loved ones and around our own nation. Now, more than ever, I think we all have a responsibility to practice peace – in our families, our communities and in our relationships.

Everything in the Universe exists in opposites. It’s the eternal natural Yin/Yang – with night & day, male & female, darkness & light. Without war and fighting, we would never truly know peace and security. So, in one sense, it is a necessary evil. In another sense – most of our jobs are not to be in the front lines of such extremes. So, what we can do is become stewards of love, calm, forgiveness and generosity at the level of our own families and within our own towns, our own communities. The reality of war is not going to go away anytime soon. But, within our own lives, we can each make commitments to release our negativity, our anger and our own need for revenge. Instead, we can practice placing our thoughts on peace and aligning our actions with the higher ideals of harmony, unity and reconciliation. This is the way to create change.

First within our own minds and hearts, then within our relationships, then within our nations. It begins, always, with ourselves. This is how we create change. This is how we create a better future for our children. This is how we heal.