Friday I’m in love -W.I.S.E. Project 2016-Journal Notes

It is really freeing to be able to be open and honest in a relationship and to be all in, to know that you are worthy of love and therefore you can give it freely as well.

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My W.I.S.E. principles for the month of may are warmth, intimacy, serenity and enrich.

I feel like I should get a sticker and a high five for not just chooosing these principles but for taking them seriously and learning so much.

Warmth is that good feeling you get by sharing and being kind to others. I have done well, except to bad drivers and the plumber that showed up at my work with just a flashlight to fix a leak and asked me what I wanted  him to do. I myself am not a plumber nor do I claim to know anything about plumbing but I will say that waving a flashlight around a well lit room doesn’t seem like the way to fix a leak. But all in all I have had some wonderfully warm encounters so far this month.

Intimacy is something I really wanted to work on. My husband and I have been together for 18 years and we have had a huge transition with him working away for 8 years and now being home every night. There is a huge difference in the dynamics of a relationship that is lived in stolen moments than one that you struggle to keep connected even though you are together everyday. I am focusing on relationship studies and have had a million ‘aha’ moments. It is really freeing to be able to be open and honest in a relationship and to be all in, to know that you are worthy of love and therefore you can give it freely as well. I had an incredible epiphany this month about the power of vulnerability and I discovered a Researcher/Storyteller named Brene Brown who does a wonderful Ted Talk on the subject. It is life changing.

Serenity-I have continued to go floating and I am continuing to meditate. I try to add five mindful minutes each day and I have found a wonderful guided meditation that is calming and helps to centre me.

Enrich-thinking about, working on and creating happiness has been very enriching. I love Robert Waldingers Research on What makes a good life, I am studying relationships and emotions as well as meditation which has led me to research Budhism.  I signed up for Brene Browns CourageWorks ecourse on the Anatomy of Trust. I have seen her Super Soul Sunday talk on Trust and it was fantastic. I put together an actual binder and a journal about The W.I.S.E. Project but my purse, desk and bedside table are full of hand scribbled notes I have jotted down.

I feel good. There were some trying times this month and I feel like I have learned and grown from them. I feel that knowing how I want to feel and recognizing what it takes to make me feel that way has and will continue to have a huge impact on my life.

As you continue your mindful and happy journey this month don’t forget to visit the new Facebbok page https://m.facebook.com/WISE-Project-236710606685815/

It is a place where we can share wisdom, happy thoughts and interact. I am sharing a couple of links below to some amazing content that has changed my life.

Remember that happiness doesn’t find us, we need to create it and choose it, every moment of everyday. Be W.I.S.E. friends.

Brene Brown on Vulnerability

Robert Waldinger on What makes a good life.

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If you don’t know me by now- W.I.S.E. Project 2016

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The W.I.S.E. Project is a journey to self discovery and fulfillment. I am just like you, yet different. I decided to tell you some totally useless information about me and then you will know me better. You may love me, totally dislike me or suggest I seek help. Regardless, if we are going to journey together we should have some dirt on each other in case things go awry along the way!

1.) I love the sound and the smell of rain, if it is accompanied by rolling thunder and lightning lights up the sky I am enthralled. Stormy nights make me sleep like a baby!

2.) I love eggs. Boiled, fried, poached, scrambled or omelets. Eggs are my go to, any day, any time food.

3.) If I have red lipstick on and a flower in my hair I am determined to have a wonderful day!

4.) I love movies that evoke feeling. If they don’t make me cry, scream in anger or recoil in fear then it is not a good movie. If I can do all of that in one movie then it will be my favorite.

5.) I cannot be held responsible for anything I say or do when I am behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. I am a nice person until I am driving and you disregard rules and courtesy. 98% of my swearing takes place in my vehicle.

6.) I like the feeling of being happy. I recognize very quickly when I am not and I have to try very hard to get back to that feeling. Sometimes I have to give myself a time-out!

7.) I love road trips but I also like coffee. It is impossible to combine the two and still cover the miles needed to get where we are going! I am not a lot of fun when I need to pee!!

8.) Sometimes I am afraid to be totally myself because the world has a certain amount of power over me. I try to serve my authenticity but when challenges get to great I tend to panic. As above, sometimes a time-out is needed.

9.) I take a five minutes a day to meditate and be mindful. It is hard. I set a timer. It does get easier and it is helping me to cut through mental distraction and build my attention span.

10.) I used to envy people. Now I admire them.

11.) I used to have this driving need to make a difference somehow. I would spend countless hours being curious and trying to figure out what my purpose was. I found that my greatest contribution could be in changing myself and in learning to be happier, grateful and more mindful I am making a difference in my life and the lives of those I love.

12.) I think identity is something we build on. At 17 I thought I knew everything, including who I was. I am glad that I am not the same person today that I was a 17.  I think the painful experiences that I have had in the last 42 years are the times that I have fought the most to seek my identity, with each lesson, with each trauma, with each survival; parts of my identity emerged.

13.) I sometimes yell at everyone in my house when I am frustrated.

14.) I use laughter to deal with hard situations because someone once said it was the best medicine.

15.) I lose several corkscrews in a month and find them in weird places like my underwear drawer. I love wine 😉

16.) If someone is not nice to my children then I wouldn’t have them around, I feel the same way about my pets.

17.) Sometimes I crave a good cuddle but it is on my terms only. When I want to cuddle and how long I want to cuddle. I have unspoken cuddle rules! I know it sounds selfish and it is not the intimacy of it that I struggle with, it is just that sometimes it sends me into a claustrophobic panic and others it feels like my body has burst into flames and I am burning alive. If it is my way and my terms it can be the sweetest and most calming experience.

18.) I am fascinated by nerds. Most nerds are incredibly smart and though they often lack in social skills; one on one they can be so charming and engaging. I love the way their minds work and they can be really exceptional friends. I had a really good friend years ago that I would describe as the “nerd” of our group. At 20 he was abundantly smart and was enthusiastic about things other than drink specials and wing night. After a night of tequila shots and bad decision making we somehow ended up alone and he educated me in unspeakable ways. He was brilliant and attentive in the bedroom and other rooms. In fact, just to prove it wasn’t the tequila talking we engaged in many more crazy times until he moved across the country to further his education. I would listen to him for hours on end talking to me about amazing things that I wasn’t smart enough to understand, he would ponder, adjust his glasses and thoughtfully explain to me everything I never wanted to know and then when it was least expected he would literally rip my clothes off and ravish me. It could be at the bathroom sink, in the kitchen…in the middle of a math equation. It was so incredibly hot. I thought he was my best kept secret but many monthes later I found out that at least a couple of my friends thought they had the same secret. No regrets 😆

19.) * sometimes my mind wanders mid thought. No nerds were harmed in the making of this blog post!

 
20.) One of the most valuable things I have learned to do is to say NO.

Now you  know me a bit. I would love to get to know you. Tell me a totally random and useless fact about you.

 

 

 

 

 

Empty Places-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

Our lives are busy, full of constant movement! Sometimes the most luxurious thing I can think of is sitting still. As part of my W.I.S.E. principles this month I am trying to educate myself on the art of sitting still, the silent movement and meditation. I wasn’t aware that there was such a thing as Black Hole Resorts where people give up hundreds of dollars a day to give up their cell phones and disconnect with the world and reconnect with themselves. Indulging in digital disconnect. It really shows you where we are as a society.

We are thrill seekers, adventure junkies, craving exhilaration and feeling alive when sometimes what we really need is to sit still for just a moment. To breath. To live.

So much of our lives take place inside our head, in memories, imagination, speculation and interpretation. The adventures and thrills we live are best re-lived when we take a moment to pause and recall them.

Never have we lived in a time that we were afforded so many time saving devices, but I know that for me these time saving devices are costing me valuable time. I would be afraid to know just how much mindless time I spend scrolling through my smartphone and all of my social media.  We live in a time where we are blessed to be able to be in contact with people all over the world but we are losing contact with ourselves. We are not making wise use of the technology that has been handed to us and therefore we are feeling more disconnected than ever.

I don’t want to misquote here so this is more of an interpretation than anything; my daughter’s music teacher was explaining the purpose of a pause (or break) in the song my daughter was practicing. Besides giving the singer time for air, a well placed thoughtful pause gives a song its beauty because empty spaces give our imagination room to breath. Emily Zinger I hope I have understood that correctly.

I had a very quick lunch with my husband in my office and now I am going to take my last ten minutes before our “Beer Tasting” afternoon meeting. (yup my job is hard) to find some beauty in the empty spaces.

“Make an empty space in any corner of your mind and creativity will immediately fill it!” – Dee Hock

Be W.I.S.E. friends and chat soon.

xo

Michelle

Enough. W.I.S.E. Project 2016

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The couch was a rich shade of red earth brown distressed leather. It was soft to the touch with classic rolled arms and a button tufted back, reminiscent of days gone by. The length was beyond generous and you could immediately imagine yourself kicking off your heels and curling up by the warm fire for a night cap. The room was littered with navy wingbacks adorned with fuzzy pillows in hipster fabrics but neutral shades. An eclectic mix of nautical and old world accessories cohabiting on tables of different sizes and shapes, some sleek and glass, others a chunky chocolate brown wood.

In Burnaby’s Metrotown district it feels more like Greater Vancouver’s SoMa meets Shaughnessy , hipster meets posh, Spumante meets Cristal.

There was a time when I would never have imagined myself sitting alone in an upscale hotel lounge by myself, sipping a nice red wine by the glass and feeling comfortable in my own skin. There were times it would have been more likely for me to walk by the lounge en-route to my hotel room, wistfully thinking what a quaint place it was but never going in alone.

I would never have been confident enough. I would have needed someone to accompany me.

Not this day.

This day I sat sipping on an easy drinking house red, in front of a warm fire while rain drizzled against the tall glass pane windows and I finally felt like I was enough.

It was more than OK to enjoy my own company.

Nobody tells you about the nights you will spend alone enveloped in sadness, waiting for someone to complete you. Wrapped up in covers and wreaking of guilt, shame and inadequacy. Even if they told you, you would never have believed that where you were cracked wide open would one day be the spots where you were filled with light. That you would have amazing adventures and endless laughter, the ocean would soothe your soul and the mountains would bring you a peace you never thought possible. People would love you, all of you.

All of your thoughts and perfect imperfections.

More importantly you would love yourself.

They would compliment you…but not complete you. You complete you. You are ENOUGH. You always were.

The Sound of Silence-W.I.S.E Project 2016

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We are almost at the end of March and it hasn’t all been perfect but I have embraced every bit of it and to be honest most of it was damn good. I hope yours was too.

Through the W.I.S.E. Project I am continuing to learn a great deal about myself. I worked on my well-being this month,  not just physically but mentally. I have been learning to recognize the things that make me feel “well” and happy. I gratefully embrace the moments that I feel pure joy.  I have learned to focus more on the here and now, being mindful and grateful for the blessings I have in my life right now. I am still learning to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the present moment without out stressing  about the past or the future. It is a task that needs daily of practice but it really does put things into perspective.

I have continued Floating or “therapy” as I like to call it. Each time I float I try to go in with an open mind, hoping to achieve an inner peace that I know is possible when your mind, body and soul are in sync. I recommend Floating to anyone who is interested in mindfulness and wants to free their mind and enjoy the pure bliss of feeling whole. It really is a challenge to shut down the thousands of browser tabs your mind keeps open and buffering at any given time and welcome the freedom of just being, instead of doing, but it is really worth it.

I am striving to learn more ways to practice being content in the moment without constantly having to do. I still struggle to enjoy quiet moments without feeling like I have to be “doing” The bigger challenge is to spend more quiet time, without the distraction of TV and electronics to fill in the blanks. It is hard to sit still or even read a book without playing with my phone every two minutes. (A work in progress)

I know that with work and a busy family that it will be up to me to commit to creating quiet moments for myself and continue to make my well-being a priority.

As I mentioned at the end of February sometimes things look differently at the end of them month then you had planned and that is OK. To be happy and mindful we have to learn to eliminate the unreal expectations that we often have. People who are able to live free of expectations are happier because they are not constantly disappointed when situations don’t turn up the way they presumed they would.

This month my husband came home after working away for 10 weeks. My focus shifted and for the last week everything has changed including my eating habits. I have had more wine but less water, less sleep but more laughs, less focus but more fun. I am grateful for my family and sometimes we eat cheeseburgers and stay up way to late…that is just the way it is.

My April W.I.S.E. Principles are:

Wisdom-At age 42 I feel I have gained lot of wisdom, I want to reflect on the things that I have learned over the years and I what I once believed to be true as opposed to what I now believe to be true. I want to continue to gain knowledge that will help me to lead a better life and understand how the wisdom has helped me evolve and be happier.

Integrity– I think being an honest person,  having good morals, and being considered someone of good character is an admirable thing and I want to continue to live my live with intention while trying to be sincere and truthful.

Sincerity-Being virtuous and speaking and acting truly about your feelings, thoughts and desires, acting and communicating earnestly is a wonderful character trait but I know that a lot of people struggle to live and speak their truth. This month I will get very real about my thoughts, feelings, struggles and triumphs.

Education– The capacity to learn is a true gift. As humans we have very few true instincts. Most of what we know has been learned. Willingness to continue to learn is a powerful choice, a choice that I intend to continue to make every single day. There is a world of knowledge out there and I want lots of it. I have never been numbers smart but I have a fair bit of wisdom and  knowledge. Learning promotes understanding and I seek to bring more satisfaction and joy to my life by actively seeking opportunities to learn and understand.

I am still so excited about Robert Waldingers Ted Talk about Living a Good Life. Robert is a Harvard psychiatrist, Zen priest, and psychoanalyst. He directs the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which is possibly the longest study of adult life ever done. About 60 of the original 724 men are still alive, still participating in the study, most of them in their 90s. They are now beginning to study the more than 2,000 Baby Boomer sons and daughters of these men. I am currently reading George E. Vaillant’s book Triumphs of Experience. George was a director of the study as well.

From this study, one important lesson about what makes for the good life  kept emerging time and time again.

“Simply put, good relationships keep us happy and healthy.”  

Robert Waldinger 

 

You can listen to Dr. Waldinger’s facinating talk HERE.

It was enlightening to me. I have always told my kids that you don’t need a bunch of friends, just a couple of good ones. It validates for me how important it is to focus on making our important relationships good one’s. People will come and go from our life, the people that are meant to be there always will be. It makes sence to focus our energy and time on those relationships, and making sure that they are good for us.

He also made me pause and think about the things that that really matter to me and how important it is to prioritize living a life that is rich and fulfilling instead of a life that is frantic and busy. It strikes me how we flock to cities with bright lights, traffic and noice, we fill our lives with electronics and the next best thing, we fill our calendars up with borrowed time and what we long for more than anything else is to get away from it all, to be free of it. To go to a quiet place and be still.

I have been so inspired in fact that I am committing to go on a silent retreat for three days in September. I will be going by myself and unplugging from the world for three days. No phone, internet, cable or radio. I am already scared but equally excited!!

On my walk tonight I was thinking that maybe I would text or call Kirk and the kids once a day but I know that defeats the whole purpose and it is only three days out of my life. I also decided that taking the dogs would be cheating too.

I will be taking wine and chocolate, to do otherwise would be irresponsible.

Could you totally unplug from the world for three days? Can I ?

“Silence is sometimes the best answer”

-Dalai Lama