I’ll keep your memory vague-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

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I love memories. They are powerful. I think memories would be one of the most difficult things to ever have to give up .

Memories for me are not just about people I have met or places I have been but sometimes it is a feeling the memory arouses.

I have this special place that I like to go and I always wish I could capture the feeling of that place, that feeling of being connected, wholehearted and deeply and madly free. Memories, like feelings are sometimes fleeting, fading as quickly as they came. Others are enduring and they survive our greatest attempts to exile them.

Memories can warm you, like a roaring cabin fire on a dreadfully cold February day. They can recapture a time, a place, or a feeling, and envelope you in a delightfully toasty embrace.
Unfortunately just as quickly they can tear apart your insides, and rip open old wounds as if you swallowed a bucket of rusty razor blades.

Ironically bad memories come to us with greater intensity than pleasant ones because the memory is not about a place or a person as much as it is about the feelings the memory evokes. Sadly, feelings of hurt, anger, heartbreak and hopelessness can be crippling, even years later.

I told you just recently how excited I am to be in such a good and warm place in my marriage. That wasn’t always the case. Like a lot of couples, just because we have always felt like we were meant to be together doesn’t mean that it has been an easy road.

The other night in a conversation with a friend my husband brought up something that surprised me. I was upset but tried to brush it off and suceeded for a short time. It seemed out of the blue to me and I was a bit shocked because it obviously came from a place of pain and I most definititely missed the part of the conversation that made the timing relevant.

The next day I had an appointment for a ninety minute float at the Floatique, to melt away stress and clear my mind. About 60 minutes in I had an aha moment of sorts. The thing about floating and sensory deprivation is that once you have cleared you mind and relaxed sometimes things that have been mired in the mud of stress and noise pop into your brain and you get it immediately. It’s mental clarity. I had that moment and it was a comfort initially, feeling like I had found the answer to an equation.

That response was short lived however. The emotional response that I had to the memories that came up that day hit me square in the face the next morning. I was catapulted to a time of sadness and uncertainty in my marriage. I tried to refocus. I tried several times to no avail as tears that I tried desperately to hold in spilled out of the corner of my eyes. It wasn’t the memory of the time, the place, the people or even the events, it was undeniably the feelings. I fiercely wished for an override button to bring me back but it wasn’t possible. I think the only thing worse than living through those feelings the first time is living through them again and again.

A lesson I have learned from doing the W.I.S.E. project is how important it is to live in the present. The past is gone, I can’t change it, I have this moment, this very one. I can’t have yesterday and I am not promised tomorrow or next week. I have now. I knew I didn’t want to feel that pain again, I knew better than to dwell on it but I also know that our emotional memories are sometimes cautions.

Have you ever had a drink of sour milk? If you have you remember it and you never want to drink it again. This memory stays in the back of your mind and cautions you. You check the date on the carton, you smell the milk if it is close to expiry, you are vigilant about it.

I feel like that memory, that moment… those feelings; were a caution of sorts. Reminding me of our indomitable spirit, our incredible love and our valiant vulnerability. Reminding us to keep moving forward. There will always be another hurtle, another roadblock to stumble over, another fork in the road that we will have to face together and forge on.

Memories can be a holding tank of your greatest pain but they can also be a place of peace, of passion and of solace. I have learned that memories will come and go like the wind. I get to decide which memories I give power to. Some I may hold unto longer than others, feel their soothing warmth like hot sun on my face on a July day. The feel of my lips swollen from my very first kiss, the joy of falling in love, the soothing embrace of my children. The sound of the ocean, the soaring heights of the mountains, the feel of summer rain, those are the feelings I will hang unto.

Other memories may hit me hard and fast when I least expect it, bringing feelings of fear and sadness. I will let the wind carry them away just as fast.

“Memories are made of peculiar stuff, elusive and yet compelling, powerful and fleet. You cannot trust your reminiscences, and yet there is no realty except the one we remember…”

~Klaus Mann

Be. W.I.S.E. friends.

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Take on me-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

Photo credit: Louie Schwartzberg
Photo credit: Louie Schwartzberg

Beauty and seduction are nature’s tools for survival because we protect what we love. ~ Louie Schwartzberg

You may have noticed that a lot of my blog titles are also the titles of classic songs. Yes this is on purpose. I love music and usually the title is something that just pops in my head very quickly. Take on me from the Norwegian band Aha is out of the 1985 vault. That is how I feel today, telling the universe to Take me on, because I am happy and nothing that happens today is going to change that.

Often when I write to you I have these A-ha moments and yesterday I said that I was once told that you will be what you think of most of the time and I always wanted to be happy. In seeking out those opportunities to create happiness every moment of every day it changes your entire focus. It doesn’t mean that I am never sad or angry but it means I know what happiness feels like and though I experience sadness  like everyone else I no longer dwell on it. In the dictionary dwelling is described as a place of residence. Do not dwell in a place of sadness and anger. These are places you visit quickly and leave.

Once again this  months W.I.S.E. Principles are WOW, incredible, stimulate and enthusiasm.

I found just the thing today that was expressive and awe-inspiring, it encouraged further interest and activity and I intensely and eagerly enjoyed. Not bad for day two of June.

Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.

~Louie Schwartzberg

I want to share it with you and I am asking you to take ten thoughtful minutes and watch this. It will stimulate your brain, bring beauty to your eyes and calm over your entire being. If it doesn’t you are cold and dead inside and I cannot help you. Not that I can claim to help you anyway, I am not a doctor. As a regular person giving advice to another regular person here is my prescription for joy today. You’re welcome!!

Red Red Wine-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

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This morning I found my crumpled up paper that I had handwritten the entire years W.I.S.E. principles on back in December and discovered that June’s principles are WOW, Incredible, Stimulate and Enthusiasm. I had my first WOW moment around 3 am when I got up to use the washroom and noticed through groggy, half open eyes that my underwear were covered in red wine stains. I was initially confused and then I had a moment where I whispered to myself “WOW bitch, time to get your shit together!”

I am pretty sure that when I set out in December that was not the type of WOW moments I had intended to have upon entering the sixth month of this journey.

In all seriousness though, before my family thinks that I have turned into Chelsey Handler with a blog, I had a rough couple of “lady-time’ days and I had given myself a time out in the rec room with fuzzy blankets, Crave TV and wine. I discovered on my couch-side table that I had three bottles of wine with a glass to a glass and a half each in them because apparently I can never finish what I started. I thought it would be best to drink them before they evaporated and at some point I forgot that I didn’t have three hands and spilled wine all over me while adjusting my blankets. The couch is leather and my pants were black so I grabbed some Kleenex and put minimal effort into the clean-up, poured another glass and put it out of my mind entirely until the witching hour when I discovered that I looked like I just left a college frat party instead of the comfort of my bed.

All things considered it gave me a “WOW’ moment early in the month, an incredible laugh, it stimulated my imagination and I was wanted to enthusiastically recall the story for all of you. So I have used all of my June W.I.S.E. principles in one day so yay for me. I am going to celebrate with ice cream and call it a month!

I am happy to report that I am feeling much better today. I actually put on real clothes and lipstick for work which admittedly was not the case for the first two days of the week. That is in the past though, lets leave it there.

May’s W.I.S.E. principles (warmth, intimacy, serenity and enrich) have changed my life. I discovered so much about myself and relationships,took time to myself to recharge and refuel and discover the power of vulnerability. I have enriched my life immensely with the books and talks by the fabulous Brene Brown. I am currently reading Daring Greatly and taking her CourageWorks e-course on the anatomy of trust. I know I mentioned this in a previous post but I am clearly telling you again for your own good. Give her a listen, her Ted talk on Vulnerability was life changing for me and I am not even being a little bit dramatic, it really has profoundly changed me and the way I see myself.

I am loving the W.I.S.E Projects Facebook page. If you haven’t followed please check it out. It is just a place to share inspiring messages and you can interact with me there.

Visit me on Facebook

Let’s be wowed this month, whether it be by kindness or the beauty of nature or by knowledge, lets embrace the moments that make us say “WOW’, let’s seek the “incredible” and find it in everyday things, laughter, stories, art and music. Lets stimulate our minds and our bodies with good news, great messages, learning, good food and activity, and let’s face each new day with spirited enthusiasm, living, loving and learning moment to moment, day by day! This is a pivotal turning point for the W.I.S.E. Project, when we complete June’s principles we will be at the halfway mark of the 2016 W.I.S.E. Project. I don’t know about you but I feel great!!

I have learned so many great things lately but one thing that I wanted to share that I was once told is that you will be what you think of most of the time. when I started this project I just wanted to be happy…and I am.

Think about happiness, seek it, create it, enjoy it!

Be W.I.S.E. friends.

 

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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Tainted Love-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

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Photo Credit : gem fountain/flickr

 

When you are on a journey to be more mindful and happy you will undoubtedly learn a lot about yourself and if you thought you were perfect you will find out very quickly that you are not. Your relationships will inevitably be held under a microscope and if you allow it and are open to growth and honesty this can be a good thing.

I knew from the beginning of this project that I wanted to  look at my relationship. I have been with my husband for 18 years so obviously my relationship with him is one of the most important things in my life. Some of what I have learned has been helpful in other important relationships too, ones with friends and family. If people are important to you it makes sense to want to build stronger and healthier relationships with them.

This month one of the principles I am working on is intimacy. It seems a shame to have spent 18 years with someone without achieving total intimacy with them but I think intimacy is something that you should continue to work on as you grow and change. Seeking improvements in our relationships keeps them healthy and keeps us interested.  Neuroscience shows that the act of seeking itself, rather than the goals we realize, is key to satisfaction.

The innate human desire to seek means that we can never truly feel that every desire and wish has been met. There will never be an end to the to-do list, future goals and plans, the things we want to achieve and see. But the fact that we don’t have everything we want is exactly what makes life so fulfilling. ~ Onward Ho

I think it is impossible to achieve true intimacy without deeply exploring ourselves and examining our behaviors, our thoughts and feelings  as well as seeking our identity and being genuinely curious about ourselves and our partners (friends, family etc).

What I learned very quickly was that pride has no place in an intimate relationship. I would most definitely have once described myself as prideful. I would have held a sparkly, flashing sign that obnoxiously displayed the word PRIDE…boldly and proudly.

For years I thought being prideful was something to be proud of, to me, the notion had a positive connotation. I have learned that being vulnerable (which I always associated with being weak) has been much better for me. Being open and accepting about my own weaknesses is something I was really never willing to do. It was my pride that told me I always had to be right, to get the last word, to win the argument, to have my feelings recognized above all else. By elevating myself that way it made it difficult for people to connect with me on an intimate level. Vulnerability is how we show trust in others and without trust intimacy is unattainable.

I didn’t want to trust. Trust is scary. If you trust people you give them the power to hurt you. I had trusted before and I wasn’t going to make that mistake again! Once bitten, twice shy. What if I did trust though? Was I not also giving people permission to love me? To see me, all of me, not just the filtered parts of my life I show to the world but my true deep self? Would this courage to be myself; “perfectly imperfect’ mean that my connections with people would be unequivocally genuine?

Humility and vulnerability affords us the confidence to be our authentic self. Confidence is that attractive element of pride, but pride can be destructive forcing us to try to uphold an image of  ourselves and our relationships that doesn’t exist. I am not perfect, my relationships are not perfect but I want them to be real and not tainted by the allure of pride and the soul crushing one-dimensional box that crowds you into.

Emotions are a funny thing and very hard to control. They are a natural state of mind derived from our circumstances, our moods and our relationships with others. Unfortunately you cannot pick and choose what feelings you choose to feel. I used to think my pride would protect me from getting hurt and feeling horrible emotions but I was also missing out on a lot of good feelings that come from embracing the uncertainty of vulnerability. Loving with my whole heart, without the promise of what tomorrow would bring protected me only from joy and that powerful connection you have with another when you have the courage to be tender, knowing I am worthy of love and willing to give mine freely, without conditions.

This has been an ‘AHA’ moment for me indeed, a surrendering of sorts. Seizing the certain reality of uncertainty and being ok with it. Loving another person means that sometimes you will get hurt and your heart might get broken a thousand times. That means a thousand times yet get to experience the joy of falling in love with that person all over again…or starting over knowing in your heart that you gave everything you had!

I am human and flawed, I was enchanted by the idea of living pridefully but being true to myself, admitting my mistakes and being willing to compromise, process and move on has made me feel a whole lot better about myself and my most important relationships. This doesn’t mean absolving people of doing their part in a relationship but I think how something looks to you is much more important than how the world sees it.

 

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Be W.I.S.E. friends and as you continue to journey mind fully through your days remember the principles for May are Warmth, Intimacy, Serenity and Enrich.

Chat soon xo