Life in the Fast Lane-W.I.S.E. Project 2017 #tenacioustuesday

 

Saturday afternoon as I padded around the little cabin in my bathrobe, a leftover cheddar smokie drizzled with mustard and rolled up in a napkin in one hand and a Krispy Creme donut in the other I felt content. I unabashedly slept in, waking to roll over, stretch out and sleep again on repeat. It seemed like it had been forever since I had been able to do that and I wasn’t going to ruin it by feeling guilty. I happily had no responsibilities except to relax.

I had gone to visit my husband out of town and meet his work crew. He convinced me to stay an extra night but in the interim I had a whole day to myself to do as I wished. I was in the middle of nowhere so there wasn’t a whole lot to fill my time so I decided to just slow down and enjoy the quiet.

I was watching a Ted Talk with Carl Honoré about his bestselling book In Praise of Slow, about the slow movement. Carl explores the idea that if we actually slow down, in our speed obsessed society, we can actually accomplish more, be happier and create greater success.

Our culture of speed takes a toll on every aspect of our lives; living in the fast lane is damaging to our health, our diets, our well being, our communities and our relationships.  When we live our lives in fast forward, we are missing some of the most important things.

“Everybody these days wants to know how to slow down, but they want to know how to learn to slow down very quickly!” ~Carl Honoré

In the last couple of years since I started the W.I.S.E. Project one of my greatest challenges and desires was to be more mindful and learn to live in the moment. My entire life needed a complete overhaul to learn to live in the present moment instead of speeding through to the next. I learned that I wasn’t really connecting to myself and to the world around me, I was literally racing against time to accomplish everything I could possibly get done in a day. It made me ill, unhappy and detached. I longed to have deeper, richer and stronger relationships and wanted to take an active role in my own well being and pursue activities that I was passionate about but the truth was that I didn’t have time. To be clearer, and more honest; I didn’t make time and I equated a great deal of my self worth with how much I could do and how much I could achieve in a short amount of time.

The message of ‘less is more’ has many meanings and can seep into several areas of our lives. We collect things, more and more things that don’t matter; that clutter our lives and fill voids. We subscribe to the notion that time is money and we race against the clock, busying our lives and barely taking the time to just breath.

I do believe it is possible to slow down but it is an undertaking that requires careful thought and an honest desire for change.

“There is more to life than increasing it’s speed.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Personally, one of my greatest tools in my battle against time and practicing mindfulness has been meditation. A daily meditation practice has allowed me to achieve something that I have always longed for; a strong and resilient mind among the chaos that is my life. I have discovered the luxuriousness that is silence and I crave more and more quiet and unhurried moments to ease my burdens and feed my soul.

Being still can seem strange at first. Most of us run on autopilot and we are trained to constantly be doing. For me, I often have to overcome the guilt that I should be doing something. Slowing down is healthy, silence is golden.

The World Health Organization has identified noise pollution as a global health hazard affecting both developing and developed nations. The impact includes hearing impairment, sleep disturbance, mental-health effects, hypertension and increased blood pressure. People surrounded by noise are often in constant states of stress, which can degrade their immune systems.

Slowing down and taking the time to embrace a quieter and yet more fulfilling existence is a healthy escape from the everyday that can be life changing for you and your loved ones.

Do you think your life could benefit from learning to slow down?

How do you find moments of calm in your busy life?

What do you value above all else in your life?

 

Don’t Worry Be Happy -W.I.S.E. Project 2017 #TenaciousTuesday

I recall a time not so long ago that I ridiculed people who read self-help books. I cannot pinpoint when and how I became enthralled with the wildly popular genre but in the past several years about 90% of my reading has been dedicated to memoirs and self-improvement. I take courses and workshops and online boot camps dedicated to understanding myself better and reaping more joy from the world around me.

I went from So What to Don’t Worry Be Happy on the musical scale of life.

When I initially started the W.I.S.E. Project I was going through a period of uncertainty and unexplained sadness and though I was going through the motions I wasn’t living a life that was bringing me a great deal of happiness. I made some changes right away in my life by being more mindful and aware which lead to me doing a relationship study and exploring the connection between our emotions and our actions. I made a conscious effort to try to control what I search and see online and to make choosing happiness and gratitude a priority every moment of every day.

I still get sad, angry, emotional, bitter and annoyed but I am much more aware of the cause of these feelings and I know that my actions in those moments of distress truly matter. I believe it was Brené Brown that first said, “You cannot selectively numb emotion.” What she meant by that is if we numb the bad emotions in hopes that we will never experience pain or anger we will also numb those delightful feelings of happiness and joy that we want to feel as well. It would be like taking a brilliantly colored rainbow and putting a bleak filter on it, making it dismal and uninteresting. It still passes for a rainbow but it it isn’t vivid and gleaming.

I think we all want the same basic things from life, we all want to live a happy and fulfilling life, but I respect that we all follow a different path to get there.

Newly “Happy” people are like people who were very successful on a diet or that just found Jesus.  They are excited and they want to help you have the same experience. The problem with that is that we are all individuals with different thoughts, feelings, beliefs and challenges, what works for one may not be a “one size fits all” fix.

In the past month, I have encountered the same thing repeatedly relating to the happiness experience and I thank my husband for encouraging me to look at things in a new way, especially in those cases that relate to our teenage daughters. I was leaning too far into the “don’t worry be happy” approach to guidance which gives very little regard to the vast emotions that we; as humans, experience daily.

Though I still wholeheartedly believe that gratitude breeds abundance and happiness is a choice, sometimes shitty things happen to us and we have every right to feel shitty about them. Telling someone who is hurting to “get over it” or to look on the bright side” is probably not the best way to be supportive. We experience feelings for a reason and they deserve to be acknowledged so that we can keep moving through life making the very best choices we can in the moment.

We are hardwired for struggle, if we respond to our pain, our sadness, our fears, we are admitting that our feelings are real and that they deserve our attention. We cannot overcome that which we refuse to acknowledge.

There has been a hopeful shift in the way that I relate to my teenage daughters. By acknowledging their fears and their pain instead of quickly dismissing it by telling them it won’t matter in twenty years or that they need to get over it, I have observed the emergence of their own coping mechanisms. My husband reminded me to think back to when I was a teenager and how things that may not matter to me now were a very big deal. It was a huge eye opener, and so effective to put myself in their shoes, at their age for just a moment. They are assured that their feelings have substance and that pain has a beginning, a middle and an end. I am seeing them accepting their fate and recognizing the steps they need to take to move through their difficult emotions, without holding unto the bad energy or passing it along to others. As a parent, it is very satisfying to watch their character reveal itself.

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I was quite annoyed the other week as I was discussing a situation with some friends and one proceeded to tell me how I felt and how I should feel about the circumstances. I thought that is was presumptuous to tell me how to feel. It gave me a moment of pause to consider if I have been guilty of the same thing.

There is a great deal of people in the world who wrap themselves in pain and anger and live their entire lives blanketed in misery. Unlike those people, people that are willing to experience the emotions that visit them, to identify their cause and travel through their struggles, hanging on to the lessons only; are probably some of the happiest and most intelligent people I know.

Diminishing and disregarding the feelings of another does not make us a shining example of anything. Even though we may think me may mean well, in our attempts to help we may be unwittingly devaluing their emotions.

One of the society’s biggest problems is that we listen only to respond. Sometimes people just want us to listen, not to tell them how to feel or how to fix their lives, they just need us to listen.

“Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.”
― Roy T. Bennett

Bucket of Fucks-W.I.S.E. Project 2017 Tenacious Tuesday

DISCLAIMER- I apologize in advance for the use of the word fuck, I am struggling to find another word that can be used as a noun, verb, adjective, an interjection or an adverb. If it bothers you, you can replace with the word flower or meatloaf.

“Now, while not giving a fuck may seem simple on the surface, it’s a whole new bag of burritos under the hood. I don’t even know what that sentence means, but I don’t give a fuck. A bag of burritos sounds awesome, so let’s just go with it.” ~Mark Manson

One of the most valuable pieces of advice I was ever given was to give up all my expectations of people. It took me a very long time to get behind that advice, the thought was foreign to me. I was heavily into volunteering at the time and I expected everyone to have the same level of commitment that I did, and because that didn’t happen often, I allowed it to cause me a great deal of stress. When I learned to stop expecting things of people it was a step in the right direction, I stopped taking it personally when people didn’t step up or follow through. Eventually I decided to move on to other things myself and albeit that was initially a difficult decision. When you put your heart into something and dedicate countless hours to a cause it is hard to walk the other way and not look back. That was the day I decided not to give a fuck. Too many fucks had been given and I was simply out of fucks to give.

I teetered through life with my bucket of fucks, giving fucks to things that really didn’t deserve a fuck. I gave a fuck if the cashier at the grocery store was rude, I threw another fuck at the driver that cut me off in traffic, I was handing out fucks to strangers and events that in the grand scheme of my life didn’t matter all. One day I found myself scraping the empty bottom of my bucket of fucks. I had given out fucks like they grew on trees, here a fuck, there a fuck…everywhere I am tossing a fuck, fuck!

I had one fuck left to give. It turns out fucks don’t grow on trees and if someone didn’t throw a fuck my way, I was going to be fuck-less!!

Simply not giving a fuck at all, ever, is apathetic, and that type of indifference is reserved for people that are lazy and uninspired. However, it is absolutely okay to not give a fuck about every little thing. It is fine to cache our fucks for things that are important, like family, friends and wine.

Younger me gave a fuck about everything and everyone. I was a people pleaser, I wanted to be liked, I gave a fuck about what people thought of me, what they said about me, whether they thought I was smart or funny or they liked my hair. I had a ton of fucks to give and I was handing them out all over town like I was that stranger with candy that your parents warned you about.

Age and maturity has taught me to be selective with the fucks I give. It is a work in progress but I find that I am certain of my identity, surer of myself, and I able to reserve my energy to give a fuck, only when it is important.

I went through this period of uncertainty not so long ago where I really struggled with who I was and how to be happy. I had it in my head that I wasn’t enough, that I was meant to do more with my life and I desperately wanted to have some sort of skill that would make that happen. After some soul searching I realized that I am never going to be a National Geographic Photographer or a Pulitzer Prize winner. I am not going to heal people or co-host a show with Ellen. I am OK with it. I am OK with being who I am and where I am in my life and as I sail through the days with my dwindling bucket of fucks I realize that it is alright not to give a fuck about every little thing. I am enough. I have everything I need and I am happy not giving a fuck a lot of the time!

It is not easy. There are days when I want to give a fuck about everything.  It gets tiring though and I find that at my age, the more fucks I give out, the less fucks I can dedicate to things that really deserve my time and energy. My goal is not to simply “not” give a fuck at all but to learn to redirect my fucks to the right people and things.

“The point is that fucks have to be earned and then invested wisely. Fucks are cultivated like a beautiful fucking garden, where if you fuck shit up and the fucks get fucked, then you’ve fucking fucked your fucks all the fuck up.” ~Mark Manson

I have come to realize that when I am giving way too many fucks to insignificant things, even things that bother me like the toilet paper not being changed, the drive through attendant’s lack of enthusiasm or whether there is toast crumbs in the butter, I am lacking something in my life, something that I genuinely give a fuck about.

Sometimes I am genuinely enthusiastic about so many things that I struggle with giving a fuck to everything , it’s like a big ol fuckstorm, blowing fucks all over the place. When the wind dies down I know that I need to gather up my fucks and put them back into my bucket of fucks and restrict my fuck giving to the things that matter the most to me because handing out fucks like they are mini chocolate bars at Halloween is not only tiring, it keeps me from offering up a fuck to the most important things.

If you are able to achieve the art of giving your fucks out selectively you will have learned a skill that takes others decades to accomplish. Like your favorite little black dress hanging in the back of the closet for the most special of occasions, your fucks to; must sometimes sit on the shelf, in wait until the time is right.

 

Do you struggle with giving a fuck?

Do you give too many fucks or not enough?

Do you give a fuck about trivial things?

Do you think there is a balance between giving a fuck and not giving a fuck?

 

If you want to learn more on the subject I highly recommend The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

Related : Shit Shit Shit

Round and round-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

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I am just going to sit here for five minutes, if you talk to me please know that I am not listening

I know I keep saying it but I really love fall. I am just as sad as anyone when summer comes to an end, mostly because I know that the bitter cold of winter is right around the corner.

Fall I can appreciate. I like the cooler mornings and comfortable temperatures for sleeping in the evening; I love cardigans, homemade soup and hot drinks. I like the way the trees huddle together showing off their colors, proudly boasting stunning shades of gold, orange and red, and lightly dusting the landscape with a layer upon layer of vibrant color. My shade of lipstick changes, my clothes change, and my choice in foods change but the biggest change of all, one that I can never quite prepare for is the change in my sleep patterns.

Changes to temperature, the amount of sunlight we take in per day, atmospheric pressure, humidity and precipitation influence us in many ways, both positive and negative. For the last three weeks I have been struggling to get up and going but once I do I am happy to enjoy the rewards of a crisp autumn day. I feel grateful and fulfilled and I sail through my work days with plans to be productive in the evening only to be hit in the face with the three o’clock brain break.  So I struggle through my afternoons with tired eyes and big yawns. I am barely finding the energy to throw together meals for my family before putting on my jammies.  It’s hard to be productive when your brain is dormant from 3 pm onwards.

So I give in to the sweet promise of an early sleep, hoping for an early rise but repose is futile. My brain is lethargic, my body is already in a coma like state but something is compelling both of them to get up and move. So I lie there suspended somewhere between awake and dreaming, easy and agitated, tranquility and tempered.

When you go to bed exhausted expecting a soft fall into dreamland that ends up to be a fitful night of  restlessness, it is the equivalent of biting into a chocolate chip cookie only to find out that it is oatmeal raisin, the result is less than gratifying and quite frankly it leaves you a little pissed off.

Yesterday I dragged my tired ass out of bed and stumbled through my morning routine. The kids had made supper the previous evening and promised to clean up so I found the kitchen in shambles, which they refer to as spotless. I picked at the clutter for a bit and decided to leave it till after work and maybe it would be better. I lumbered through my day as sluggishly as the day before knowing that I had a bank appointment to sign papers, I had to drop books at the library and my youngest had voice lessons. I really just wanted to make it home in time to shower and change into comfy jammies and pour a glass of wine in time for Greys Anatomy. I talk about drinking wine a lot; I find the time to drink wine a lot less than I talk about.

I arrived in the bank in lots of time to be able to sign the papers, pick up Haley, run to the library and get Haley to lessons on time. I waited in line at the bank which seemed to take forever and a day. Clearly some people have not discovered online banking. The teller was super pleasant and went on an unsuccessful hunt for my papers. She could not find them and consulted everyone in the building before a kind lady took over and informed me that the papers were at my bank branch 20 minutes away. Why in the world would I have thought I could walk into any branch and sign the papers is beyond me. This branch was close and convenient for me and my brain was already two hours into break. I think the kind lady could tell that I was frazzled and that I my day was a succession of going round and round and stifling yawns. She was able to help me from that branch and I was able to continue on with the rest of my responsibilities on time and they only thing I had to give up was peeing and brushing my teeth. That seemed to buy me some extra time and on the way to lessons and I was able to stop and pick up my very first pumpkin spice latte of the season.

I read a little at lessons and on the way home my daughter was full of stories from welcome week at Junior High. I still have a hard time believing she is now a Junior High student. In my head she is still eight years old. She was talking away and not even breathing in between and I sort of zoned out. I went on a little vacation. In my head I was still and quiet. Then I hear “Mommy, Mom, Mommy…are you there? Why are you not talking? I am talking and talking and talking and you are not saying anything.” I needed to figuratively splash cold water on my face and re-engage. We talked about school and the birthday party she is going to on Saturday and her friend that is a boy but not her boyfriend that she would be upset if any of her friends dated him but only because it would be weird not because she likes him that way even though his name comes up constantly and she thinks he is so funny!

It was late so we picked up Subway as we had a two for one coupon. We got home and the dogs met us at the door, Rocky’s black fur was full of White powder, he had cardboard hanging out of his mouth and Buddy was walking around in circles and hanging his head, the pantry door was wide open and the remnants of Aunt Jemima Pancake mix and an empty box of Trix was on the living room floor. I was so mad but all I could think of was “Silly dogs, Twix are for kids!”

As annoyed as I get with them I love them to pieces and I feel like they are just kids faced with temptation. Like when I was a kid and my mom would bake cookies and tell us we couldn’t have any till later and then she would find the cookie container half empty and at least one of us kids with traces of chocolate on their face. I also like to believe that the dogs love me so much that if they could clean up they really would. I wouldn’t have to tell them the same things over and over.

I gave my oldest daughter grief about leaving the dogs in the house when she left and leaving the panty door open, she quickly informed me that it must have been her sisters fault and recounted to me how she had already cleaned up the garbage they got into. I noted the garbage that was stuffed back into the container so full that the lid would not even latch. More temptation for the dogs, like sitting me at an all you can eat buffet and telling me I can only look.

Nobody would think to change that garbage and nobody had fed the dogs, or the cat, or picked up their laundry off the bathroom floor, or wiped off the stove they cooked on or cleaned the tomato sauce they dropped off the tiles in the kitchen. But alas, I am too tired to even argue so I wiped up the tomato sauce, cleaned off the stove, tidied the counters and  ignore the wisps of dog fur that have collected around chairs and table legs and in every visible and invisible nook and cranny. I pour myself the glass of red I have been promising myself for a month and mentally prepared to go round and round again tomorrow.

I am not going to lie, September was a difficult month for me, but I kept trying and in that there is no failure.

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

More than a feeling-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

Sunsets, sunrise, high tide, full moons…they are beautiful moments  but like most good moments they are fleeting. Like the wind in your hair on hot summers day with the dial turned up and the open road ahead of you and that momentary perception of pure joy. It’s a feeling, a second, a minute if you are lucky. These are the moments that make up our lives but often we need to coach ourselves to breath in, look around and enjoy them before they are gone. When we practice gratitude we experience more of these moments that enrich our lives.

How often do wish you could capture the feeling of a place? Maybe it’s your lakeside cabin or your grandpa’s farmhouse. It’s more than that initial awe that strikes you when you glimpse it for the very first time; it’s the feeling of unceremonious joy and gratitude you get when you are there that lingers in your memory and beckons you back. I am an East Coast girl living in the big bad West. I am equally torn between my love of the soothing ocean and the larger than life mountains. Every wave in the ocean and every glacial mountain peak cradle a piece of my soul.

Our lives are busy and they go by so fast. I always welcome any opportunity to get lost in a spot away from everyday stresses where time is told by the rise of the sun and the fall of the moon instead of my cell phone alarm.

We had a friend visiting his family in B.C. during his summer sojourn from New Zealand. We knew his time was precious and how hard it is to make time for everyone in a few short weeks. We were planning a little family getaway to the Okanagan region hoping to meet up with our friend before he bounced back to his island nation.

Time was getting short and we had yet to make a plan. This wasn’t my first rodeo so I knew how difficult last minute bookings in the summer can be, especially in the mountains. I was hit in the face with a summer cold so armed with a steaming cup of Neo Citron and my laptop I set out to find a place to suit us that would be a reasonable drive for our friend from Revelstoke, have brilliant scenery and abundant outdoor space, be clean and bright with a generous amount of comfortable capacity and be remarkably “uncommon”.  On top of all of this I wanted it to be fairly priced.

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I dislike hotels and when I go away I appreciate staying in places that have a great story.  I was coming up empty and not feeling very confident in getting what I had envisioned when I happened upon an ad for a solar powered eco retreat in the wilds of Larch Hills which was a twenty five minute scenic drive from Salmon Arm in the North Okanagan region of beautiful British Columbia. We were spending a couple of days in Mara Lake close by so the location was absolutely perfect.

The retreat is called Tin Poppy. It is a 1953, 32’ Travel Trailer built into a sizable, avant-garde abode. The 200 sq. ft. trailer is encased in a modern screened-in post and beam structure bringing the space up to 1200 square feet in total. The structure boasts a myriad of natural light, comfort, conveniences and charm.

The owner Maggie was in France when I contacted her but was very quick to respond and accommodate our request. I had been looking forward to meeting the people that had not only imagined such a space but had brought it to fruition. Unfortunately the day before our booking Maggie contacted me to say that their plane had been delayed and they were stuck in the U.K. but she had a friend make sure the space was ready for our arrival. It was spotlessly clean, fresh poppies were in a vase in the living space and luxurious bath robes and towels were laid out for us to take advantage of the outdoor shower. It was a hot day in the Okanagan so we chose to shower and change before our company arrived.

Though private and contemporary with hot water on demand, the outdoor shower is alluringly close to nature. The bathroom and toilet are conveniently located inside off of a spacious foyer between the living space and the stairs to the look-off. There is a door leading to the the bbq deck on one side, the opposite side takes you to the large entryway which leads to the outdoor shower and another separate sun deck. The other side of the retreat is embraced by wild flowers and Hollyhocks, it is reminiscent of an English country garden looking beautifully unplanned as if Mother Nature just happened to wave her wand on that very spot and mesmerized it. There is a huge rock fire pit overlooking the hills that is beautiful by the light of the North Okanagan moon. Tin Poppy also has a 6 person wood-fired Finnish style sauna to the left of the fire pit for some added luxury.

The kitchen is cozy and it is well equipped to cook full meals. The hosts have literally thought of everything.

We had a visit from a large cat that we found out later was named Leo and shortly after our arrival we had a visit from three dogs of varying sizes and breeds. My family loves animals so we were so happy for the company. The one dog had only three legs but a mammoth personality and he loved the interaction and didn’t want to leave us. He was quiet and loving and being around him made me feel peaceful and I wish I had brought our dogs. I spoke with Maggie and found out that they were their dogs and that a neighbor was watching them while they were away. The dog that didn’t want to leave our side was Sammi. As I  mentioned we are animal lovers and were happy to allow Sammi and Leo to keep us company and spend the night. I didn’t have dog food but Sammi seemed to approve of steak for dinner. If you have allergies or do not care for pets your experience would be different and Maggie would not allow the animals to come around but we felt comforted by their presence.

Our daughter had been out of touch with her friends for a few days so she took advantage of the wifi while Kirk caught up with our friend over music and cold drinks and I whipped up a big dinner.

We enjoyed wine and great conversation over a late dinner and watched as the moon slowly fell below the tree line and the temperature fell with it. The hot sun that had streamed in through the screens was replaced by a cool breeze. The guys built a fire in the pit and we spent some time under the mountain moon in a star filled sky with a fire crackling in the background. We felt miles away from the ordinary and I consciously reminded myself to breath it all in.

Our buddy chose to sleep in the lookoff under the star filled sky and our daughter chose the cozy second bedroom in the trailer. Long after they drifted off to sleep my husband and I made snacks in the kitchen and settled in the cozy trailer nook and turned the heat up. We streamed some very old music and opened another bottle of wine, curled up together and wondered aloud how many people had gotten to enjoy this space since 1953. We felt like we were among some great company. Tin Poppy has some great old bones. We sipped and sang until the wee hours of the morning feeling gracious and fulfilled before retiring to the cheerful queen room.

I woke early but the sun rose before me. I made coffee in the French press and started breakfast in the cast iron frying pan while everyone else slept. The light of day at Tin Poppy is as equally impressive as the dark of night. I was as enamored by the expansive light filled Poppy as I was by a crackling fire under the Okanagan moon.

We ate a hearty breakfast before saying goodbye to our friend, a short but sweet visit before he journeyed back to his home on the South Western Pacific Ocean. Though miles and oceans of time may separate us daily we truly felt that we all discovered a magical place together and we know that our friendship coupled with Tin Poppy’s magnetic charm will draw us together there again.

Tin Poppy is perfectly suited to family holidays, a getaway with friends, mountain and or/beach vacations, winery tours, romantic holidays, hiking and biking, ski vacations in the winter…it is multi functional. If you are bored of ordinary, Tin Poppy will not fail to charm you. Thank you to Maggie for providing me with some of the photos, some of them are from our early July stay.

If you are planning a trip to beautiful British Columbia I would definitely consider Tin Poppy. Below I have provided some links for you.

Tin Poppy on Facebook

Tin Poppy Website

Tin Poppy on AirBnB

July’s W.I.S.E. principles are welcome, innocent, special and enjoy. Tin Poppy has encompassed all of those things for me in a short but memorable visit!

I hope you are enjoying a fabulous summer and welcoming time with family and friends, enjoying special moments and the innocence of new beginnings.

I am traveling to Nova Scotia this weekend to properly welcome my new granddaughter and enjoy my own family and indulge in special times and create new and lasting memories. Cheers to you as July winds down.

Chat soon,

Michelle xo

In the still of the night-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

Wellness, cabin in the woods, solar power, eco retreat, mara lake, british columbia, mindful, mindfulness, happiness, gratitude, Wise Project

I woke early to the soft tap of rain on the cabin roof. I boiled water outside on the bbq and made the most fabulous camp coffee ever made. I built a big roaring fire in the wood stove that has quickly lulled my husband back to sleep. My daughter is gently snoring in the loft. I am curled up with a soft blanket sipping coffee on a comfy chair by the fire. I am charmed by the crackle and snap and the serene quiet of this wooded retreat and I am full of gratitude.

I want to go for a quiet walk in the woods and find the little waterfall the owners told me about but I am a bit nervous knowing that there is a mama bear and her cubs close by. The owners of the cabin say they haven’t seen them by their house but they like to eat from the neighbors fruit trees. I would love to see them from a distance but not face to face alone in the woods. I circled the immediate area and delighted in birdsong and the sounds of nature instead of early morning traffic.

This cabin gives the illusion of being deeper into the wild than it actually is. It is a short drive or five minute walk into the woods so once you are here you feel very far away from the stresses of everyday. Our hosts Chantal and John put a great deal of love into this little getaway and it is evident in the little touches. The solar power is something that I wasn’t familiar with but besides a few common sense things it is pretty straight forward. Want not, waste not!

I know it is not my family’s cup of tea and they humor me a lot, but the truth is when you take away electronics, clutter and conveniences we are forced to live in this moment instead of the next one and we connect more as a family. They cannot deny it. The fact that my husband has drifted off into untroubled slumber several times this morning alone speaks volumes.

Last night we had a tasty camp dinner and played 5 second rule and charades. There were a lot of laughs and I was happy for the quality family time. Our daughter  was terrified of going to the outdoor washroom and hadn’t peed once between four and midnight. She is such a city girl. She insisted she didn’t need to pee at all but I dragged her out there and she managed to not get murdered or eaten by bears. She made us barricade the doors so that mice, bears and woods cabin murderers couldn’t get in and thank god because we are all living this morning.

Despite her fears she fell asleep almost immediately after settling down in the cozy loft. I caught her talking in her sleep several times. The still of the night here is very still. Though I was up early because it is light in here with all of the windows I feel extremely rested.

I am immensely enjoying this place. It feels like you are miles away from everything which is clearly more of a comfort to me than it is to my daughter. I do think it is a memory that as an adult she will cherish and hopefully she will take her own family on similar adventures. When you are an adult you really appreciate getting away from everyday worries.

Mara Lake Beach

She was quite excited to go to the beach today and though we originally thought it wasn’t going to be a beach day the sun won it’s battle with the grey clouds around 3 pm and it is quite gorgeous.  Mara Lake beach is located in Mara, between Salmon Arm and Sicamous in the Okanagan/Shuswap region of British Columbia. It  has a white sandbar and deep blue water that is refreshing and rejuvenating. It is the first time my daughter forgot that she doesn’t have wifi. I loved swimming with her and watching her build herself into a sand mermaid. You cannot have that experience in the city.

It is easy to be mindful in a place like this. The slower pace and lack of distractions forces you into it.  The quiet and the soft glow of candlelight is not so bad either.

I would highly recommend this place for a quiet retreat or for a couple looking to reconnect. There is no fridge or stove but there is a bbq with a side burner and the cozy kitchen is quite equipt. Frankly there is a coffee pot and a wine opener so I felt very much at home. I am fascinated by the tiny house movement and the “less is more” lifestyle so this was an enjoyable experience for me.

If you are planning on traveling to B.C. and would like to have a serene stay in a solar powered cabin in the woods check out this wooded retreat in Mara HERE

I talk about the Sweet sound of silence HERE, grab a coffee and have a listen.

Just a reminder that the W.I.S.E. Principles for July are Welcome, innocent, special and enjoy. I hope you are welcoming new and exciting experiences, seeking innocent and guiltless adventures and quiet time to rejuvenate. Treat each moment as if it is special and unique and live in the moment fully before moving on to the next.

Be W.I.S.E. friends. Chat soon.

 

xo Michelle

 

Ordinary Day! -W.I.S.E. Project 2016

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June. Where did you go? You were full of endless days of tripping the light fantastic and electric summer nights catching falling stars in moonlit fields. Crackling campfires and long kisses on the end of weathered piers, toes in the water as I sought advice from the man in the moon. I blinked and you were gone.

Sometimes I have a tendency to overcomplicate things. It’s all very simple really. Everyday the sun rises in the East, this usually happens way before I am ready for the filtered sunlight that peaks in through the bent slat on my bedroom blinds, before I am quite mentally prepared to embrace the gentle song of the birds, put my big girl pants on and adult. The certainty is, ready or not it comes like clockwork every day. I try to get myself and everyone else out of the house with a chorus of “I love you and have a good day” instead of frantic yelling because we are all running late. We all go to the places we have to be, not necessarily where we would choose to be if we had been born rich instead of so damn good looking, but we try to go with a gracious heart and a kind soul and the choice to make it a good day. Even the good days are tiring and mostly they fly by too quickly. Before we know it the moon has replaced the sun and the darkening sky welcomes it’s best friends the stars. The birds are lulled to sleep by the mystique of it all and out come the crickets to play their favorite summertime melody just as we are pulling cool sheets around our ears and settling in for a hopefully long and dreamy nap. A similar version of this happens on repeat everyday without fail, with some filler in between.

It all goes by so quickly. I just have to remind myself to look around more, breath more, be thankful. Remarkable moments are all around me, it doesn’t have to be about what I look at, but more importantly what I see.

More realistically, June was made up of a bunch of ordinary days and some subtle extraordinary moments,  many that I may have failed to see because I was too busy searching for these moments that would take my breath away, instead of just breathing and being in awe of the simple, wonderful moments that make up my life…the filler.

My principles for June are WOW, Incredible, Serenity and Enthusiasm.  I definitely had a bit of a setback  this month because instead of recognizing the Incredible WOW moments when they found me I went on a desperate search for them. When I didn’t find these ground breaking moments of wonder my enthusiasm quickly subsided. I neglected the whole premise of my own project, being mindful and focusing on the present moment to create a deeper experience of joy. I forgot to practice gratitude and in turn I caused myself a lot of unnecessary stress.

A former boss once said to me “A day doesn’t make a week, a week doesn’t make a month and a month doesn’t make a year”. That being said as June winds down and July lies in wait, I did learn some very valuable things about myself during month six of the W.I.S.E. Project and I have been reminded once again to stop complicating things.  I need to give up on my urge to fix things and as much as I can just let things be. If I spend too much time focusing on what is going to happen next I am missing what is happening now.

Those moments when I am blown away by the candy pink sky or enthralled by the uncomplicated relationship between the moon and the stars or I see a glimpse of my children’s budding character and the people they are going to be in the future, those things are gone in an instant but will find me if I am being mindful.

I am still finding out who I am and who I want to be. The W.I.S.E. Project is my Journey. May the crooked roads it leads me down be paved with white gold and swiss chocolate, curiosity, patience and gratitude.

And may it all slow down just a little bit….

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