Life’s tough – get a helmet


It always seems like the easy answer – when life gets hard we crawl into a small, safe spot and wait for the trouble to abate.  We play “turtle” and pull our heads into our protective shell and only poke our nose out to see if the potential threat has dissipated.

But we don’t realize that, while we are playing the role of that turtle, we are missing a significant portion of our lives and potentially a great lesson or two that could be learned if we face that trouble head on.  Nobody who was ever honest with us would have told us that life was easy.  It is those significantly difficult times that teach us the most about how to deal with tough situations, but more than that, it teaches us a lot about our own character.

We build our strength from the tough lessons we endure and we create that hard tortoise shell by deflecting negativity and warding off malicious situations.  Sure that shell is there to protect us, but not to completely shield us from the life that manifests itself before us.

Life is tough.  We need to strap on that helmet and go into the fight fully prepared for what is waiting to rear its ugly head.  No real dilemma was ever solved by just wishing it away.  Strap on the head gear and tackle life head on – your offensive line may be much tougher than you give it credit for!

Lazy days


Everyone is entitled to have a lazy day every once in a while.  It recharges our batteries and gives us a much-needed to chance to store up the energy needed to face the days that follow it. Sometimes we just feel unproductive and unmotivated – and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, within reason. If your lazy days start turning into lazy weeks, you may want to rethink your strategy.

I used to have a real problem letting myself sit and do nothing. My brain always kicked into the guilt gear and I was forced to get off the couch and do all the things that were nagging at me from the back of my cranium.  I’m over that.  I am now able to embrace the feeling of not accomplishing a single thing.  There certainly are moments of boredom encompassed in that lazy day, but if I take that moment to remember the fast pace of any other day, that boredom is replaced by bliss.

The lazy day becomes about taking time for me and not stressing myself out if the laundry doesn’t get sorted or the dust accumulates for one more day.  Although today was not a completely lazy day.  After giving myself permission to actually sleep in, I did clean the house and I vacuumed the inordinate amount of dog hair from my carpet that seems to increase exponentially!!  But the rest of it was spent in a suspended state of oblivion…..and it was just what the doctor ordered.  I focused on what I needed instead of what needed to be done.

Those rest of those chores will still be beckoning for me tomorrow, but for today, the deck furniture and the couch won the argument.  Today is about my three favorite “R” activities – reading, red wine and regurgitating the countless words that whirl around in my brain. (there may be a movie thrown in for good measure)

I hope you all take the time to let yourself breathe – spend a lazy day doing the little things that make you feel human again.  And if you have any suggestions for things to do on that day of nothingness…..feel free to send along some suggestions…..I’m always looking for new ways to achieve lethargy!!

Strive for excellence, not perfection


We all seek perfection – it is the pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow.  But perfection is an elusive goal.  Realistically, if we take a step back and truly ascertain what we are trying to achieve, the end result would be excellence.  Perfection may present itself on test scores, but the culmination of our efforts in life will never be the absolute perfection that we seek.

There will always be one missing piece in the puzzle of life that impedes us from reaching that desired goal of true perfection.  If we analyse the bigger picture, we can still see what that portrait was meant to convey, and it may be the closest we get to the precision we sought in the first place.

Perfection is subjective.  What may seem perfect to you may have glaring inadequacies to another set of eyes.  On the other end of that spectrum, what others see as true beauty, you may find to be marred with flaws.  I used to bake wedding cakes.  I would spend tedious hours icing and decorating, only to chastise my own work because it could have been better.  But the bride and groom were always ecstatic when they walked into the room and rested their eyes on the fruits of my labour.  Completely subjective.

We need to be focused on being the best we can be and not get lost in the absurdity of being perfect.  It’s not going to happen.  There are too many outside influences ready to impede our progress and make us feel like we missed the mark.  But the benchmark of  success can only come from our personal definition.

I know I will never be perfect – at anything.  But I will continue to strive for excellence in everything I do.  I would be doing myself a grave disservice if I aspired to be anything less.

Spend your time wisely

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Today has been one of the best days of my summer.  I work in a fast paced environment.  I see many faces and deal with many personalities on a daily basis.  But today, I changed the face of my reality.  I am happily ensconced in the confines of my home.   I have yet to turn on the television or any music, but instead am enjoying the sounds of nature.  Crickets are happily chirping and the sound is being transported into my living room by the breeze that is blowing across my lawn.  The sun is out, but I am choosing this day to spend inside with no outside contact, no troublesome news and just doing what I love to do – write.

Being able to blog every day is a blessing.   But today, I was truly bitten by the writing bug again.  The fact that words can still flow so freely from my brain makes me deliriously happy and I am writing my first short story in what has been far too long a hiatus.  I awoke this morning to strings of words fighting to release themselves from their imprisonment in my head.  It was a battle of epic proportions to get the coffee poured and sit down in time to let the words tumble onto the page.  Images that have been burned into the recesses of my brain have now been expelled and the flow of creativity is moving at an alarming pace.

Characters are slowly coming to life of their own accord and leading me through a fable unknown to me before today.  Their strong personalities are guiding me through their story until we all meet at the conclusion of the tale.

I have many passions in my life, but writing is the one that truly wrings emotion from my soul and pours my heart onto a page.  It leaves me vulnerable to its whims and takes hold of me on its terms, not mine.  I am a prisoner of its grip and can only be the messenger of the collection of words that cascade onto the page.

Today, I spent my time wisely.   Today, I tuned out the outside voices and, instead, I heeded the wisdom of the voices in my head and let them take me on a journey.   What a ride it was!

Follow your Heart

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“What the head makes cloudy, the heart makes very clear” ~ Don Henley

So often we try to ignore what our heart is telling us.  We let our judgement be completely clouded by the things we perceive to be right and what we truly believe others expect of us.  But we are doing ourselves a grave injustice.  Our heart, while being simultaneously the most important and the most complex organ in our body, is the true divining rod of our emotional well-being.

Our brain will deceive us.  Sure, it will be the driving force to ensure that we do no harm to ourselves, to see that we are properly nourished and safe, but it will not nourish our souls the way in which our heart strives to do.   The heart wants what the heart wants, and no influence from the head can make it change its mind.

There is a child-like feeling that consumes us when we heed the message that our heart is so eagerly willing to share with us.  When you open your heart, you open your mind to its limitless possibilities.   The mind on its own can become a destructive tool and stymie us with an overwhelming dose of reason.   But the heart will never take a back seat – and the sooner we learn that lesson, the better.

Although the heart may not be the strongest muscle in the human body, it is inescapably the most perceptive.  It knows our wants perhaps more than we want to admit, and it is more than willing to voice its opinion on a more than frequent basis.

When we give ourselves permission to follow our heart, we open the doors to a path to happiness that we may never have seen in our minds. Reason and feeling take alternate journeys and inevitably it is the feeling of the heart that far outweighs the reason of the mind.   If your heart is asking you to follow, listen to what it is telling you.  There may be more reason involved in the message than you anticipated.

Pick Your Battles

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I was first introduced to this phrase years ago when I lived with my ex and his three children.  At the time when I became a major part of their lives, they were a mere 6, 8 and 11 years old, and were dealing with the divorce of their parents.   I had the fortune of knowing them for years before their father and I were involved, so I did not take on the role of “step-monster”, but instead had a solid foundation for a relationship.  But that did not mean the transition was easy for any of us.

 There were certainly days that I found more frustrating than others, as I’m sure they did as well, and inevitably arguments ensued.  It wasn’t until their father and I were having a chat one night, with a much needed glass of wine, that he bestowed this little gem on me.  He pointed out the glaringly obvious problem – I was trying too hard to win the battles and not every war in that house was going to be won – by anyone.  That stunning revelation was a game changer.  Pick your battles – such a simple phrase with epic results.

It’s hard to take a step backwards and give yourself a “time out” to realize what that orated scrimmage is about.  You have to decide if this fight is really worth the effort you are putting forth to win.   It quite possibly is an argument that, at the end of the day, really has no great effect on the bigger picture. But the negative energy from the conflict itself, just may.  You must go in with a strategy but be willing to change tactics and maneuver away from the barrage of verbal banter.

 If it’s not a life changer…..give a little.  You’ll spend countless minutes and hours trying to be right when it isn’t going to change the axis of the earth.  Sometimes all of the smaller problems can become compounded and the war you face can seem extremely overwhelming.  You must learn to choose your targets wisely.  Learn to cloak your emotions until you can see ahead of the problem that seems to lie in your path.

 The age-old saying “Don’t sweat the small stuff” is the same gift in different wrapping.  I have carried this ideal with me throughout the years and it has served me well.  Pick your battles – be proud of the scars of war, but make sure the ones you earned were worth the fight.

Soul Mates & The Red String of Fate


 “The Red String of Fate is an East Asian belief originating from Chinese legend.  It is based on the premise that the Gods tie a red string around the ankles of those who are destined to be soul mates and will one day marry each other.”  Wikipedia

 Some believe in the notion of having a soul mate and some do not.  I am hanging precariously balanced in the middle, only because I hold a strong conviction that the term should encompass much more than meeting your future spouse.  I have speculated this topic in my convoluted brain on many occasions.  Perhaps my definition of soul mate is too broad for the original intent for which it was created.  A soul knows instinctively when it has met a match.  True soul mates are not defined by a relationship, but merely joined by a common feeling, an intuition that you are meant to be a treasured part of each other’s lives.  You’ve assuredly had several friends in your life that inherently know you.  They understand your thoughts without you having to say a word.  They are a true kindred spirit.

I believe in reincarnation.  I trust that souls, lifetime after lifetime, strive to find each other again because they are meant to be connected.  Whether they are destined to be bound by the sanctity of marriage or merely cast as soldiers on the same proverbial battlefield, they are instinctively drawn to one another.  There is a compelling sense of familiarity, much like the feeling of deja vu – that firm belief that this experience genuinely happened in the past – and intuitively you are connected to each other’s energy.

Although my perspective on soul mates goes beyond husband and wife, I am fortunate to know many married couples that can, in fact, claim that they did marry their soul mate.  A chance encounter or a moment of serendipity, however it happened, their meeting had purpose.  Their love and respect for each other continues to grow through prosperity and adversity because their souls have known each other since long before their first physical connection.

Those ancient Gods may have had altruistic intentions, but just maybe, they temporarily lost their peripheral vision. Conceivably their red string had a bigger purpose for tying two souls together that extends beyond marriage and perhaps that notion was lost in translation.

Although the red string may be nothing more than a fable or a well presented myth, it nevertheless gives us hope that people are brought into our lives for a reason.  The responsibility lies within us to discover what that reason is.