see what happens when a writer (not me), a photographer and someone enthusiastic about letters (me) come together to tell the tale of one amazing river expedition.
a sneak peek into how the Spice Girls changed the way i talk. kinda. get to know why owning our words is such a big freakin' deal - then join me on November 20 to get your words back (cusses and all).
Getting real with the fact that there's something about the sweet sweet life of freelance that f*****g sucks. Persoal opinion of course. Come get a taste of what causes some real f-e-a-r and how busting it down takes a few words (and a lot of repetition).
Thanksgiving 2014. Me, my mum, a good friend and a LOT of knitting. A LOT a lot. With the stitching, comes the bitching. And the heart to hearts and just straight up banter. What came up this holiday Sunday was a chat about a choice that I made recently and a question from my sweet friend Lauren about why the heck I'm not on Tinder anymore.
Happy one-entrepreneur-year-old to me. #woopwoop. Here's a wee look at what twelve months of being a 'yes' meant for me - and what I got from being open to essentially anything helping me pay rent.
"When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out - because that's what's inside. When you are squeezed, what comes out is what is inside." - Wayne Dyer
Since moving to Vancouver, making friends with some of the healthiest health nuts and most experimental dietary-restrictionists has created a shift in some of the ways I fuel my body. One of the additions to my diet that this prairie girl didn't see coming was juice. I'm talking REAL juice; the kind that slaps you in the face with its nutrient-packed punch and leaves you feeling like a pseudo-superhero. After being introduced to the world of Kale and other extreme leafy greens, my curiosity overrode my eight year-old equivalent palette and I dove in. Well, drank it in, let's say. And, perhaps shocking to this sugar-fiend, I liked it - a lot.
The past three days have been a whole other exploration into the world of juicing. I did the unthinkable over the May 2-4 long weekend: I juice cleansed. (pause for disbelief for my friends who understand my affinity for a crisp cider on a patio in the sun when there's a longer than usual amount of time available to recover from one or two too many of said ciders).
Three days of Glory Juice Co. juices awaited my consumption - as did a whole lotta life cleansing.
Long and short, the three days passed with a strange sense of ease. The hunger pangs were much fewer than anticipated and the hanger (read: emotional outburst of frustration due to extreme hunger) reared its head only one time (I was alone - it was fine). What happened alongside of my body getting a real reset was a massive brain reset and a whole lotta life clarity.
It takes trying on new things—new ways of thinking, new routines, new anything really—for me to gain a more clear and focused understanding of myself. Leaping out of a career got me connected to my true creative side. Travelling made me wise up to my passion for connectivity and relationship. This new thing—the cleanse—not only got me more aware of what was going on in my physical body, but also stretched me mentally and 'squeezed' some thoughts out of my head and heart that had been covered up by some doubt. Three days of a focused committment to one kind of 'detoxifying' opened up a wealth of ideas and productivity I couldn't have imagined would occur. Oh, and I managed to FINALLY clean off my desk. #win.
I set some new goals, re-wrote some intentions that I had for this year and made some committments to myself that might just change up the game a bit. Now, whether said clarity is a product of the season or the fact that spending some solo time armed with a serious team of delicious detoxifying delights, I'm not sure. All I know is that my body and brain got a real kick-start this weekend and I'll be eagerly looking forward to the next time I hop on the juice-train for another sweet reset.
And, next time, I'll plan ahead and keep the cleansing to the weekdays.
Because sharing is caring and everyone loves 'Top 5' lists, here's a couple for your perusal and pleasure...
TOP 5 THINGS TO ABSOLUTELY DO ON A JUICE CLEANSE
- Get Netflix. Clear your calendar, pop Downtown Abbey (er.....House of Cards?) on and settle in for a weekend series marathon.
- Drink every ounce of water you possibly can. Yes, you will feel like a hot water bottle with liquids slooshing around in your gut - but at least you'll feel full.
- Catch up on all that sleep you always say you're going to. Because what else is there to do?
- Take at least one bottle/jar with you on all outings. Not only will it create conversation with complete strangers but your hands will be full when you consider picking up that bag of Power Cookies at Whole Foods.
- Inform (warn) your friends. Always talking about sold food and moving as slow as a sloth....if these things are not already part of your personality, they may shock some friends if/when you start embodying these behaviors.
TOP 5 TO AVOID AT ALL COSTS WHILE ON A JUICE CLEANSE
- Going to a lunch meeting with some sweet friends and watching them eat beautifully made stuffed portobello mushrooms.
- Babysitting on day 2.
- Teaching your very first yoga class.
- Standing up really fast in a repeated pattern at the very first yoga class you're teaching.
- Making a dinner date with someone you really like and are just getting to know.
I experienced a big (read: massive) life transition just over three years ago. A new city, solo status and wide open social calendar was my reality as I was welcomed into a pretty badass community. With like minded people surrounding me and opporunity a'plenty to get to know Vancouver on a whole new level, my once empty calendar was quickly jam-packed with coffee dates, workout plans and networking events. On a mission to 'do more' I layered on the commitments - what I can now identify as my 'feel less' tactic. The 'do more' turned into 'be more', 'connect more', 'write more', 'date more' - among others - which created some pretty gnarly 'less' activity. 'Sleep less' was a big one, with 'dance less' following close behind. My pursuit of stuffing what I was feeling by adding on more 'things' to life disconnected me from what mattered the most; my friends near and far, my family and most importantly, myself. Yet, while hindsight is 20/20, in the moment,'more' felt like the right and the only thing to do.
I was looking - searching - for an answer to what else I could be doing that would fill the empty feeling that I had through long days of impactful work with fantastic people. All signs pointed to being in the best place possible to learn and grow a career with heaps of potential - yet I looked at myself with disappointment and frustration. How the heck could it be that by having such a full life I felt so empty? My 'more' mentality kept me moving forward, asking for bigger projects and expanding my working days well beyond the norm of the nine-to-five. And then, May 2013 rolled around.
May was a month of #wishbombs. June was a month of adventure; where Iceland was not only an uncharted travel experience but also a first taste of doing less and experiencing more. July was a tipping point where 'more' met 'enough'. August was a month of boldness; admitting that life wasn't working and making the claim that it was worth changing something; and resigning from a job that had supported me through three career changes in three years and never stopped believing in me or my potential. And it was bold to not know what I was going to do next. All I knew is that I was following my heart and getting back in touch with a part of me that I had quieted too many years before.
My last day at work, October 5, came around uncharcteristically fast; and with it, a day that I thought would be marked by tears, apologies, promises and yes, a red carpet and a marching band wishing me well into the next chapter of life. Much like every other Saturday this year, it came and passed without event. No pomp and circumstance, no red carpet, no marching band. Most suprisingly, no remorse and no regret. Let's be honest - there was fear coursing through every vein in my body and a sense of 'what now?' that I couldn't ignore. AND, I felt complete, in every sense of the word.
Now, I'm finding my happy. I'm creating and connecting. I'm writing, sharing, playing in new career opportunities and listening to heaps of really good music. My days are experiments in working some, playing some, drinking too much coffee and getting some time for me. And it's a fine balance - always trying to do what's needed in the moment and know when I'm going into 'more' over drive. Which doesn't come easy, but I'm learning.
So, here goes. I'm re-meeting myself. I'm getting to know the real Me and letting that whiskey-loving, Jess-of-all-trades, Americano junkie out. I'm writing. I'm storytelling about people that I think are interesting. And I'm learning along the way. Lots. Stay tuned for tales of travel, trials, tribulations, celebrations - you get it. There's more to come, always with a side of something to make you go 'hmmm.' Enjoy the ride.
Iceland was just a chip off the very top of a deep iceberg this past July. I went to the country of contradictions to explore my roots and spend time on the mat. Reality: it was so much more. It was about connecting to a new community, to the people in the room and to our yoga practice through the elements. That brief experience was a catalyst for overdue reflection and is what sparked a phone call to register for another yoga experience - paralleled in 'why I'm going' intentions yet unmatched by any learning experience I've cannon-balled into to date. Yep, THAT big, that ripple-inducing. THAT good.
This time around it was Teacher Training with Ryan Leier at One Yoga for the People in Vancouver (no jet setting this time). With intentions of getting really good at handstands and discovering more about yoga philosophy, I was amazed to find how much I wound up learning from a most unexpected teacher - me. While I had some friends let me know the amount of reflection and 'you' work involved in the training process, I was brought me to my knees faster than you can say 'savasana'. Albeit an intense subject - facing your demons and all that business - the week was positively positive. Ultimately I walked away from the training feeling lighter, more mentally clear and with a sense of self that I haven't felt in ages. The waterworks were matched with laughter a'plenty and high quality dance parties at the end of some of the longest (read: sweatiest) days we worked through. The fun factor was high amidst the salt-water extravaganza.
Yes, my ability to feel my way into the poses increased as we explored the anatomy of a posture. And, while ten days sans vino plus gnarly two-to-three hour practices cleansed me on a physical level, I'm moreso keen to share the top three things that were greeting me head on as we navigated this yoga-wonderland.
"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." - Rumi
1. I have been on the search for love for a long time. what I haven't been doing in that process is searching for what I needed to do to love me first and to let any kind of love in. To be a giver is an altruistic role to play - until it's at the expense of one's health or happiness. Or until it's a deflection tactic from getting real with oneself and owning up to some serious work needing to be done. Time to bust down some barriers, Jess.
"Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice." - B.K.S. Iyengar.
2. Out with a disposable outlook - in with a sustainable one. Most importantly - a sustainable lifestyle. One that incorporates time for work, play, people, relationships, growth, groceries, shopping and sipping wine. With people I love. Oh, and phone calls, too.
"Practice Courage. Grow Roots. Get High. Truth Is. We Are One." - One Yoga creed.
3. I have alwasy connected to yoga for the physical benefits of the practice. Although it keeps me limber and tones me up, it's truly a tuning fork for my connection with myself and what I know to be true. What I learned this week is that yoga really is union - mind, body, self, others, higher beings. Whatever that means to each individual on their unique path.
More tales from the mat are to come....of this I am most positive. Oh, and keep your eyes out for this wandering yogi offering some commnity classes here and there as time wears on....
it's nothing short of laugh inducing when you catch yourself being a hypocrite. i've been in situations where others have caught me saying or doing something i said i wouldn't/shouldn't do (where humor has been my best friend in sluffing off any guilt that would be oh-so-natural to cling onto). and, it's those moments where something that was seemingly SUCH a big deal isn't so insurmountable - once the context is shifted. like plaid and corduroy pants.
falshback to spring 2012. my online dating heyday. a connection made between myself and a well-written (sometimes an online red flag -- sometimes not. it's a crap shoot) dude living in VanCity resulted in a planned coffee one evening. i was running late, so said dude arrived first. he let me know he was 'the one in the blue plaid shirt' - i high-fived myself for landing someone who was a plaid-advocate. so into the shop i venture to meet my potential-future-plaid-wearing-husband-to-be. i learned in the first moment i saw my date that 'plaid' has many meanings - and to some, gingham (short sleeved, collared button down to be exact) falls into that category. and, in those few moments that i sat down and took off my seasonal outerlayer, i put on my judgey-pants. then judged his pants (thick ribbed khaki corduroy) and shoes (aasics). outfit aside, the date wasn't the best match, so upon parting ways we had a (sufficiently awkward) hug and went off into the night.
flashforward to today - on granville island - getting in line for a warm bevvy and i notice a well dressed gentleman in line a couple people in front of me. and, what did i notice? yes. plaid and corduroy. and never for a minute did i question the pairing of THIS plaid and THESE cords (plus his shoes were a win - boots. real good). i did, however, stop and pause myself and remember the epic fail that i had labelled the previous outfit with - and how quick to judge i was and to make that kind hearted soul so very very wrong for his outfit choices. yeesh, jess.
so what i came to in that lineup today was that context sure can change a lot of things. without any weight to a situation or interaction, without fear of being judged on someone else's way of showing up, without having much of or any investment in the outcome of an expereince with or of someone, the things that we fear in ourselves to be judged for essentially slip away. we reflect what we judge in ourselves onto those we interact with. or, onto those we may have some invested relationship with. so, what if we could catch ourselves in those moments of 'oh my gosh...what is he wearing?' (for example) and let the judgements take a back seat? to give ourselves an extra dose of l-o-v-e for all those fears and silly insecurities so we can be with the person, and not their fashion faux-pas?
i'm trying it on - and might even throw on a solid plaid in the process. a gingham-plaid, even.
BC ferries. me as a solo traveller. tales of all things awkward, embarrassing, and most of the time, straight up weird. all with a lession, a learning.....a moral. it was on my most recent crossing that i boarded with a conscious confidence that THIS would be the trip that the 'strange' would be mitigated, the stars would align and normalcy would grace my travels again.
i joked with a good friend who was driving onto the same boat that her claim to wearing a dirndl on the boat would be contributing to my ferry-saga -- which i quickly re-named 'ferry tales' (#punny, right?). after landing ourselves on a passenger deck and spending 93% of the ride gabbing away (and witnessing one of the BEST natural orca breaching displays we had ever seen before), we parted ways so i could haul my walk-on butt off the boat. feeling like i had abated the awkward with only a small buffer of time to wait through, i opened my book and dove in. and then, the tap on my shoulder.
i looked to my left, and down about a foot, and was greeted by the sunglassed face of what seemed to be a fourteen year old. he had sage word to share with me:
'i just wanted you to know....that you can call me milk. 'cause i'd do that body good' - milk
unfortunately, the shock of the exceptional delivery and over confidence took over and my usual ability to respond with my well sharpened and cunning wit completely failed me. i mumbled a 'oh <insert cuss here>. ok, thanks' and milk walked off to share the glory of his pick up line with his like-aged friends. to support my shock of what just happened i overheard one of his travel companions mutter a 'oh, buddy that's horrible' and, to comfort my embarrassment and create some assurance that i was not the only one that couldn't really believe that just happened, totally associated it to his knowing what his friend had just said to me. whether that's the true course of events or not, i'll hang onto that glimmer of hope that others saw that as lame as i did.
so, with all other ferry tales, i look to see what's there to be learned. and here, there's something about what it means to take some responsibility around the energy i put out into the universe. in joking about the weirdness that i regularly encounter, i'm focussing on that and attacting more of it to me. in lamenting over the boy with the mouse, the three hour crossings and the public breakups, i am bringing those situations to life and again, making them propagate. simply put, i'm letting a simple activity be weird by classifying it as weird. a change of perspective here could very well be overdue - with an outcome that i can't wait to share.
let it be noted: i also learned that regardless of generation, decade or otherwise, bad pickup lines live on. fourteen year olds will always think they are invincible and twenty somethings will stumble over their words. we're in this big, badass thing called life together and we're all going to experience some unique things. moral of this one is to be big and bold - you never know who might really like milk, you know?
dinner with poppa robson happens every so often when business brings the big guy to the coast from our prairie origins. food and drink aside (which are always very much a treat) there seems to be a theme of my mind being blown by something wish (dad) sees and hears in me or is seeing or experiencing in his day to day that we end up ruminating on. tonight was no different - and I walked away with a lot of juicy Q's to dig into. what propelled me into a 'whaaaaaat!!' moment was the most innocent comment made while we stood waiting for valet to bring my whip (that little sunflower is still holding up - heck yes) up from the lot. i mentioned something about my experience of my smarts and some questions i had been asking about what i knew from experience and curiosity. he laid THIS down as a parting comment:
the knowing of our 'smarts' is the confidence piece. how you talk about it and use those smarts....that's maturity. - poppa robson
simple - yes. profound? maybe not. thought provoking? Uhhh, yup. confidence in what we know is essentially defining what we stand for - or more specifically, what we are willing to take or make a stand for. the interactions bit - and maturity and what not - thats a practice of speaking with confidence and not telling someone 'hey, I'm a smarty pants and look at what I know' - or if that's what is needed, it's perhaps finding a way to plop some elegance in there. elegance or grace. or both.
dad: thanks for the real deal. I'm on for a life of laughs and big freakin cab sauvs. glad we can have both together. oh, and keep the #wishbombs coming. this buckaroo has a ton more to learn from ya, guy.
....you say 'what up, universe?' and take a long swig of the life lesson you're being served up.
'IT' in this case, is one of those life lessons that is 100% undeniably what one is meant to be hearing at a certain (and often shifting) point in life. in my experience, it looks like this
- experience some kind of sticky bit in life that's giving you a case of the 'icks'
- understand the root of the 'ick' and start looking to move through it and 'find the lesson'
- hear the learning through a mentor, friend, family member, teacher, etc
- hear the lesson again
- and again
- and again
- ..................and again
it's a cosmic universal reminder to listen. and listen good. because we attract what we are looking for - sometimes before we know what's needed. sneaky, that universe thing....
case and point: after making my life hard for myself for the past month or so, i had a particularly eye opening address from the universe at large as to what it means to be and 'do' you. and, how important it is to know what that 'me' really is - to be rooted in my 'why' so I remember what it is that i'm up to and why i choose the stuff that i do. it took one explosive phone call (sorry mum), a couch session, two magazine articles (thank you Lizzy Goodman and Zoe Pawlak) and a dose of reflecting on last years' blog to hear it. and, get it i do.
i just have to keep on being me - because that's what's gotten me where i am and keeps me on track for where i want to go. 'nuff said.
I am no special expert, I am only passionately curious. - Albert Einstein
curious cat for life.
i've caught myself as 'that girl' more than a handful of times in recent past. 'that girl', in this specific reference, is the one that coos over squishy baby faces, that loses her s**t when a dog (in my current language: a DOGGIE!!!) comes into my workplace, and that is moved to (near)tears when endearing, random acts of kindness really hit home.
yes, i'm a little blubbery ('weepy' isn't as funny of a word) these days.
i totally lost it when i drove past a man on a street corner having a moment with his, albeit TOTALLY amazing, Golden Doodle this evening. i saw this outward expression of full-on other-being and other-world l-o-v-e for that furry little beast and i couldn't tear my eyes away. so, as most people and relationship centric happenings make me do, i got to thinking.
open-ness to love is one thing. being 'ready' in life for another person to compliment the radness that you've already got going on is beautiful. being the outward expression of that? being vulnerable in what i love and want and need? not this chick. well, not until recently..i would say.
being so in love, i mean SO in love with each of our 'me', our going after with passion those tummy flip inducing visions of our best lives, the people that make up your world and being 100% totally on for loving and loving big every beautiful thing in your life is bold. it's bold, big, beautiful and every other epic word not starting with a b. and, consequently, it's all about our BE-ing.
i'm totally cool with being into what i'm into and who i am. with liking knitting (and being pretty-not-bad-and-kinda good at it), with being a wordy beast who loves writing and storytelling, with being totally into green juice AND appreciating quality mikshakes - it's all wrapped into my me. what i'm so stoked for? sharing that. loving every moment that i get to share it. laughing. more. always. all the time. and then even more after that.
i'm choosing to be love. to be laughter. and to be the best silliest expression of that. so yeah, when i get a dog, i'm going to be that girl on the corner totally in love with that smushy face. and i'll show someone driving by what it means to be and share love.
now, to get into a pet friendly apartment...
let it be known: i have been dating. online. THREE YEARS AGO, i would not have had the balls to tell anyone that - actually, i woudln't have even thought about putting my name and picture on any site anywhere for fear of someone seeing it and outing me as 'online' - a status that most definitely i was TERRIFIED of being associated with. TWO YEARS AGO, i more or less wore the 'i'm online, i'm rad, i'm gonna be findin' me a boyfriend right quick' tshirt and was quick to tell anyone how i was leaping into the dating pool - quick to share juuuuust in case they might, again, see me online and beat me to the punch of telling other people. again, blokcing mechanism. and, a loud one. ONE YEAR AGO, i had a lingering profile and was actively waiting for someone, anyone, to knock on my proverbial dating-door (ie: message me with a witty note that might spark an interest because, gosh knows, i was all to caught up in being 'busy' to take a stand for what i really wanted in a man and make a real effort to attract that....)
since then, you'll be relieved (maybe not as much as I am) to know that my outlook has shifted from the 'hell no!' to the 'hallelujah online!' to the 'meh' to a very healthy place - of curiosity, connection and confidence. most of the time. haha.
and so, in this seemingly life-long experience i have recently reflected on a couple things i have learned and feel compelled to share. because, there is a 'silver lining of learning' and opportunity for reflection around every date - even the ones where the sweet man wears corduroy pants and a Metallica t-shirt.
learning point #1. you get out what you put in. for every 'dang, still no messages', i could only look to how actively - or inactively - i was involving myself in the process. trend in the jess-life is when busy-ness gets the best of me, my me-life gets the worst of me. the times i had the most fun on dates and met the most interesting people were the times i spent time being interested - and connecting with people that i was inspired by. good reminder in how to be present to what i want and not auto-pilot my way through life.
learning point #2. i've got a good gut - and it's time to listen to it. that weird pitty feeling in my stomach when something doesn't sound right or something in a profile rubs me the wrong way? LISTEN to it. stop forcing a conversation if all signs point to 'run the other way - don't even stop at the front door to get your shoes!!' - and trust what i know and how i know i want to be engaged. #nuffsaid
learning point #3. life repeats itself, if you let it. goes hand in hand with trusting my gut. when i feel myself not being really 'me' to catch someone's attention - i need to stop. not only am i repeating a bad habit and trying to 'fit a mold' - i'm not valuing mine or their time - which ends up in one too many coffee dates (and normally it truly is just one) and a feeling of 'womp womp' upon departure. i'm moreso me in every interaction now than ever - and have to remember in every split-second-of-doubt to be me, in every moment. all ways, always.
i might be done with the online thing for now - and know that these wee lessons-on-life apply as much in the off-line-love-life - if not moreso. practice, practice, practice.....right?
turns out that diving into a routine that involves a 5:30am (ish) wakeup time, 6 to 7 days a week, on a Sunday morning following a late night closing out the biz might not be the best way to get something regular and sustainable rolling. yet i practiced on - albeit 3 hours past when my daily yoga practice was pitted to start.
sustainability took on a whole new meaning this saturday as i sat in a room of probably 50 yogis. less was the conversation about minimizing our impact on our environment, or about eating less meat and making a smaller and more sustainable world contribution, and moreso was the conversation about us - every single one of us - and what we do as our daily practice. outside of our 'routines' - get up, bathroom, put on coffee, shower, make smoothie, paper, hair, face, clothes, make lunch, roll out - the workshop was focused on a true daily yoga practice. shudders down my spine as i learned that the next two hours was going to be exactly what i didnt think it was going to be (i wore my most moisture wicking stretchy pants in anticipation for what i thought was going to be a sweat-fest) - and that i would be sharing my every excuse about what draws me away from a daily commitment to myself.
a very sweet, very bearded ryan leier was our guide into contemplation and consideration. after spending two months in Pune, India with none other than BKS Iyengar (this dude has MAD skills - and the BEST eyebrows i've seen on anyone - ever) and moving through his daily routine and a very most intense yoga practice, ryan returned ready to share his take aways from his time with the master. the focal point: daily practice.
what i heard in our conversation:
- it doesn't take much. it is and can be simple - for anyone and everyone. 3 postures a day. 12 to 17 minutes. done.
- regularity and routine in how you commit to the practice creates flow and ease. (EVEN if you sleep past your alarm one day....or two)
- it looks different for every single one of us. every. single. one of us.
- yogis DO drink coffee (Iyengar takes his with sugar and a bit of milk - 2 cups a day. #truth #thankthejavagods)
- as much as it is a practice, it's a process. and for all those achievers out there (yep, i'm with ya on this) - learning to be ok with it not looking 'perfect' might be one of the biggest lessons you'll experience.
- you choose your practice. you choose your balance.
we talked about what postures we needed. we talked about time of day to practice, breathing techniques, research and learning, meditation - the list goes on. what i couldn't move past was the concept of sustainable practice. my athletic pursuits have always been just that - pursuits. driving the bus to a rad destination, yet without an idea of what i'm going to do when i get there. which, admittedly feels great - for a while. then, the pushing, sometimes forcing, feels to be too much. and i fall off the proverbial bandwagon. my shift? committing to what works - what feels right, in each moment, in each day i practice, and going with that. i've got this raging awareness about how hard i can make things - how little time i choose to afford myself, and how tough i can be on myself when i am in the pursuit of something. how NOT living in the moment is THAT?
so, i will practice. daily. four postures. 23 minutes. and take each day and its' practice as it comes. whether that is at 5:30am when my alarm clock rouses me (yeesh), or if it is at 8:30am when i recover from a particularly deep slumber. i practice. and each day will be absolutely everything it needs to be.
New year, new plans, resolutions, goals, intentions….and with 2013 giving me the sensory feeling of ‘bigness’ (what does this feel like, you wonder? It’s like the night before Christmas morning when you were 6(ish) waiting for THAT PRESENT that you wrote to the big guy about. Excitement, nervousness, a little bit like you might puke. And no, it’s not gas. I promise) I am stepping into this year feeling fresh, jazzed and inspired. With big, hairy a$$ goals. Without any trepidation. 2012 gave me the time and space to learn and understand a LOT about J-E-S-S - and, if there’s one thing that I learned from 2012 that I will have on mantra-repeat (yes, like ‘Call Me, Maybe’ was for the better half of the year) it’s this:
HEAD UP - HEART OUT
I’m taking on 2013 with awareness. All too many times in the past year I lost sight of who I was, where I was going and essentially every detail of my vision for what I wanted my life to look like – both in the present moment and looking into the ever-so-elusive future. I learned that being absorbed in the ‘doing’ didn’t allow me to keep on ‘being’. I learned that patience – mostly with myself – pays. I could list off the copious amounts of times that I functioned for others – and lost myself along the way. So, for 2013, I am looking those lessons in the eye and saying ‘thanks for the wild ride – and for giving me the guts to take on myself and dominate 2013’.
The heart out part – that’s a reminder to love. Sounds silly? Humor me….
To me, love is about appreciating every moment. With yourself, with others, with strangers. Awkward conversations, exciting first-time anything experiences, horrible happenings, tragedies. Remembering to give myself the love that I need – day to day, those things that make me my best Jess – creates the space to love others, be present in the moment with them, and to live a freakin’ fun, silliness infused, laugh inducing life FULL of l-o-v-e. And it starts with me.
I’m not done learning – and know I never will be. I excel in moments where I get to look at what is, sort out the why, question the how and build a new whatever. As much as this applies to processes behind making epic businesses function or running seamless, ‘wow!’ worthy events, it’s as relevant, if not more so, when I can turn those questions on myself and figure out something new about me (or revisit somewhere I have been before and see why I am in that conversation with myself…..again,…and again).
SO, here’s to 2012 – a year of ups, down, ins and outs, failures (a’plenty) and what-the-f***’s, and of course, lessons. And a toast to 2013 – it’s here – and it’s going to be a big flippin' year.
Another wild ride, guaranteed.
time travel with me - back to the days of high school volleyball games (yeah, THAT far back....). the sights and smells - ick - of the teams coming together to compete in sport. the energy of the space as the teams warm up and get ready to square off on the court. then, the teams launch into their cheers before taking their positions on the floor and settling into the first serve. but before that - a light din - a murmur almost - starts to tremble within those glowing white lines. it grows in volume and intensity - each player constantly throwing numbers, positions, encouragements, chirps and digs and continues ..... for three. whole. sets. all that noise - in the name of being the loudest one on the court.
guilty confession: i might have been that border-line-obnoxious literal cheer-leader that put the lungs behind the Lord Beaverbrook cheer each and every game. Yeah, i was THAT girl. and still am - trust me to drop an often times too loud 'heck yeah!' in some of the most inopportune times possible.
i look to my high school athletic career and see why we were coached to be constantly talking - always, always talking. while in the moment i really did think that it had everything to do with psyching out the other team (which it often did) and was a way of calling out who we were covering on big swings, etc, i can see now how it was us, as a team, calling it like we saw it. we were functioning in the moment, creating clarity on where we all were and what we could all rely on one another for. we were using our voices to really make that floor work - and work it, we did.
our banter created workability in that setting - so i look to today and where i might be holding back in communicating and being more vocal - where i could be talking about what i am seeing and experiencing. and, while i don't want to be in a constant state of chatter, i know that there is heaps of learning that can take place through sharing what the is-ness is - in the moment.
we all process very differently. some out loud, some internally. we are introverts, and we are extroverts - and all recharge our batteries in different ways. i need to talk some things out. i know moreso now that i share to stay in the present and to surface those gross-ish feelings that are lead-indicators for requests, questions - all those things. and i'm good with that - especially seeing as it doesn't involve all the yelling and cheering and what not.
i ask a LOT of questions to hear how others are experiencing something. sometimes we need someone to ask.
i get caught up in books like nothing else. if i am captivated by the content, get drawn into great character development or have a burning and passionate curiosity to learn about something, i can be that lost soul in Chapters/Barnes and Noble listlessly ambling along the aisles and plopped into corners thumbing through the latest releases or the most classic of classic novels. the book store is one of my happy places. what i have noticed as a product of my 'do everything august' this summer of 2012, is that i got super out of practice and nearly fell out of love with reading. sadly enough, i saw it more as an impediment to my schedule and less as a contribution to my best-jess-life. truth be told, i was only cracking the cover on books i 'wanted' to read on nights when i was struggling to fall asleep (which really was my fail-proof plan for making my eyelids slam shut). so, here, at the end of September, with a chill in the air and my wooly socks being withdrawn from the back of my sock drawer, i am hereby recommitting to reading - and doing so before i hit the sheets.
the first book i have thrown myself into: The Saint, The Surfer and The CEO - by Robin Sharma.
funny how we attract things to our lives when we need them the most - isn't it?
page by page in this novel of truthbomb novelties, there are multiple opportunities for the reader to reflect on themselves - on their life, their impact, their obesssions and their struggles. and reflecting, i am. the main character, Jack, sets out on an epic adventure to meet some of his estranged fathers' teachers. with the lessons of how to live wisely, love well and serve greatly before him, each teacher Jack encounters shares with him their own unique, yet somewhat related, ideas and insights. in not too many words, three seemingly simple (and i am only on his encounter with the surfer where he is discovering what it means to 'love well') thoughts are the foundation for so many opportunities of contemplation, consideration and connection to myself and my life. i'm plowing through the book - and am coming up for air to share the mind melting and forehead slapping 'duh! moments that i'm experiencing - more or less with anyone who will listen. so be prepared for more!
i'm back on the train. i'm in practice of what i know i need to do to be in my life - at the drivers' seat, on course to greatness. i've got a clear picture of where i am heading and at the same time, am flexible in how i get there. that's the sense of adventure about life - in being ok with hopping off the freeway to check out a dirt road and see where it leads you. it's all about the ride.
i'll part ways for today with this:
'For your life to be great, your faith must be bigger than your fears...' - Robin Sharma, The Saint, The Surfer and the CEO.
got a best-YOU-life practice? something that when you let it slide you miss it, and feel the need to reconnect? just like a bicycle - you haven't forgotten how to ride it. you just have to get back on the saddle and take the handlebars.
i have an impressive laundry list of epic tales that involve the BC Ferries. their monopoly on mass transportation to and from Vancouver Island requires my interacting with their services on the regular (all for you, momma robson) which, coincidently, has resulted in the most exceptionally strange, lengthy and sometimes straight up shocking circumstances to play out. one such crossing was this weekend and while my usual act would be to lament to an extent around the drama of it all, some recent lessons in being in the moment and scanning life's interactions for what i can learn from each and every moment encouraged my patience in each awkward second of the adventure. i have labelled it: the friday of tolerance.
it took sitting through an hour's wait at a bus loop (due to poor planning on my part), having a young dude's pet mouse (yes) placed on my shoulder while riding said bus to the ferry terminal, witnessing not one but two domestic disputes while aboard the boat'o'life-lessons (one resulted in a break up - talk about an uncomfortable car ride into the city!) AND coming to terms with my poorly made dinner selection of 'sushi garden' (read: uber slippery california rolls that ended up moreso on the floor than in my belly) for me to figure out what this trip really had in store for me...which was an opportunity to practice what i preach - and truly BE with that experience. in being in the moment, i landed that tolerance is exactly what i needed - and ooooh child i needed it a lot.
a quick stop - pause to associate oneself with what is going on and how it is a reflection of the lessons most needed to be learned is a practice indeed. it's a practice of being ok with needing to learn 0 which normally means acknowleding our vulnerability and imperfection. it's life's sticky spots, the muddy bits, our failures, from which we learn the most about ourselves. there's a blessing in the bogus-ness. self inquiry is a journey and a half - for real.
your current reality is nothing more than a complete reflection of the lessons you most need to learn - Robin Sharma
AND, may it be said, that lessons of tolerance do NOT require a confined space and a pet mouse. just saying.