One Week Later

Hey y’all….

See?  I went to Chiropractic college in Marietta, Georgia and thirteen years later, I haven’t lost my ability to throw out a southern drawl every once in a while.

Do you remember this post I wrote last week?  I want to share with you how impactful it was to get up and moving each day for me.

  1. I’m more awake.  I loved getting up at 5AM but diving right into reading or listening to a podcast made me tired by three in the afternoon.  Starting that 5AM with exercise made such a difference. It may have been the sunrise I get to watch.
  2. I’m feeling better about myself.  I had really missed feeling more fit.  I had started to feel out of shape, flabby, tired, and blah.  It’s funny how just a simple walk with some squats/lunges/sit ups thrown in can make me feel awesome.
  3. I was happier.
  4. I was more productive in business.  I had the best week in business than I have had in months.  I met with more new people both in Chiropractic and for Essential Oils than I have in ages.  I adjusted more people in one week than I had in a while.  I had people coming out of the woodwork who I hadn’t seen in months.   I pre-scheduled all of my social media for the week and half of September.  It was an amazingly productive week.
  5. I ate better.  Hell, no, I don’t want to ruin whatever good I got from my morning routine by eating crappy at lunch.  {I won’t lie…this basically meant I didn’t sneak chocolate at 3PM…at least most days….I did on Saturday….and Sunday}
  6. I slept better.  Getting up at 5 means that I wanted to be in bed by no later than 10, preferably 9:30.  I do well with 7 hours of sleep.   I do not do well with less than that.  Good on the people who can get by on 4 hours of sleep but it’s not for me.
  7. I had FUN with my kids and connected with each of them not only one on one but also together as a family. And I had lunch with my Mom, which we haven’t done in a long time.

Those are seven {SEVEN!} awesome immediate benefits I recognized by simply getting back to being active on a regular basis.  My mindset once again changed.  What amazed me was how quickly I got off that this summer. I know I am healthier and happier when I’m active on a daily basis.  INTENTIONALLY active.  I can walk my kids to the park and get some steps in but for me I needed to actively focus on exercise for 30 minutes a day to feel better and function better.

Oh, and I should also add that each time I was up and active early in my day, there were some pretty inspired thoughts running through my head.  Here’s the thing about 5AM.  It’s quiet.  It’s dark.  It’s not at all distracting with noise, people, vehicles, etc..  It’s just me and my thoughts.  Which is in part what led to such an amazing time last week…I can’t wait to see what the coming weeks and months have.

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Paris in June

Thirteen years ago I wrote down a Life List.  It was a list of 136 amazingly-blow-my-mind things I wanted to do during my life.  Some people call it a Bucket List but considering the reason it’s called a Bucket List is that it’s a list of things they want to do before they “kick the bucket”, I couldn’t embrace that title.  To me, that sounded depressing.  I wanted to focus on life as an ever-evolving journey and not a series of steps that slowly moved towards death.

On that list, number 72 was “Eat French toast in Paris with the one I love”.

Three years ago, on our seventh anniversary, I wrote down what I wanted to see with my life in the coming five years.  I was pregnant with Maggie.  We already had a 5 year old and 3 year old.  I wrote in my journal that I wanted to celebrate our tenth anniversary in a big way…maybe even in Paris.  I remember giggling as I wrote it because in all honesty, it didn’t seem possible.  There was so much going on in our lives – building a business, raising a family, being involved in our community, and more.  Paris, quite honestly, seemed like a pipe dream.  I found that journal about three months ago and read that entry.

Tom and I leave for Paris later this month, two months shy of our tenth anniversary.

To see this come to reality is overwhelmingly exciting for me.  Some beautiful steps fell into place for us in order to make this happen.  We had an amazing opportunity with family to take part in an event in northern France.  My mother in law and my sister-in-law both are available to take care of our kids for the week that we are gone.  We are in a place in life where we can leave our practice for a week together (we own our Chiropractic practice together).  I really believe that the intention I have put into being in Paris with the one I love has allowed for all of the little pieces to fall into place perfectly.  The Universe totally conspired to make this happen and I am so so grateful for all that came together in order to for us to take this trip.

If you had asked me thirteen years ago that by writing “Eating French toast in Paris with the one I love” would lead to “Celebrating our tenth anniversary in Paris” which would lead to actually going to France with Tom this summer, I would have thought you were nuts.  But it hit me a few weeks ago, when I came across that journal entry, that the power of intention is so profound.  It wasn’t something I manifested every single day.  It was something I wrote down twice in my life.  But the intensity with which I wished for it, while writing it down,  was massive.

And today, I took some time to research and plan this trip that I have the honour of taking.  We are taking part in a ceremony in Arras, France on the 100th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge.  We will be there for the re-patriation of soil between Vimy Ridge and Base Borden.  We are attending with family – my Dad, stepmom, brother, and sister-in-law – and the ceremony aside, I’m really looking forward to family time.  After the events in Arras, Tom and I are spending four days in Paris.

All.  By.  Ourselves.  (Read: no children)

This alone is exciting and while I hate to admit it, I have a pang of anxiety with it.  I’ve left all three kids before two or three times, but never without Tom being home with them.  This is for a whole week and family is happily going to be watching them while we are on this trip.  I know they will be fine but the Mama Bear in me is feeling anxious for sure.

But while focusing on the positive…we have seven days together as a couple.  An early honeymoon in honour of ten amazing years together.  Somehow, I feel that when I hold my husband’s hand while walking along the Seine, I’ll realize that not only are our kids okay but this is good for all of us.  A little time away to celebrate the awesomeness of our relationship.

In Paris, y’all.

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September is my Second January

Sweet September 12, I can’t believe it’s been two months since I’ve last written.

This hiatus from blogging – and it appears a few other things in my life – have made for an interesting summer.  Filled with very little but yet feeling full.  Days spent with my kids – running, laughing, playing, exploring, beaching, hiking, sunning, and more.  Lazy afternoons.  Quiet mornings.  Taking a break from a lot of what I defined my life by prior to summer….a schedule that included pre planned meals, CrossFit classes, blogging, early morning power hours, and more.  All of that went to the wayside in August and apparently into the first couple of weeks of September.  I totally took a vacation from my life, other than committing to be in my office and with my kids.

And it was awesome.

That being said, I entered into September with a sense of renewal.  Ready to dive back into a life that has more schedule.  Like many parents, I crave the first day of school.  I eagerly packed up their lunch boxes the night before.  We set out the school clothes on their floors, ready to go.  We walked together down to the school on the first day and after meeting their new teachers, with a wave of my hand and air kisses as the classroom doors closed, I had this intense sensation come over me.

Freedom.

This literally was me walking back home:

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Maggie was at daycare.  Caleigh and Blake were in grade three and senior kindergarten, respectively.  I had five hours to myself with nothing to fill that time but whatever I wanted to do.

I hit up CrossFit for my first workout in almost a month (yes, ALMOST A MONTH).  It hurt like hell.  I was sore and I was tired but the sense of accomplishment after was worth every bead of sweat I left on the floor.  I felt like I was getting back to being me.

I went home.  I made some chai tea.  I read from my latest book.  I journaled.  I walked around our new home, in silence, and marvelled at how perfect it was for our family.  I sat on my back porch and just breathed it all in.  I took stock of my summer.  Yes, it had been amazing.  Yes, it had been liberating.  Yes, it had been “easier” to say no to the routine that I lived by.

But I was ready to get back at it.  I gave myself a second New Years Resolution, except it falls in September.  A September Resolution.  I started a 21 day sugar detox and gave up all sugars, grains, and alcohol that had crept into my life this August.  (I swear to you, the red wine is the hardest part.)  I have been walking again regularly (tacking on more of a walk after getting the kids to school helps).  I have been back at CrossFit four times, with the commitment back to three times a week as of next week.  I’ve been up early again (not every morning, but at least 3 mornings a week) to renew my power hour.  I feel like I’m getting back to being myself and committing to making myself a priority again.

And it feels awesome.

Three to One

This week has been exceptionally quiet around our home.  Well, our home for the summer.  If you remember, we are staying at my dad and stepmom’s home while we wait to move into our new place at the end of August.  So, it has been exceptionally quiet around our temporary home.  Our two oldest kids, Caleigh and Blake, left to go to the family cottage on Monday.  They are spending a week on an island on Georgian Bay.  A week full of swimming, canoeing, boating, kayaking, crafts, bonfires, roasting marshmallows, hikes, picking blueberries, and more.  I’m missing them like crazy.  We fit well together, this beautiful family of ours.  I love though that they get these adventures on their own.  I have no doubt they are enjoying every moment of their weekend up north.

I'd say they're having fun.

I’d say they’re having fun.

We have Maggie with us.  Just 21 months, it would be hard to convince many people (including grandparents) to take her overnight, let alone for a week.  Having just her, being a family of three for a few short days, takes me back to the first couple of years when it was just Tom, Caleigh, and myself.  It’s quiet.  There’s more significant one on one time.  Earlier bedtimes.  Earlier to rise.  A more relaxed schedule.  Easy and quick to get out the door in the morning.  No one complaining what’s on their dinner plates. Less mess.  Less of the beautiful chaos.  But above all, it’s quiet.

And this week, happily and selfishly, I relish quiet.

For instance, right now, Maggie is taking a nap.  I have the entire house to myself to do whatever I want.  I could nap. I could workout.  I could read.  I could journal.  I could garden.  I could just sit.  It’s so lovely to have that freedom for a couple of hours.  I made some tea and read for a bit and then recognizing I still had time, I’m writing to you.  Hello!  It’s nice to connect once again.

Coming off such an intense and intimate weekend as I did, it’s good to have this quiet.  It’s good to have the time, uninterrupted, to just be with my thoughts.  Re-committing to my morning power hour means that I’m dragging myself out of bed in the morning (up at 5:10 today!) but once up, it’s provided me the opportunity to work through the emotions and experiences from my retreat, in solitude.  I’ve been able to mentally process, put thoughts down on paper, and then read through those notes.  It brings a smile to my face when I think of the people I connected with (so grateful for each and every person I met on that island) and the personal growth that I had.   But it also makes me take a deep breath as I reflect back on some of the experiences.  Remind myself of the vulnerabilities that were exposed, both mine and theirs.  Accept some of the stuff that came up in my head as things that were no longer serving me and had in fact, been holding me back from living a more full and authentic life.  And finally letting go of the self-limiting thoughts and beliefs that were deep to my core.  It was a deep weekend.  A very, very deep weekend.  One that I am so very grateful for and that I put every intention into the universe to be a part of again next year.

And now I get to focus on what lies ahead.  The path that I get to carve out for myself.  Just writing that fills me with a tingly feeling of excitement.  It’s unknown, unwritten…but yet it feels familiar.  It’s like I’m coming home.

This week was needed.  The quiet was needed.  As much as I missed my kids, I will be the first to admit that I loved being away from them for a few days.  I think had I written that before learning what I did last weekend, I would have erased it and started over.  I would have re-wrote it so that it didn’t sound as though I was happy to be away from my kids.  But the truth is, I was.  I was thrilled to have a break.  (There, I said it.)

So, I will finish up and enjoy the remaining moments of solitude before Maggie wakes up.  Later on today, we’re headed up to the cottage ourselves.  And while being away from my kids was refreshing, I also can’t wait have them run down the dock and into my arms, when I pull in this evening.

Until next time…

A Shift in Consciousness

Have you ever been a part of something so great, so special, so moving that it literally shifts your consciousness?  Moving you from one way of thinking to another?  Opening your eyes to possibilities you didn’t think exist?  Causing you to believe in something much bigger than your self?

This past weekend I took part in a retreat that literally shifted the way I look at the universe and my role within it.  We spent what felt like a week, but in reality was about 48 hours, on a secluded island in south-western Quebec.  It was beautiful, the most perfect example of Canadian cottage country.  Jagged rocks that set into a clear, blue lake.  Tall pines, maples, and birches that frame the view.  I really felt at home there.  The feel of the earth under my bare feet.  The moments I close my eyes and feel the sun and breeze on my face.  The sensation that takes over my body as I dip a toe in the cool waters.  And then the absolute silence that envelops me after I dive in and just float, underwater, for a few moments.  It’s perfection.

The time I spent up north was truly transformational for me.  I shared the space with ten other chiropractors who were all as engaged as I was in the process.  We were introduced early Friday morning and within minutes, there was this feeling of complete trust.  Which is necessary in a space that exposes vulnerabilities you didn’t think existed.

Honouring the privacy of the retreat, I will only share what I came away with.  These revelations are far from finalized and need much more contemplation for me.  But I can see that where I’m headed now is far from where I was headed before beginning this journey 6AM last Friday.

  • I am enough.  I’ve written about this in the past but it’s very easy for me to go through periods of feeling insecure and unsure.  I often don’t feel like I am enough for my husband, for my kids, for my family,  for my friends, for my patients, for you….but my biggest take away from this weekend was that I can’t possibly be enough for all of them unless I can own the fact that I am enough for me.
  • I love to create and cultivate meaningful connections with people.  I do this in the office, while adjusting, and through my other love of writing.  It’s something that I’ve wanted to do more of but have been scared to really jump into.  Fear of rejection, fear of exposing those vulnerabilities, fear of sounding crazy, and a fear of people (you) not resonating with my purpose.  I’m choosing to acknowledge and then quiet those fears.  I have committed to writing more and really putting myself out there to submit my articles to publications.  If they get picked up, great.  If not, I’m okay with it.  It’s the process of DOing that is more important to me than whether or not they are accepted at first.
  • My power hour.  Oh, I’ve missed it.  I’ve made up excuses (namely in the form of my beautiful daughter, Maggie, who doesn’t think sleep is necessary most nights) and I am now choosing to stop letting those excuses keep me from something that grounds me.  That morning time for me is crucial and it sets the tone of the day for me.  I recommitted to my power hour, despite rough nights of sleep, and the last two mornings I started my day with quality time to myself.  I’ve been gentle on myself by fluctuating the time a bit (moved it to 5:30ish), which gets me a bit of rest but still fills me with purpose.

I want to leave you with another big take aways from the retreat.  It was a simple thought that really puts into words how I feel each time I connect with someone in my office.  It helps me sift through the anxious thoughts in my head.

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You are exactly who you are meant to be right now.  I am exactly who I am meant to be right now.  Whether we are tired, rested, happy, sad, excited, emotional, feeling lost, feeling broken, feeling healed, in pain, sick, injured, emotionally drained, hurting, stressed, in balance, bored, engaged, or in any other physical or mental or spiritual state….we are exactly who we are meant to be.  And we are the most perfect expression of who we are meant to be.  Accepting that concept puts me at ease.  Even after a weekend that (quite honestly) turned my world upside down and is making me think about what it is I am doing and how I am expressing my life’s purpose, I feel at peace knowing that I have to be where I am now in order to get to where I will be in the future.  It’s not right, it’s not wrong…it just is.

Thanks for reading…until next time.

 

 

Excited and Anxious

Have you ever been faced with a situation that makes you feel one way but also feel something completely different…both at the same time?

Starting today at noon, I am heading away for three days.  I am over the moon excited for this weekend.  It is a three day retreat focusing on personal growth.  I have no idea what will happen there.  I have no idea who I am staying with.  I’m not really sure exactly where I am going.  I have no idea what to expect.  Yet, I am ready and willing to play full on and be completely open to whatever is planned.  I am beyond excited.

I am also freaking out just a bit.  This is the first time I will be away from Maggie overnight.  Yes, in over 21 months I have not slept away from my daughter. This retreat is three nights away so it’s like jumping in with both feet and treading water when it comes to how I feel about the separation.  Maggie still breastfeeds (last night, in fact, she decided that she wanted to feed three times between the hours of 11:30PM and 5:00AM) and thus I feel like I am taking something away from her that not only nourishes her but also comforts her.  It’s our time together.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.  It’s connecting.  With my other two children, I welcomed child-led weaning so I feel as though I’m pushing my agenda on her readiness.

But I also really need this weekend away.

It’s interesting (read: heart-breaking) to listen to the running dialogue in my head.  I’m being a bad mom.  I’m being selfish.  She’s not ready…or is it just that I’m not ready?  Will it change things completely?  Will she be upset?  Will she keep Tom up all night?  Will she feel abandoned?  Will she still want to nurse when I get home?

Wow, I can really pile the mama guilt on.  I know this weekend will be ground breaking for me.  I expect to get so much out of it.  I will come home with new insights and likely ready to push boundaries like I’ve never pushed before.  And for that reason alone, I’m putting more emphasis on the excitement for going away than I am for the guilt of leaving Maggie.

She WILL be fine.  I know that in my heart.  I know that even if Tom is up for hours each night, she will be loved, protected, and cared for by her amazing dad.  It’s even possible that I’ll come back and she’ll be better off than I ever expected and that she’s sleeping through the night (hey…one can only hope…).

In three hours, I’m off.  I said goodbye to all of my kids at daycare this morning.  I think the older two are just happy that their Daddy is cooking and so there is more leniency with the number of vegetables on their plate at meal time.  I walked away.  I didn’t cry (yea, me!).  The thought came to me that maybe this was just ME not being ready, and not her.  At any rate, I’ll know when I get home on Sunday night.  Until then, I will continue to repeat the following over and over.

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Wishing you all a great weekend.

My 5 Favourite Things About A Spring Power Hour

5AM was tough this morning.  I didn’t want to get out of bed.  It would have been really easy to roll over and go back to sleep.  In fact, after turning off my alarm, I even laid there in bed, shut my eyes and justified it as meditating.  “Meditating” at 5:01AM, with my eyes closed, while lying in bed is not meditating.  It’s going back to sleep.

So, instead I gave myself a mental kick in the pants and dragged my butt out of bed.

Now as I sit here at my kitchen table and write this blog post, I’m glad I did.  For five reasons.

1.  The birds are chirping.  I can hear them and they sound lovely.  You know the saying “up before the birds”?  This morning, I was.  It wasn’t until I had started stretching that I heard my first tweeting morning companion.  And now it literally is a symphony out there.  It’s so beautiful and every once in a while I stop what I’m doing, close my eyes (to really try to meditate this time) and just listen.

2.  The sunrise.  I think it’s cloudy out this morning so I don’t know how much I’ll see but there is something so gratifying about watching the sun rise.  It comes up through my bay window that faces our backyard.  Through the trees, over the ravine, yesterday morning came up the most awesome orange sun.  It was breathtaking and made me so grateful to be awake to watch it.

3.  Going for a walk.  After being cooped up all winter, I am giddy to get outside and walk.  I don’t do it each morning but if I let my husband know the night before (so he’s aware that he’s getting the kids if one of them needs us), I plan for a walk.  I can watch the neighbourhood wake up around me, I can fill my lungs with fresh morning air, and I can get some early exercise into my day.

4.  I’m wearing only my pyjamas.  This sounds silly but I love that I don’t have to bundle up in my warmest pyjamas as well as wool socks and a sweat shirt to enjoy my power hour.  The temperature in our house hasn’t changed by more than a degree since mid February but yet now I only wear my light pyjamas. I’ve realized over this really cold, long, snowy, icy Canadian winter that I am really looking forward to a time in our future when we will live in the south.  I want to love winter.  I love the idea of partaking in all of the winter sports, but when spring comes out and I don’t have to wear three layers just to feel warm IN my home, I’m a much happier person.

5. Increased productivity.  I know this is my mind playing tricks on me but when I see that it’s light outside, I feel like I should be up and being as productive as possible.  To me,  light = daytime and daytime = time to get stuff done.  So when I see the sun rising and daylight fills the room I literally have this push to get more done.  And if I look back at what I used to do during winter power hours, I am definitely more efficient with my time now.  I feel energized and more awake (once I’m up) and this translates over into what I accomplish in the morning.

My increased productivity could also be because there is a challenge with spring power hours.  It being that not only do I feel more awake with the earlier sunrise, so does this one.

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Luckily, I also like playing in the morning.