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.

 

 

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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.

Rules for Being Human

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1.  You will receive a body.  You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.

2.  You will learn lessons.  You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called life.  Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons.  You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.

3.  There are no mistakes, only lessons.  Growth is a process of trial and error, experimentation.  The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately “works”.

4.  A lesson is repeated until learned.  A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it.  When you have learned it, you can then go onto the next lesson.

5.  Learning lessons does not end.  There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons.  If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

6.  “There” is no better than “here”.  When your “there” has become a “here” you will simply obtain another “there” that will again, look better than “here”.

7.  Others are merely mirrors of you.  You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.

8.  What you make of your life is up to you.  You have all the tools and resources you need.  What you do with them is up to you.  The choice is yours.

9.  Your answers lie inside you.  The answers in life’s questions lie inside you.  All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

10.  You will forget all of this.

~Anonymous

Being Andrea

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Being Andrea.  It seems so simple and yet sometimes it can be so difficult.  When I set out to write this blog, I promised myself I would be authentic and transparent  I would tell it as it is whether I’m speaking from my mom heart or my chiropractic heart.  It can sometimes make me nervous, like with this post I wrote.  Because when I share some of the things that happen in my life, I don’t know what to expect in return.  Most times it’s support but I imagine I’ve irritated some people along the way.

In my head I sometimes go back and forth between what is me and what I feel that I should be perceived as.  Sometimes I want to write something or say something and a little voice in my head says “Andrea, that’s not what a professional should say!” or “Andrea, watch yourself, you don’t want to offend this person.”  The topics I want to explore aren’t rude or inflammatory, I just think that most people think and expect something from professionals.  Maybe not? And regardless, should I really care?

The world is moved and shaped by people who think outside the box and aren’t afraid to say and do things that are against the mainstream.

Steve Jobs.  Ghandi.  Martin Luther King.  Nelson Mandela.  Princess Diana.  Mohammed Ali.  Elvis Presley.  Oprah.  John Lennon.  Amelia Earhart.  Benjamin Franklin.  Mother Theresa.  Voltaire. Beethoven.  Eva Peron.  Thomas Edison.  Malcom X.  Bono. Dalai Lama.  Rosa Parks.  Bill Gates.  Margaret Thatcher.  John F Kennedy.  Einstein.  Galileo.  Confucius.  Charles Darwin.

Should I go on?

These people, and so many others, have left their indelible mark on our history.  And while their ideas, thoughts, and plans may have seemed crazy to many at the time, they are now regarded as massive game changers in our world.  They weren’t afraid to speak their mind (or at least they didn’t show it).  They weren’t afraid to go out on a limb.  They weren’t afraid to go against the mainstream and stand up for what they believed in.

In Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, one of her chapters is devoted to “Being Gretchen”.  And I’ve been thinking of this concept ever since I read it.  I’ve wondered if I sometimes dilute Andrea.

I have pretty great ideas!  And I have exceptional thoughts!  I like to share them with others in my office, through speaking, and through writing.  So, here are some of the commitments I’ve made to myself in the near future to embody being Andrea.

  • I promise even more transparency in my blog.  The ideas and thoughts I have with regards to health and parenting are different, yes.  But I think that by speaking my truth, the people who get it, will appreciate it even more.
  • I’m writing a book. I’ve actually written a few books in my life but “Jeffrey the Giraffe” from grade three probably doesn’t count as a big contributor to this world.  (Although the school librarian thought it was brilliant.)  Others have sat on my computer for a few years but they were kind of like beta projects for something bigger.  That something is coming.  
  • I’m putting together a Parenting seminar that I think people are really going to enjoy and gain from.  Topics will explore the parenting dynamic of living a life by design.  

I have a number of other ideas that I’m marinating on.  Ideas that really get me excited for both my professional and personal life.  Ideas that scream “ANDREA!” and make me smile on both the inside and outside.  I think a part of me needs a new project every couple of years and with the above mentioned plans and others I should be set for a while.  I look forward to sharing more and not holding back on things that I truly believe would make a huge difference in the lives of a lot of parents. 

I got over my guilt yesterday

Sometimes I find it fascinating that the Monday to Friday workweek puts such rules and restrictions in our society.  It’s not something I think about a lot, just every Monday when I enjoy my day with the kids while my husband, and most other working people, go off to work.  Four years ago I was told by a very wise chiropractor to organize one day of the “work” week to be home with my kids.  I took it to heart and  two years later was able to prioritize my life to make that a reality.  At first it was Fridays and then once Maggie arrived it became Mondays.  I love my Mondays.  It’s my day with the kids to do whatever we want to do.  We often go to the gym (if nothing is planned in the morning) but then we also have adventures to the park, the beach, a trail, the library, a museum, our backyard, or some other exciting locale.

Usually around 2PM though, in the midst of all this fun, I feel a twinge of guilt.  Guilt that asks if I’m being too self indulgent to be home with my kids during the “work” week.  Guilt that says I could be working and making money and contributing to my family in that way today.  Guilt that says “oh, I wish Tom were here because he would love this moment….but he’s at work….ooh, maybe I should be too…..”.

Yesterday it happened in the middle of three brilliant hours of PLAY.  It was a hot (HOT!) afternoon and even the idea of packing up to get to a beach felt like too much work.  So, instead, we blew up this big inflatable crocodile in our backyard that sprays water down the head and tail slides, where it settles in a fun pool at the bottom.  The kids went up and down those slides for an hour straight and then splashed about.  While Maggie was awake, I read in the shade and toddled around with her.  When she slept, I joined in the kid fun.  I went down the slide (and by the way, the reason there is a 100 pound weight limit on that crocodile is because when you are over 100 lbs, you go flying off the side of the slide and land on the grass).  I did cartwheels (in my bathing suit).  We ate popsicles.  We played tag.  We threw the frisbee around.  We ran around yelling, screaming, laughing, and giggling.

Basically, I let go and played.  For three hours straight.  And at some point I felt that twinge of guilt.  I think it was in the midst of trying to show Caleigh how to do a handstand (which failed epically, by the way).  The adult in me said “It’s Monday!  Get some work done!”.  But when I righted myself after falling over from the handstand to see Caleigh’s look of glee on her face, that guilt vanished.

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Quote from the book I’m currently reading, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  Although I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it long before this book so I’m not sure exactly who to give credit to.

One day, I am going to look back on these Mondays and be so grateful for the time I get to spend with my children.  I love what I do in my office.  I love the time I get to spend there.  Unlike most Canadian moms, I went back to doing what I love in the office six weeks after my kids were born (most Canadians moms take 12 months).  I don’t work full time but I do get this lovely balance between being at home and being at work.  It would be a lie if I didn’t say there are times at home when I wished I was at work.  It would also be a lie if I didn’t say there are times at work when I wished I was at home.  But 95% of the time, I am truly happy where I am at that moment in time.

And I hope that you can say the same.  If not, here’s a chart that might help.

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tolerations

Did you miss me?  I’ve been kind of sporadic with my postings over the last two months.  Mainly because we slowly lost internet access at our home.  It was slow at first – we both couldn’t get on the internet at the same time.  Then once we were on it would take F…O…R…E…V…E…R to load a site.  Then we could only get on 20% of the time.  Then we got annoyed.  So a phone call to Rogers noted that both our modem and router weren’t up to date and we needed to replace both.  And with a quick $65 purchase we’re up and running again at our home.  It’s SO AWESOME.  It literally took me less than 2 seconds to access my blog.  Last week it would take ten minutes.  Those ten minutes were interspersed with sighs, rolling of my eyes, walking way from my computer, and then finally giving up.

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Funny thing is that it took TWO MONTHS for us to finally do something about it.  I think we justified it by saying we could do internet-related things at the office.  But honestly, we weren’t.  Obviously since I’ve blogged two times in as many months.  And all other social media had been put on hold.  Because when we’re at the office, we’re at the office and doing things that matter most there.  Like adjusting.  Like turning the power on for each person who lays down on our tables to get adjusted.  Like helping people express greater potential in their life.

So, would I rather adjust or would I rather blog?

No offense to my loyal blog followers but adjusting is my first love.  🙂

But back to the home issue.  We just dealt with it.  Justified it.  Tolerated it.  Until finally it seemed ridiculous to pay for a service that we weren’t able to use.  And action took place.

It caused me to wonder what else I’m tolerating in my life.  I’m reading a great book right now called “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin.  It was sent to me by my good friend and fellow Wednesday morning accountability call chiropractic mama, Karen Osburn (check out her amazing blog HERE).  The second chapter in her journey to increasing her level of happiness is all about energy.  And part of what she talks about is clearing out her clutter.  Since we’ve put out home on the market, our clutter level has significantly decreased anyhow but one thing she wrote rung true to me – “Don’t put off anything that can be done in under a minute.”

Hanging up my coat.  Putting my shoes into the closet.  Making the bed.  Folding the laundry.  Taking the laundry upstairs.  Watering the plants.  Tidying the toy box.  Straightening the books on the end table.  Wiping down the stove top.  Drying around the kitchen sink.  Taking out the recycling.  Taking out the green box material.  Folding the blanket on the couch.  Putting the dirty dish towel into the laundry room.  Wiping the bathroom  sinks down after brushing teeth.  Putting laundry away.  Drying dishes.  Putting dishes away.

All of these little things that take literally less than a minute (okay, maybe some take less than five minutes) and when I wasn’t doing them on a regular basis, it just made the home look untidy.  It would pile up – all of these little things that we would tolerate.  But by staying on top of them, I feel so much more content living in my own home.

I’ve made toleration lists for my office before.  Similar to above but basically a list of all the “things” that we’ve tolerated in our office for the last while.  And simply by drawing attention to them, we knock things off our list so much more quickly.

So, I throw out a challenge to you.  Make your own toleration list.  The list could reflect your home, your wardrobe, your relationships, your health,your business, your refrigerator, your yard, your self….. you get the idea.  And then have fun.  Knock those tolerations off your list.  I’d love your feedback on how it feels!