Thursday, August 8, 2019

Floral Wonderland


A caressing of leaves
like a quiet clapping of hands
and a halt as the rushing breeze curtails.

The sun beams downward
forcing freckles of light to
appear on stones
shed warmth on my skin
the left of my brow
skin thirsty for light
mind hungry for a relinquishing of troubles
a re-weaving of undone peace
knotted threads
a quest for serenity
if only for a moment.

A monarch butterfly of amber and black
flaps it delicate wings above
small purple flower buds that
bubble toward the sun
reaching as high as they can
like arms of a toddler
asking to be held.

Plump bumblebees with a flower addiction
next to white puffs
cone-shaped florets
long skinny whiskers
and tiny green fingers.

Heart-shaped pancakes expose their flat faces
beside bright yellow blooms
with dark bristled centres
and an agile fly on top.

And there I see it
the fairest of them all
a tall slender firework popsicle
with unborn children dancing below.

Oh, but the baby daisies are just as sweet
as their sunny centres burst brightly
between twenty white petals
as if to say
I'm not a weed!

Spider-like legs splay outward on the tops
of the violet corn-on-the-cobs
next to sad-looking echinacea imposters
and branches with no hope
of ever being as beautiful as the 
honey bee and orange bug
sucking pollen out of the lilac puffs.

It's obvious the dragonflies are having the time of their lives
and that the puny orange hummingbird-wasps are pretty happy too
as they should be
living their simple, purposeful lives
a present moment dwelling
with no past or future
besides the death that awaits
a shrivelling of crispy red leaves
a slow fall to the ground
before blooming brightly again
in this floral wonderland.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Before the Blue


If you could see the clouds
you'd wonder if their edges were made of silver
a stormy pewter billows from their centre
casting shadows on the people and things
moving swiftly,
heavily,
in the sky
before the blue.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Nothingness

Let it die
Solemn words erupt from the speakers of my phone, appropriately,
sitting next to me
by two glasses of water
an old lamp
and a box of tissues

Nothing grounds me more than writing does
a place I go when I need therapy
like hot water boiling over
making a mess
rushing over to take it off the stove.

These days I am listless
nothing really makes sense
I'm either lost in a short-lived crying spell
or consumed by subtle bouts of fear
of what ensues from periods of deliberate nothingness.

Nothingness being my current plan of action
To shift from a state of everythingness, big and bright,
to a partly intentional sheet of grey
a canvas perhaps, white and blank
with a few streaks of pink or purple
it's not all un-lively, you know.

But the truth is that it's very hard to be a habitual non-stopper
an addict of achievement
a chronic over-thinker
a frenetic go-getter
and force yourself to slow things down.

It's hardly forcing, though, when you simply become incapable of things
It's more of a rewiring of sorts
a re-evaluation of ways
a set of questions you begin to ask
seeking answers from places you've never been.

I'm tip-toeing carefully
walking forwards and backwards at the same time
I feel like a zamboni driver
resurfacing all the scratches
the places that need smoothing
a little bit of care
attention to detail
a revitalization of passions left behind in the pursuit of success
a redefining of what makes me truly happy
in the first place.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Burnout / Slowing Down


I remember a friend saying to me, "you're tired but wired", and I thought to myself, "yes, that's exactly it."  Constant late nights, working four jobs at one point, and an unstoppable drive to keep building my business (fuelled by fear of failure, probably). Quite frankly, though, it did pay off.

I never used to consider myself someone with a particularly notable work ethic. I get distracted easily, bored easily, and I'm not always the best listener. But the point is that my limitless drive to succeed in my own business and become self-employed has been a raging fire for years now. All it takes is passion and persistence to go far (at least in my own experience). I've never really ever stopped doing, stopped working, stopped dreaming, or stopped trying to reach my goals. I honestly became a workaholic, and this resulted in two things:

Success
and burnout.

And a couple other things. But for the sake of this blog post, let's talk about burnout. Here's Google's definition:

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.

This burnout has probably been a couple years in the making, certainly so the past 6 months, but the lethargy, lack of motivation, extreme overwhelm, and depression didn't fully hit me until a couple months ago. I had just completed an enormous project, and a few others, and it was like my body just cried out please, no more.

Even during the weeks that I could feel this desperate need to slow down, I couldn't because I'd put so many tasks and deadlines on my plate.

But once the big stuff was all said and done, I kind of just... stopped. I mean, I still did things and showed up, but I couldn't shake this inability to be productive like usual, or to feel inspired, or to want to get work done, or really do anything at all. And I was sad. For a little while I'd feel incredibly guilty about feeling helplessly lethargic, which made things worse, because I wasn't really letting myself relax.

And then I had an epiphany.

I don't want to live like this.

Not only that, but I don't need to live like this. Why am I trying to do so much? It's all too much.

My goal for the past year or so has been to push through fears and live outside my comfort zone, because discomfort is what helps us grow. And I'm forever glad I chose to push myself for a long while because I definitely would not be who I am, know what I now know, or have as much confidence as I do now. But, now I want to sit inside my brand new expanded comfort zone for a while, because I'm f**king exhausted. And besides, I think plateaus are healthy things, too. Just as much as the uphill growth.

So a few days ago I made the decision that I'm going to live slower and more intentional. This will likely shift again at some point, but it's what I feel I really need in my life right now. And I know, these words and concepts are thrown around a lot these days, but this is what slow, intentional living means to me:

  • Doing only as much as is "doable" and feels comfortable for me
  • Anything that stresses me out, is out. (to the best of my ability)
  • Being aware of and taking in my surroundings more (mindfulness)
  • Practicing gratitude more regularly (contentment)
  • Physically moving my body at a slower pace and not rushing
  • Saying no to things that do not serve me or make me feel good
  • Caring less about little things that really do not matter
  • Letting go of perfectionism (a challenge of mine for a while now, but I want to work on this even more)

Alongside these lifestyle shifts, I'm also taking some supplements:
  • Iron. I recently had blood work done to test my thyroid function (based on my symptoms) which came back normal, but was told to take iron. I will share more details of my issues here soon.
  • Ashwagandha. This herb helps reduce cortisol levels (a stress hormone). A recent hormone panel I had done showed excessive amounts.

I can't tell you how good and how right this all feels for me right now. I'm ready for this. I need this.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

A Reflection of 1 Year in Business

It's Thursday morning and Sean just left for work. I'm sitting in our comfy Po√§ng chair from IKEA in the corner of our apartment, above a blue and white rug, nearest the window and sliding glass door. Our two sources of natural light in this tiny space.

I've got a restorative yoga playlist running in the background while I sit here, and a cup of hot green tea steeping on the kitchen counter. It's cloudy this morning and I'm pleased about that. I've been enjoying all the sunshine we've had but I've always loved a good grey day. There's nothing quite like them. I hope we get a big thunderstorm soon.

Q1 and Q2 of this year (as I now call each quarter since running my business full-time) have been very busy for me. The end of July will mark 1 whole year of being self-employed, and it's been nothing short of a dream come true. I didn't know what to expect after quitting my job last summer. Would I be able to make enough money? Will I have enough work to do? What's my plan B if this whole business thing doesn't work out?

But a year later and I've got more on my plate than I anticipated I would. I've reached a place where I feel like I can't quite seem to catch my breath, actually. I've inundated myself with (exciting) projects and varying deadlines, not to mention keeping up with the backend of things or managing an online community of over 150,000 people by myself.

I am in love with what I do. I wouldn't trade it for the world. But it certainly is a lot of work running a business (alone in my case).

Content creation is one of my favourite things about what I do. I get to use my passion for creativity and combine it with the things that matter most to me - wellness, simplicity, natural living - and transform concepts into something useful or inspirational for others. It can also be a little draining at times (like any line of work).

Social media and businesses built upon them such as my own require a constant output of fresh new material almost every day, or at least once a week depending on what platform you're referring to. Although for many, myself included, it's multiple platforms. Such material isn't just a single photo and you're done for the day, it's everything that goes along with it.

If it's video (my primary platform being YouTube) it's brainstorming a concept, gathering/researching information, writing a rough script or outline, filming, directing, producing, editing, and then distributing to the world which involves a whole separate set of steps. SEO, descriptions, associated blog posts, sharing relevant resources, engaging with viewers. And this is just one of the things I do.

I also coordinate and negotiate brand partnerships, create online products and services, manage accounting, email, and email marketing. There's also website maintenance and graphic design, recipe testing and creating, writing and photography, and managing content for multiple social media platforms and their associated communities, incoming messages, questions, and comments.

No matter what your line of work is, there are times when you just feel a little overwhelmed. Although, as I reflect on this past year in business, it's not that I feel like I need a break (okay, maybe I do), it's also that I've needed to improve my organizational skills. My time management has also been a disaster of late, but I've been in dire need of a good re-hashing and streamlining of my processes. Juggling things alone this past year has made my brain feel messy.

So Sean sat down with me last night and together we took a thorough, objective look at my business, the areas that are working well, the areas that need attention, and the areas where I'm feeling a little frazzled. I wrote down a big long brain-dump list in a word document of everything that's felt messy and overwhelming for me, and voila! Some simple day planning and scheduling was re-born.

Somewhere along the lines this year with all the projects I'd been working on (such as creating and launching an online course), I lost sight of the schedule I used to have and instead, my days have been uncoordinated, inefficient, and all over the place. It felt like a physical weight was lifted off my shoulders just by re-creating a simple schedule for me to follow.

And that's that. Here's to another year in business!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Three Daffodils

water dew on green leaf
I saw three daffodils
a whimsical web of raindrops
a canopy sewn together by curly branches
and drowsy green leaves

Little green buds below my feet
like stepping on sweet peas

A trickling of water
rolling down tree trunks.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Bird's Eye View


__

Black socks
folded neatly, in little piles,
a slight bend forward and
a seat on the edge of the bed.

Elbows on thighs
clasped hands
an upward tilt of the head
and a moment for thought.

"Bird's eye view," he says.
As handsome as ever.

And there I sit
fulfilling my writing prompt
of how we'd appear to a white bird gliding overhead
or a black one:
handcrafted boxes side by side
concrete between us
glass in all directions
cars on the streets
and people on sidewalks.

Noises to my right, an open door
it's Friday night and folks are celebrating.

__

Monday, January 21, 2019

Tug of War


Like a wave, it rushes inland
unsuspectingly.

An upward burst, fleeing from the impending flood of thoughts unwelcome;
of vivid imaginations snatching present moments like a thief.

Little streams of fright trickle slowly, convincingly:
a clashing of credence
a harrowing
a tug of war
and swiftly,
a halt.

A sigh of relief
like a wave rushing outward
unsuspectingly.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Saturdays





___


Little droplets of rain
throw themselves gently onto the glass
it's Saturday and the sky is grey
a sheet of cloud, one big blanket across the sky
like a can of paint.

These are the days that ask us loudly, obviously:
"What must you do today that cannot wait?"

And we trot, wayfaring down streets for cups of hot coffee or tea,
or we vacuum the carpets while pondering tonight's dinner
or we wait in line at grocery stores, in liquor stores, in little shops
because Saturdays are the best days for those things.
Saturdays don't yell at us like Mondays do, or Tuesdays.


___




Monday, October 1, 2018

October 1st 2018


It's as dark as seven minutes past nine in the morning can be, what with the rain and all, to my right, out the sliding glass doors of our Juliette balcony.

I love rainy days more than I love many other things, and today I love it especially. There's a healing-ness about them, don't you think?

I woke this morning to the fifth day of this chest cold that's dwindling slowly. I got up and promptly began boiling water. A peppermint teabag rests inside steaming water in a mug on the counter while I write this. I like to let it steep well.

Today I feel things I can't describe: liberated, exhilarated, and deeply, profoundly pensive, in a way I haven't been in many moons. I think it must be partly this illness I'm wallowing in; I'm forced to take a day or two off of my usual work routine to recover, and it's allowing me to focus on some other things I've put on the back burner, like writing just for the sake of writing. It's also fall now, not only by date but by temperature, subtle changes in the hue of leaves, and that otherworldly feeling you get when the chilled air touches your face. I could cry it's so beautiful.

But more than anything, it's October 1st 2018, a brand new month, and I'm plopped right in the middle of all the wishes and dreams I ever had. I'm here, it's here, they're here, and there's nothing else to say but how lucky I feel, how grateful I am, and how I can hardly believe it when I look around me.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Life Is But A Dream

It's nighttime. Half passed eleven. Last night I was awake until 3am, tossing and turning; too hot, and then too cold. It's not typical for me to have trouble falling asleep, but in times like these when your life is in transition, it's what's to be expected, I'd say. At least for someone with my kind of whirlwind brain.

Tonight I sit here for the very last time on this bed. A folded duvet rests by my feet with a cat on top; stacks of books to be taken to the thrift store tomorrow lie on the floor to my left, and my desk is cleared of all papers and pens: only a few bits and bobs are left on top for me to toss into a bag. In the far corner I have two large containers packed neatly with camera equipment, cords, and a few belongings that seemed appropriate to keep. I'm impressed with myself that I've been able to compress most of the contents of my life into a couple boxes and bags.

Tomorrow I enter a brand new chapter of my life. But, this isn't just any chapter.

This chapter is a powerful one. A glossy, shimmery, weighted chapter that represents everything I've ever wished for. It holds every dream I've ever dreamed, and it sits, it waits for me tomorrow morning, to enter it.

I'll be living in a city I dreamed of living, with a person I dreamed of living with and being with and breathing with, and I'll be doing what I've always wanted to do.

Life is but a dream.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

All-Encompassing


___


All of my dreams came true the day I met you. Every single one of them. You're all-encompassing, an embrace, a weaving, a satin scarf; for you I'd live a thousand lives over just to find you like I did that night, a look to my right, a seat by the fire. You are everything, all of it, each tiny fragment of all of my wishes bloomed into light.

___


Friday, September 29, 2017

Wishes


What a beautiful summer it was
every day sunny, even in the rain
visions I once had now crystal clear and on the path before me;
your face in my light, the darkness behind me
everything was worth it, all of it, every little bit

a dancing of sun and moon rising
dreams I used to dream, blooming into life,
truly, there they are, here I am,
my heart is bountiful, my hands holding what were once
words on paper
pictures in my head
visions in my sleep
imagination as wild as ever,
and suddenly you're in front of me
surrounding me, before me, next to me;
everything unfolds smoothly, exquisitely, with you in my life

a hope: it shines outward, beaming its light, showing its face
a wish: it bursts upward, bearing its fruit, unveiling its skin
a dream: it sings, bright and loud, vibrant, like a watercolour painting

visions I once had now crystal clear and on the path before me.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

All My Dreams Are Of You



I love you as the sun promises its light,
with each rise, when there is dew on the grass,
and the moon is beneath us.
I love you as certainly as the soil that blooms life,
with every colour,
and every fragrance,
of soft petals and green leaves.
I love you as sweetly as the softest peach
and the tallest tree,
as gently as the turn of a page,
as effortlessly as the words written upon it,
and as closely as my head is against your chest,
for the fragments fo your soul and mine are one and the same;
each time our eyes meet,
each time we speak,
it is enough for me to love you as surely as the sky
and at night I do not dream of things without meaning
because all my dreams are of you.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

True Love


___

My heart hurts from the
heaviness of love that it
holds for you and for nothing else
you are the butterflies inside
the sweat on my skin when
you cross my mind
the daydreams at noon and
the gaze in my eyes as
I ponder the depths of your
beautiful mind
you glow like nothing but a
star in the sky as it bursts its light
you are the very same shine
as soothing as sand
as delicate as lace
there is no way to orchestrate
a symphony as flawlessly as
your hand fits in mine as we sit side by side
I'm in ruins from your smile
when our fingers intertwine and
the time we watched the sun rise
I can now accurately define
bliss and true love
for the very first time.

___

Friday, May 5, 2017

Thoughts on a Friday


Before me is my bedroom window, just above my desk. It's about eight o'clock and the sun is setting, although the sky is so pale with mist that you can't quite tell.

I have my window open and outside I hear small birds, cars passing by on the street below, leftover droplets of a day drenched with rain; the air is sparkling with tiny beads of water and the grass is far more luscious than you'd think.

I love this time of year. Each time I breathe in the spring air I swear I am healed. I stepped out into my backyard about an hour ago, the sky still falling, puddles left and right and the ground a miniature marshland. I stood there for a few moments, absolutely enjoying the rain.

____

These days I feel eager: so often I'm cooped up in my room working on projects tirelessly, moving forward, swirling to and from work, designing my days; all things I do I do with intention, mostly, and truly I do. I have a plan, or an outline, perhaps, for how I'd like things to unfold, but yet I am also just taking small steps each morning that I wake and mostly I'm just in a state of allowing what's to be and what has already been.

Allowing is a most beautiful state to be in. There is nothing more freeing than allowing: to me this is open arms, open eyes, most definitely an open heart, but more than anything it is accepting at the very same time. Being open to challenges, open to opportunities, accepting of hardships, accepting of accomplishments. The path of least resistance.

At the same time though, might I add, there is an element that is just as importance as sitting back and allowing, and that's doing, too. Getting up and making it happen. Whatever it is. That's what I've been so eager about lately, continuing to create for myself what it is that I feel I'm lacking around me. Never do we need to feel stuck or trapped in one way of living or doing or being, because we are the designers of our world, and this is as thrilling as can be. Even more thrilling is the idea of allowing the outcomes of things, a no-expectation way of living, you know?

Just some thoughts on a Friday.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Bird Therapy


Sunflower seeds and chickadees
soft rolling waves and a chilly breeze
the beaming sun and tall birch trees
I'll take another day like today, please.

______

Today was what I like to call a slow Sunday. After cucumber wine until the early hours the night before, I got up, washed my face, threw on my new sandy grey speckled knit, and drove home to the sounds of one of my favourite bands Needtobreathe. I swear I can never get enough of their songs.

After tidying my bedroom, sorting through paperwork, changing my fish bowl and watering my plants, I stepped outside for a mid-afternoon waterfront walk. It was so refreshing; the kind I've needed for a while. And I suppose it has been a while: winter is long, after all, and sunny days like today aren't easy to come by.

The air was cool but the sun was perfectly warm, and I fed some chickadees right from the palm of my hand. This, my friends, is something I must do more often. Like a bird therapy; a featherlight heartbeat lands on your hand, clasping its tiny claws onto your fingers, just for a moment, to snatch a sunflower seed or half a peanut.

Connecting to the world around us, the real, real world with real creatures and things that live alongside us, is so healing: trees, buds, sprouts, swans, all of it. It's therapy.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Twirling


It's the middle of March, which means it's almost spring, although it's -10 and we just got another delivery of snow.

This winter has gone by so fast - really truly - faster I think than any other winter. I remember the past few winters were drawn-out and unending, depressingly so, but this time 'round I can hardly believe April is only a few moons away. I have much to look forward to the next few weeks: I've got a whole lot on the go right now and I can't wait to see how it all unfolds this year.

_______

So, it's official. I have ceased to remove myself from my twirling mind; the to-and-fro that comes in waves, whispering one thing and then shouting the next, both entirely opposite pieces of advice.

I spoke to counsellors and psychologists in my late teens and early twenties, back when my anxiety was so overbearing that the world around me was as dark and hazy as anything you've ever seen; back when I couldn't seem to make a decision any better than I can now, in some ways, I suppose.

Thankfully, a handful of years later, I'm more confident in my steps than I've ever been, although there's a thing or two that always pulls me backward. I'm going to speak to another psychotherapist this Friday and I am so thrilled about it. Friday can't come soon enough, in fact. I'm nervous though, too, and mostly just hopeful that he'll be able to help me find clarity in all of the spaghetti of questions I have about life, love, moving on, and moving forward.

I'm the kind of person who needs to express how I feel by talking about stuff with people I trust. I am terrible at holding things in when something is bothering me, and this is why counselling is so helpful for me. I think everybody should invest in a few sessions with a therapist at least once in their life, during a time when they need answers, someone to bounce their thoughts off of, or to get another perspective.

For now I am writing down all of the things I am grateful for and I can't tell you why I haven't done it more often.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Morning Light


___

Outside it's quiet and grey, my blinds still drawn, a cat at my feet, and I'm nestled under three layers: cotton, flannel, and a quilt. There are four pillows on my bed and my head rests somewhere between them.

I roll over once, maybe twice, and I peer at my fish across the room swirling gently 'round his bowl. I sit up. I reach across the bed to the window beside me, and I let the light in.

That's my most favourite part of the morning: letting the light in. There's something about morning light, something I don't have a word for.

I think for a moment; occasionally I will open my journal and write a few words, otherwise, I stand up and make my way down the old wooden staircase that creaks loudly. Another opportunity for morning light: the curtains above the kitchen sink are closed. I open them, and the trees in the backyard are awake, the birds are alive, and there are rabbits.

The icy breeze outside prompts me to turn the kettle on. A mug, a teabag, and a seat at the table while I plan my day ahead.

___

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Twenty Six


Today is my 26th birthday.

I booked today off work, a snowy Tuesday that has turned into heavy, slushy rain; but I spent the entire day listening to a meditation playlist, drinking banana-coconut milk, baking grain-free birthday brownies, blushing over the amount of well wishes, and doing a little bit of reading.

This birthday is the very first birthday out of all of my birthdays where I feel a little bit of discomfort. Usually I am lively and ecstatic on my special day, and I love to celebrate, but this time around the sun I'm feeling a little out of sorts.

My birthday is very close to the holiday season, and my holidays this year were a little somber. I found myself unusually wishing for Christmas to hurry up and be over and for New Years to quickly pass. I am still just processing some big, big stuff, and I'm thankful it is 2017, because 2016 was full to the brim with the difficulty of ending a relationship and the rise of some digestive health issues.

I've been spending a lot of time the past little while working on myself and filling up my pockets with a bounty of positivity in the form of affirmations and things of the like. In fact, my bedroom is stocked with tiny little notes of reassuring and encouraging words to keep me from twirling downward into that scary dark hole of anxiety and horrible thoughts. I must say, I feel really great as a result; I wake each morning telling myself my life is unfolding perfectly, that I can handle anything that comes my way, and that I always know the answers.

Being alone is scary, but it's thrilling. Regardless of what's behind me and what's to come, I am happy, and I'm excited about the future. I trust myself, the path I've walked thus far, and the path that's before me - whatever stones and twigs and roses I find along the way.