Spring Cleaning

Today I put my Easter wreath on my front door. Spring brings me such joy. The warm weather, the small pops of color coming from the earth, and the air is filled with moisture again making it easier to breath. I love to tidy my house for spring, and at any time really. Cleaning has brought up an interesting thought for me, how the action of it radically transforms a space and how it positively affects mindset thereafter.

My health journey is a long one. Involving many turning points, ups and downs. I have always struggled with digestive issues, and drinking alcohol has exacerbated the issue. Over the years, my guts have hospatilized me, decreased my energy, made me irrated, caused mood swings, affected my sleep and the list goes on. I have seen specialists, naturopaths and even tried Chinese medicine for remedies. I was looking for one solution and a quick fix for my problematic digestive system. I think partly the problem was me. I was seeking a quick remedy, one way to deal with the my health. My digestive system needed better maintenance, and an overall health reset. I needed to better maintain my mental health, my lifestyle and my eating habits as a whole. There was no quick fix.

Cleaning my house is much like how I approach my health now. It is about maintenance. When I diligently, consistently and deliberately make an effort to eat food that nourishes my gut and engage in regular exercise, my overall symptoms and health improve. I don’t wait until I am sick to act. I clean myself with positive energy, I remind myself why I choose health everyday, I choose the people that are in my life and I take action to create the world that I want. My house doesn’t clean itself, much like my body doesn’t take care of itself. That is my job. 

The momentum that I create by cleaning and tidying my space, energizes me to do more for myself. I create the space I want to live in, much like I create the narrative of my own story. I take ownership of my story and what doesn’t serve me or doesn’t fit I have the ability to clean out. I am able to change and create fresh spaces, and new perspectives at anytime. Not just in one season.

Spring is a wonderful reminder of renewal and new energy. It brings a sense of freshness. Remind yourself that you are also in need of maintenance once in a while. Try on a new perspective, get a fresh haircut, walk a different route, or simply try a new food. Change is cleaning out what doesn’t fit anymore. And what doesn’t fit anymore is not progress. I maintain my health with good habits daily, like cleaning my space, choosing healthy food and keeping an open perspective. This is my progress. This keeps me fresh.

Happy Spring! 

You Can’t Have It All

I wanted it all when I was younger, but now I know that I cannot have it all. The “all” I am talking about is anything really. The perfect house, the best relationships, the ideal job and the list is endless. When I was younger I was wildly ambitious, invincible, courageous, tenacious and fierce. This changed as I got older. Not to say that I am less of these traits but certainly different. As my priorities took form, I started to come terms with the idea that I cannot have it all. The ideal of everything, started to morph into the reality of everything instead. 

I choose to focus my energy on very specific values and principles, and where my focus goes my energy flows. My energy is what gets me to where I want to be in the future. I build my foundation of my life with the energy I create in the world. My emotions help me turn my energy into action then turning my beliefs into reality. I do not have an abundant amount of energy for all of the things in my life and I don’t subscribe to the idea that people have a limitless amount of energy. I know that there is only so much time in the day and so much tolerance from needless noise in life from external forces. If I want to accomplish certain goals I need to be frugal with my energy and time, that means that some people, situations, experiences and opportunities are going to be left behind. What is left behind is not a loss, it is simply a matter of math.

I do a cost benefit analysis of the priorites/people in my life every so often. I look at my situations, relationships and where my future is going and decide what is worth my energy. You simply cannot dedicate yourself to everything and everyone without burning out. Have an honest look at the reality of the situaitons and people in your life, this is a good guide post to where your focus should go. Living in a fantasy world or having great expectations about your life and the people in it destroys your ability to set proper goals. 

In my life my expectations of people were blinding me to who they really were. This set me up for some serious heartache when my energy was wasted from my goodwill or trying to mend or justify arguments. I wanted people to be who I thought they were, not who they actually were. I didn’t give people the space to show me who they were before judging them and not accepting their real selves, in turn branding them with a new personality that fit better to mine. I wanted it all. The perfect relationships, the kind that fit only me. I remedied this by listening to people and hearing how they told on themselves, piecing together their true personalities. The more I listen, the better I am able to make room for others where they belong not where I think they should be.

I peeled off the expectations and the masks I put on others, and organically situations flowed. That meant a little more work on my part, to get closer to achieving healthier and more honest relationships.

My values dictate my way of life and my priorities path the roads I travel on. Just because there are roadblocks, diversions and other nonsense, doesn’t mean I have to quit at what I want to accomplish. Sometimes, I pivot, reorganize or simply rest to feel re-energized again. Just because one area of my life is bad doesn’t mean all is lost. There is good in some of my life and not so good in other parts. I decide where I want to improve, and where or when it is not worth my energy.

One area of my life worth my energy is my marriage but I had some serious expectations of what my married life would look like, how my in-laws would be, how many kids I would have, and where I would live. Nothing turned out like I thought it would, because I don’t have the energy for it all. I have to compromise. There are somethings in my life that are exactly what I wanted and others quite the opposite. The things that I am thrilled with have compounded even more joy from the contrast of the things I don’t have. Let the things that you feel you should have, be the way that they are. You don’t have it because your energy is somewhere else. If you don’t like where your energy is flowing, consider where your focus is growing, that is where your life is going.

Life is not a race it is a marathon. Every chapter in life has its own title, story, plot line and characters. Do not compare your unique chapters with anyone else. Life is different day to day, month to month, year to year and unique only to you. Allow what comes and keep the energy flowing where it needs to be, everything else will unfold.

“You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime
You’ll find
You get what you need”

– The Rolling Stones 

Pushing Yourself Too Hard

This morning when I woke up to a soggy wet winter day, the first thought that went through my mind was, I’m not going for a run today! That’s how the day started, and the mood was set. Negative and irritated. Cue the negative self-talk – I should go for a run, I haven’t gone for a run in a while, I should get fresh air, I’m being lazy and on and on. The “I should” statements were loud and annoying, putting me in a dark frame of mind and discouraged me from being motivated to doing anything at all. I fell down the rabbit hole. This brought up an interesting thought about motivation and the fine line between encouraging yourself to be motivated and pushing yourself too hard.

I have been told in the past, by many people that I am too hard on myself. I think this mostly stemmed from my inability to make proper life decisions and lack of values. So, I concentrated my energy on everything. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I changed my degree at University three times, had multiple long-term relationships with various boyfriends, dabbled in art, had numerous precarious jobs and was wandering from one interest to the next. I wanted to master it all. I gave myself so many tasks to complete by a certain age that I can tell you that almost none of them were completed and most of my accomplishments are only variations of what I expected I would achieve. I think this is where the pushing too hard lives. In the idea that something is “supposed to be”. The “supposed to be” lives in an imaginary concrete world and my life is not so black and white anymore. My motivation and goals are not defined by time. Motivation is something I live every day. 

As my values started to solidify my interests narrowed and it was easier for me to understand what my priorities are. I don’t have to master everything I try. I have goals, but I don’t attach too much expectation and keep an open mind regarding the process. The end product from any goal is almost always something of a variation of what you expect not the exact thing and that is ok. I was chasing an expectation and a certain outcome. Today, I am grateful for the learning process of anything I am studying or reading, any physical activity I am doing and embrace any new situation I am met with, because that is all I can control really. Relinquishing my need to control situations and dropping the rigid timeline has helped me to feel less anxious about the future and I have learned how and what motivates me.

Recently I became a new mom, and this was one of the steepest learning curves I have ever faced. I was anxious and upset that I didn’t know how to be a mom. I asked myself, why I didn’t know how to do this with ease? Simple answer, because I am a new mom. I am so quick to find short cuts to the learning process. There are no short cuts to learning something new! There are no short cuts in life! Read that last sentence again…I am still learning to be a mom.

That is the lesson about pushing too hard. Time will help you learn what you need to know. Be patient. Your values will lead you to where you need to be, the people around you will tell you who you are, and your body will tell you when you want to rest. I think our culture glorifies pushing ourselves to our limits. This in turn puts unrealistic expectations of what we can actually achieve. I’m not a super mom, or super wife or super anything. I take it in one moment at a time and learn from what the moment is trying to teach me. I reflect back in gratitude and see now that despite not checking off what I think I should have done today or ten, fifteen years ago, my experiences shaped and carved out my precious life today.

If you cannot take a moment to appreciate the hard work that is behind you, then the pushing too hard will never end. There lies a fine line between dissatisfaction/survival mode and complacency. Sometimes we need to stop, rest and appreciate where we are before pushing harder. I take pride in honouring what I have been through, how far I have come and look forward to everyday, even on the days that I forgo exercise to sit, broody, on the couch, with a warm blanket and a hot turmeric tea.