Things I’ve learned… (#3)

since the last time I did this exercise which was in November of 2019.

1. People ARE fantasically creative helpers. Sure, there are a few bad apples but mostly we are all decent human beings. Here is an excellent written piece that covers it all in greater detail. I touched on this in March but it bears repeating : A Pandemic restored my faith in humanity! We can do good and we ARE doing good. I just love us!

2. I have a lot of specific skills that were sure under appreciated by both my former self and society. But wow, those skills are valuable now!

3. Bergamot is a fruit! I somehow thought it was an herb or a root…I had no clue that it was a citrus fruit until I went searching to buy some to add to my tea. Too funny!

4. You can make yeast out of so many things! Potatoes…dried fruit…I’ll be giving this all a try in the coming days. And posting it all here of course!

5. I’m an introvert so while extroverts were freaking about not being so social anymore, I was laughing. I was BORN FOR THIS! I haven’t suffered nearly as much as my more extroverted peers. But then as the weeks passed, I noticed that I was REALLY looking forward to grocery shopping. I was extra,extra chatty with the poor cashiers and other shoppers. I realized this: I still need human interaction. Fuck! My social needs for other humans may be less than other people. But I still need them. Shocking.

6. Whisky and Pepsi is as good as Rye and Coke. The Pepsi is light tasting enough so as to not over power the whisky. Plus it doesn’t go sickly sweet when it warms over time. I have always been a firm Coca Cola girl but ya know…Pepsi has its place.

7. My boy is climbing his mountain of recovery with determination and good humour. I feel like its safe for me to meet him where he is and walk alongside him now. ❤

How about you? What have you learned lately?

A – Z Challenge – Feminism

With thanks to Merriam- Webster:

1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

2: organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests

I did not know, the shit storms that would blow into my life when I became honest with myself and all others in regards to feminism.

I did not know the people I would lose respect for and the relationships I would end.

I did not know the fights I would have. The sadness and hopelessness I would feel. The tears I would cry. The rage I would expel. The fear I would feel.

I did not know the lessons I would learn. The wisdom I would gain through the people who would teach me. The biases I would confront- internal and externally.

I did not know the assholes I would face, the strength I would develop. The clarity I would feel.

I did not know and I still don’t know, the lot of it.

This is an ever evolving journey.

COVID 19 Anxiety.

How are you holding out? Are you feeling anxious?

I thought I was doing pretty good until I noticed I was sniping at my husband and growing more scattered than normal. A stranger on an article about anxiety mentioned in the comments that she felt like her head was going to “pop off” and my light switch flipped on. That’s how I was feeling too!

The great thing about this was that as soon as I recognized it in myself, I felt better! I’m doing pretty good now. Still anxious but not unaware and able to take action to care for myself, as needed. Here are some things that helped me. I hope, if you are feeling anxious too that they may help you ❤

1. Be open and honest about your feelings with your friends and loved ones.

My Hubs was able to cultivate so much more patience and understanding for me once he learned why I was suddenly being such a bitch to him. My friends flooded me with love and support too, which had a very real bolstering effect! Not only that, my openness has helped others open up about their own mental health and that has further built and strengthened my community AND given me a sense of pride and purpose, which in turn allows me to focus on something other than DOOM!

2. Realize that feeling anxiety now is completely normal!

Anxiety is a normal response to an abnormal situation. These are SCARY times! You are not over reacting if you feel afraid. You are a human being having a biological response to real danger. Our bodies are designed to feel this way, during times like this. It all feels awful by design. You’re doing nothing wrong.

3. Do something physical if you can to move that anxious energy out of your body.

If you already have an exercise routine, keep it up. Adapt it if you need to, but be sure to keep at it. If you don’t, try going for a walk. (If you can. Away from other people, obviously) I know I personally always feels better after a walk.There is lots of science that confirms the great benefits of this form of exercise. If I cant get outside, I walk in my house. Seriously. That’s how much I believe in walks for good health. There are a ton of other amazing things you can do to work that anxiety out. Yoga, dance, weight lifting -use cans if you don’t have weights- clean your house! Take up a craft..do something physical. It doesn’t matter what, as long as you like doing it. Joyful movement is an excellent balm.

4. Find humour in things. Seek it out!

Oh the memes. The memes! What a time to be alive! The memes are amazing! People are so clever, so artistic and hilariously funny. I have spent more time laughing than I have worrying, that’s for damn sure. Find your own favourite source for humour. Laugh. Just laugh. Seek out the absurd. There is science to back up how important this is too. Have yourself a good giggle!

5. Seek out the good.

These ARE scary times, and some people are acting like jerks but there are way more decent humans than not. Find those people! Focus on them. Be that person yourself! Here, I’ll get you started. When I popped up to the store to grab some groceries every single human was acting decent. Yes, the fear was palpable but no one was freaking out and people were helping one another! ( I helped a lady who couldn’t read English.) I saw countless people reaching up on the top shelves for those who couldn’t and people were not clearing out the food. They were careful to leave stuff for others. I came home feeling happy, yes happy! It’s nice to know we haven’t lost our kindness.

I belong to three groups on Facebook devoted to helping others during this time. People are going out their way to assist those in need. My own friends have offered up their libraries to me! Delivered straight to my door step! ❤

Countless artists online are making art for others-free! I’ve seen a Jann Arden show and Keith Urban too. Other organizations are opening up online content for free as well. Goodness still exists. Look for it.

Our world is going to be changed by this massive event. YOU are going to be changed as well. May you find peace, comfort and a wee bit of joy where you can. Love and squishy hugs to all of you!

Love to LOVE! This Girl.

Since it’s February and everyone is going on about love. And since I’m a rebel and since I believe there is more to life/love than romantic love. And since I believe other kinds of love are even superior to romantic love, I bring you:

Love to Love, my theme for the month, where I’ll be sharing some of my loves, with gratitude and appreciation and of course, encouraging you to do the same.

It’s basically my “keep a little list” stretched out over a month!

I figure if I’m going to be assaulted by red hearts and roses everywhere in turn, I’m going to assault right back with my better version.

THIS GIRL.

This is my 20 something year old daughter who in her own right is a damn fine human being. She’s loving and sensitive and kind. She’s always fiercely loyal and fiercely brave, once standing up for her older brother to an adult when she was 5 years old.

This girl taught me about love and kindness. Seriously. I learned it first through her. She is generous of spirit and I feel blessed to know her. I cant believe she’s my girl! It astounds me daily.

I’m thinking about her today because this kid recently paid me the highest compliment, two actually. 1. She says I can homeschool her kids if I want. (Guess I didn’t screw THAT up too badly, ha ha) 2. She’s offered me up to her friend in need for a Mum talk, because her friend needs a Mum right now and doesn’t have access to hers and I’m ” really good at those loving, supportive talks “

Melt my heart!

Of course I’m flattered and heartened by her words but more than that, she always seems to know exactly what a person needs and then she gives them that. I’m not an Angel person but if I were, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that this girl is a real life one.

I don’t know where she got it from. It seems to have come up through her from somewhere. I think it must be magic.

Did you know that next week it’s Random Act of Kindness Day on February 17th? So fun! Click here for ideas and more info.

Now, how about you! Who first taught you about kindness?

Love and Squishy Hugs!

New Year. Same Awesome You.

Happy New Year!

I love the fresh start of a new year but I detest all that “New Year, New You” bullshit.

It feels violent towards the self.

It feels like – YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH! FIX YOURSELF!- and I’ve gotta tell you, I’ve already wasted TOO MANY of my good years on that scam. I’m not doing it anymore. I just can’t.

How can I claim to love who I am and then try and change who I am?

It just doesn’t make sense to me.

I am a perfect being of…light…energy…spirit…whatever you want to call it, and YOU ARE TOO!

Yes, I’m yelling. I feel strongly about this one.

It just seems like such a waste of precious time. We only get so long to live and I don’t want to waste it bullying myself with a hate campaign disguised as self improvement.

So instead I use this time of year to refocus and refresh.

I choose a word that I use as a guidepost throughout the year and my 2020 word is:

FLOW

Flow came to me over the Summer. I was enjoying life, flitting from one thing to another without an anxious thought or judgement. Simply living in the moment, mindful of the moment and nothing else. I had been in flow for about a month before realizing what it was and because it felt so good, I thought it’d make a good word for the next year.

So here I am, in flow.

This word serves as a reminder to let things go. To focus on what is at hand. To let the thoughts come and go as they will. To take each second as it comes with full acceptance. To step into the flow of life with gratitude for the experience and see where it takes me.

I’m excited for this one! It feels like freedom.

Do you choose a word to start off your year? Care to care?!

How about resolutions? I found a really great take on resolutions here for those of you who like to make them.

May your 2020 be everything you wish for ❤

2019’s Biggest Lesson

Remember when I went to Tanzania, started to write about it, then never finished?

Ha Ha Ha!

It’s coming. Truly.

Truly,truly, truly!

I brought something back from Tanzania that was far greater than stories and photos and I will actually share that with you today.

For real.

No kidding.

I’m not even lying.

I’m not really a goal oriented person. I’m happy to live my life, floating along this way and that. Travelling to Tanzania was the ONE thing in my life that I wanted to do.

I wanted to see the animals and the landscape. I wanted to bask in the beauty and the wonder of a place that was so different from my home. I imagined doing so would bring magic and meaning into my life and the experience was most magical. My time there was positive and special and full of meaning and emotion.

And then* poof* it was gone.

I lived every moment of that time. I was the most mindful muthafucka there ever was ! I squeezed out every last drop of experience I could. I let the whole thing sink into my very being and when I got home life was the same as it ever was.

One minute I was there, the next I was not. One minute I was surrounded by magic, the next it was like I’d never even gone. (Did I go? I mean I know I have the photos…)

After the post trip depression cleared and I got my working brain back I was struck by the greatest piece of wisdom I’ve gained this year.

I think I’d come back from a fun weekend with family. It might have been Miss. Sassafras’s dance recital, when my mum in law was in town and my family enjoyed dinner together and lots of love and laughs.

It might have been when I had my goodbye chat with Carolyn. When it became really clear that she was not going to outwit cancer, she was not going to live with it as a chronic condition. She was going to die. And she was going to die soon.

It might have even been a day when I was sitting on my porch in the sun having a chit chat with a wild crow.

I don’t know. But it came and it grabbed me and it stuck. I am ever grateful.

The Big Moments are fleeting. They do not last.

You might think they will because they GIGANTIC but they slip right through the hands. They may be grand and spectacular but in the scheme of all things, they are just small compared to this:

The seemingly small bits in the everyday that become HUGE. These are the things that add up, to make up a life. These are the things that matter. That count. These are the things that stick with you and glow far brighter than the big moments.

A smile from a loved one. Their smell, their laugh. Going out for coffee with a friend, your partner making you a cup of tea. Family dinners, neighbourhood walks. Birds chirping, the furnace roaring to life in the dead of Winter.

The small bits of the every day are the things that sustain us , without us even knowing and become what matter most in the end.

Go and do the big things

Then come home and make a good life, in all it’s perfectly ordinary, spectacular glory. Really focus on that.

Home, family and friends.

That’s where it’s at.

According to me 🙂

What’s been your greatest lesson of 2019? What did your Inner Wise Owl tell you? Won’t you share?

❤ Love & Squishy Hugs.

Things I’ve Learned #2…

since the last time I did this little exercise!

1. I know what I want to be when I grow up!! A consistently warm and friendly person with superb social skills, who makes people feel safe and valued in all interactions.

2. The thru hiker community is AMAZING! I’m not even hiking a thru hike and I’m meeting the nicest, most supportive people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, in my life!

3. I am a hard ass about a lot of things. And sometimes I use “integrity” as a high and mighty excuse for that flaw. It’s fine to be rigid about some things but its a good idea to question yourself sometimes to make sure you’re being rigid about things that really matter and not just things that trigger your fear and ego.

4. Vanilla Chai Latte’s from Tim Hortons are really good! I was worried they’d be lacklustre but they are pretty tasty indeed. If you don’t want to pay the dollars, you can easily make one at home. Make some chai with half water/milk. Sweeten to taste. Add a splash of vanilla. Heat and whizz up some milk, float on top and finish with a sprinkle of the chai spices of your choice!

5. Homemade soup is the way to go. I mean, I KNOW this, but it’s always seemed easier to just open up a can and heat it up. I don’t think I can do this anymore. I made Split Pea and Ham Soup the other day in my crockpot and it was ten times better than canned. AND it took hardly any effort at all. I mean sure, I made stock from the bone and picked off the meat but the reward was worth it in the end. I chopped a few things and then let it all cook away until a glorious -but ugly, sorry no photos- thing was born.

Now I’ve got servings and servings of homey goodness in the freezer, just waiting for me ❤ I think I’ll try my hand at Italian Wedding Soup next…Do you have a favourite soup recipe to share?

|How about you? Have you learned anything new lately?

In Sync

In my quest to suffer less from a wonky seasonal brain, I’ve become very aware of the seasons and how they change.

( Although to be fair, I am an Earth Child anyway )

Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

A few Winters ago, I realized that while we count the Solstice as the beginning of Winter, it really wasn’t, seasonally speaking. Solstice is when the light comes back and we begin our slow climb back to Spring. It just didn’t make sense to me that Winter began then, when we were returning to the light… it seemed Winter began much earlier!

Anyone who lives in a Northern climate knows this, even if they don’t KNOW they know this. We know that snow before Halloween is light and impermanent. It’s not going to stick around long. But snow after Halloween is a different story! That’s the stuff that stays, along with the much colder temperatures. After Halloween is when weather gets real. November 1 felt like the true start of Winter to me.

Photo by Todd Trapani on Pexels.com

Once I learned this for myself, I started to question the other seasonal discrepancies. Spring starts at the Equinox, right? Sometime in mid March.

Well, if you’re paying attention you may notice Spring in the sky at the beginning of February instead.

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

How about Summer? June 21 is the Solstice…BUT it always felt like Summer in late April/early May. Right around May 1!

Photo by Valeriia Miller on Pexels.com

The Solstice is the mid point of Summer. The days start their descent into darkness. How can any of us call this the beginning?!

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

When did you notice Fall this year? For me, it was in the end of July. But the Equinox and start of the season isn’t until mid September! Doesn’t the Equinox really feel like the middle of Fall? We’ve all “called” Fall, well before the Equinox!

Photo by hiwa talaei on Pexels.com

Our calendar doesn’t match up with reality. No wonder I feel so discombobulated! I’ve been out of sync with Nature for most of my life!

I came across an excellent piece that finally put all the pieces together for me. The author puts into words all the things I’ve noticed and reading it was clarifying! Way more cohesive than my jumbly observations. Written by Hyggejem on their blog – How to hygge the British Way- this FABULOUS post, tied it all together. Humans have been noticing these things too and celebrating them, most differently than we do currently, since forever! Go and have a read. I hope it resonates with you too!

I’m changing the way I mark the seasons now too. This appeals to my witchy self of course but mostly, it just feels right. More in tune with reality. In sync.

How about you? What do you think?

Monday Ramble, Sun, Storms, Food, Bears, Death.

HellOO Friends!

Thank you SO much for your patience with the dead air here on HeartStyle and my personal inattention! Something happened last week that switched my brain into sad mode, so … I was sad and let those feelings reign.

This weekend wasn’t sad though. I woke up on Saturday and it was SUNNY! It’s been storming for AGES here and the day felt like waking up to Spring all over again. So I read an excellent book and went for an excellent walk and bought a Slurpee that was SUPPOSED to be excellent but was not.

Because instead of Lime, I got MELON. Yuck! I should have known by the colour. The sign said Lime but it was lies. ALL LIES!

OH well, it was cool and I was hot!

On Sunday, we went to K-Days here in the city and that was fun. We walked around and ate all the things:

These are just what I took pics of. I also had a brisket sandwich and a Butterbeer cone and a Beaver Tail…I may have to go back for the fried chicken skin! We got into K-Days for FREE thanks to our library cards. So thanks EPL! We had fun and I appreciate the treat! ( K-Days are formally known as Klondike Days and it’s basically an exhibition and fair)

Sooooo, what made me so sad?

One of my husband’s drivers was killed in a crash while working.

He was on his last trip of the week, heading home.

He was young and married to his beloved. He loved motorcycles and cats.

His death was so shocking to everyone. Like a lightening strike out of the blue. And so damn sad. The rainy, stormy weather at the time definitely matched the hearts of all who learned the news.

This experience taught me a lot. My end of life doula skills came in handy in supporting my husband and hopefully through him, the driver’s wife, but sudden death is a whole other thing all together. I knew that….but I did not KNOW that. I’m forever grateful for the lesson.

And you know, it felt “good” to be sad. To allow myself to be sad. I didn’t know this fellow but he was still a part of my everyday life through my hubs. It felt like feeling sad was a way to honour that he had lived. It felt like a very important thing to do.

Today the rest of us are alive, and the sun is shining again.It’s supposed to be HOT. No thunderstorms for the next little bit but just in case:

I kind of like the idea of yelling Bring it on ASSHOLE to a tornado, ha! That’s a whole mood right there 🙂 As is the last don’t too…everything changes.

This is also a MOOD! Although you know, I was outside with tons of people yesterday and I loved it! I think fairs are one of my favorite things. The delicious smells, the clacks and clicks and clangs of all the rides. The music blasting. The little kids. The people dressed in all sorts of different get ups…Mind you give me TOO much of that^ and I’m right back to this meme again, ha ha.

Well. THAT answers that question. 🙂 Have you ever seen bear poop? It’s pretty neat stuff, especially during berry season. I accidently touched it once when I was checking to see how old it was. One of my many claims to fame 😛

I haven’t tried that new aging app thingy because all I need for that is the mirror but still, this made me laugh. Then cringe. Then ponder…

Only if you’re lucky. My newest, fondest wish is that I die peacefully in my sleep. That’s my wish for all of us. Happy being alive day, to YOU ❤

Love & Squishy Hugs.

Dumpster Fire Blues.

The world is a Dumpster Fire at the moment and it’s been really getting to me. I am an anxious, pissed off, exhausted mess.

With yesterday’s energy hangover from four days with my squishy faced boy, it was especially bad. Had the world been hit by an asteroid, I would have been happy to go 🙂 but today after some rest and self care, I seem to be back to my normal self.

(The next time you’re “in a mood” remember that rest, food, water and self love are a curative thing and take care of yourself before you write yourself and the whole word off ❤ )

I’m still angry, tired and scared but with my energy stores refueled I know I can get through it all. Besides, all is impermanent.

Thank Goddess for that! Because see above re: Dumpster Fire.

( I am SO curious about HOW though! Will people finally come to their senses soon? Natural progression of our world? War? Civil uprising of everyone hurt by this racist system ? Civil uprising of *PWU and their allies? Gaia finally has enough and shakes us all off? )

*People with Uteri

I really, really, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, hope this is all just the final push before we evolve into a better, more enlightened group of humans but I just don’t know and I can’t control any of it.

It would be easy to say I’m just focussing on the negative but holy hell, there is a LOT if negative shit happening! I may not be able to control it but I CAN control myself -mostly- and so I’ve joined the Pro-Life Coalition and a few underground networks working to help people with uteruses get the medical care they need. I’m very busy online being a strong voice for choice, body autonomy and all the rest too.

I’m educating myself better on racism and stopping to observe police interactions with POC whenever I come across them, and I’m calling out hatred, discrimination and injustice when I see it too. People think Canada is a safe place with very little racism…yeah…NO! It’s always been there, hidden under our polite veneer. I don’t know whether to thank the Orange Asshat for inspiring such openness or revile him as usual. I guess it’s “easier” to fight when it’s out in the open but it’s awful all the same.

I’m doing my small part to be a responsible citizen of the Earth and not damage our natural mother any further. Plastic! UGH! We are absolutely surrounded by it! It all just makes me want to cry.

I call out and educate where I can about all kinds of different things -take your pick, there are many to choose from!

I’m practicing mindfulness and open friendly compassion for all. Especially those who are hurting others. Even though I’d really like to punch them straight in the fucking teeth. ( Just in case you think I’m some sort of saintly human…)

I know that while none of this is enough to change this fucked up situation we’re in, if each of us DOES SOMETHING, the collective CAN and WILL affect positive change.

I can’t sit by and watch the world burn. I can’t sit by and watch people suffer.

It’s very tempting to turn it all off. Avoid all media. Stop talking to my fellow humans. It’s OH SO TEMPTING to switch myself into Super-Duper Positive Lael, the being I turn into during times of stress who ignores all the bad stuff and lies to herself about what she’s witnessing and feeling. Or I could move myself out into the middle of fucking nowhere and go off grid…or hey invent a magic potion that enables me to go to sleep and wake up when this is all over.

What a luxury those choices would be!

But alas, if we all did that, those fuckers , ahem, hurting people who are hurting others would win and we can’t have that. I WON’T have that! Onward I go. I just need to be all dramatic about it first ❤

If you need to take a break from it all , take that break! If you need to scream for an hour in a field…SCREAM! If you need to do nothing but blast your favourite music and pull weeds furiously, do that!

Let’s just make sure we meet back here in a little bit and regroup 🙂