Conviction, Fear and Open Hands

March 6, 2015
There is a reason I live like my life is a fairy tale. I think life is art, that our brief assemblage of atoms, our perfectly fleeting and unique DNA, deserves to be expressed as genuinely as possible. I feel like a painting or a hand written letter. Every part of me that I nourish and express builds like layers onto the complexity of my being. I want to be vastly complex, hands wide open. I want to meet with a sea of open hands and living things just as complex, just as genuinely pure and fearlessly expressive.

Judgement

December 12, 2014
Making sense of our world is a complicated feat. I think judgement is born there, in that swelling, electric hub of interacting stimuli. At first a judgement feels useful, a comforting rule that proclaims itself with such assuredness we might not ever question it. I try to be mindful of these voices and weaken them with the scrutiny of inspection. I try to replace my judgements with empathy and presence, not just because it is how I would want to be treated, but because it frees me. Judgements are exhausting, and they do not benefit anybody. Judgement is what keeps us shy—quiet shadows of ourselves, too timid to be authentic, too anxious to step into the fray with our conviction. I dare you to have conviction, to know your values and walk hand in hand with them. Take a bullet, take a judgement. Let go of your expectations and your pervasive rules. Listen to terribly uncool music, express your desires, love who you love, have an opinion, respect opinions. These are the things I try to remember each time I step out my front door.

Respect has many faces

September 26, 2014
When we hear the word respect we might think of the respect we are taught to have for our elders or perhaps people in positions of authority such as a teacher or police officer. What we might not automatically think of is the many other ways in which we can respect or fail to respect each other in our daily interactions with others.

First of all, what does it mean to respect someone? I like to define respect as treating someone the way I would personally wanted to be treated and to show that person that i value their time and feelings. Seems pretty simple right? That does not mean it is always easy, or that we don't slip up without even realizing it. With this in mind, i have jotted down a few examples that i think are common slip-ups for everyone in the respect department.

Being on time: I once had a friend who told me that she had read a Buddhist proverb that equated being late with stealing someone's time from them. That has stuck with me for years and i think it is a really good point. Whenever we are late to meet up with someone or late for an appointment we are stealing time from that person and communicating that we do not respect them enough to make sure to be on time. Obviously there are moments when we really cannot help being late, but if you look at your habits and notice that you are often late, then make a plan to change that behavior. In the end you will feel better about being on time, and the people in your world will feel respected.

Follow through with your plans: Nobody likes to be cancelled on last minute, so why do we do it to each other so often? Interestingly, i feel like this is a social phenomenon that has developed in the past generation or two. Can you imagine your grandma's generation calling up a friend the morning before dinner plans and cancelling? Or worse yet, not showing up and not saying anything at all? Probably not! Let's kick this habit to the curb, even if it means that sometimes we have to leave the couch when we would rather stay home and relax.

Speak politely to everyone: Try to be polite in your conversations with everyone regardless of whether they are your partner, your server, your relative or best friend.

Give respect freely: I can't even count how many times i have heard someone say "you have to earn my respect." What a way to start out with someone! It is like saying "you have to prove yourself to me because i am not naturally respectful toward people i have just met." Everyone deserves respect until they have done something to lose that respect.

Express your gratitude: If someone has done something for you or for society at large, express your gratitude in a meaningful way, whether it be with words or actions. Show them that you respect them by acknowledging their effort and hard work.

Hold on to your judgments: Though being able to empathize is more than just a respect issue, it is important to keep an open mind and hold on to our judgments of other people's opinions, lives and choices, especially when it is not effecting us, or hurting anyone.

That is all I'm going to say on that subject for now. Remember to respect yourself just as much as you respect others!

The Authentic Life

August 25, 2014
It isn't too often that i actually sit down to write about psychological health even though it is something i consider quite deeply. I have to. It is an inherent part of my daily life because psychological well being has never come easily to me. Does it come easily to anyone? Authenticity is a topic that rides along with me every day, a constant companion whether i am consciously aware of it or not. Each time i make a decision i am choosing between authenticity and falsehood. I wear it on my skin, in the words that run through my mind and out of my mouth. It follows me home and lies with me when i sleep.

When i am living authentically, i am being my true self, expressing my desires, feelings, goals and living openly and honestly with myself as well as the people around me. Authenticity is the foundation to my interactions with my world, myself and others. If i am not open, honest and living my own personal truth then my life is reduced to the unsatisfying dust of my own reflection. I become a reflection of what i think i ought to be, rather than what i know that i am. It is so easy to do this in love--to deny ourselves and each other the gift of true expression. Instead, we fearfully shape ourselves into what we believe the other will desire only to stumble over each other after time and familiarity has worn away the pretence. Because of this heart wrenchingly unnecessary ritual, i remind myself as often as i can to be authentic--to fight the fear of rejection, of disappointment, and of being different. In the end it is just easier and kinder to present our real and wonderful selves from the start. Imagine the depth, magic and warmth that can grow between two authentic souls.

Of course, we can not be authentic with each other unless we are first authentic with ourselves, and that is the hardest part. Once we learn how to love, accept and tangle with our own personal truth, it is much easier to express that truth to the world around us. The bottom line returns to my very first entry on this blog. Self love. Love yourself fearlessly. Love that you are loud, or timid, love that you are impulsive or cautious. Own your dreams and your shortcomings. You are not perfect, nobody is perfect. Express your unique self in art and dance and quiet moments. Speak your feelings. Be kind, be generous, be authentic.

Finch

March 30, 2014
Meet Finch, the darling creature that melts my heart every day. She was born February 16th, 2014 sometime in the late morning with her equally darling sister Noluna. The rate at which she grows is insane to watch, she get's heavier and heavier each week and i know it spells the beginning of the end. Someday not too far into the future i won't be able to pick her up anymore. I look at her mother, all 140lbs of her and will time to slow down just a little. It is much more difficult to take a 140lb goat for a car ride, believe me, i have done it.

Wonderful Gems

March 29, 2014
Going back to my previous topic about things that were once staples and are no longer made, are the almighty Canadian made Gem jars. The history of these jars is actually quite interesting, at least for me. Gem jars were made by Bernardin in Ontario for 100 years, and since canning was a much more common occurrence in previous generations, you can imagine how many Canadian households had stockpiles of these jars. However, in 1993 Bernardin was bought by Altrista Corp and the factory in Ontario was shut down less than a decade later. Up until this point, all those Canadian canners with stock piles of Gem jars had been buying the unique 78mm snap lids from the Canadian factory (the only producer of this particular lid). With the shutting down of this factory, there were suddenly hundreds of thousands of useless Gem jars sitting on people's shelves. Luckily, many thousands of highly disgruntled Gem users created enough of an uproar with petitions and protests that the jar lids were put back into production in 2003 and have remained in production since then. Thankyou Gem users everywhere, and especially the woman who started that petition over ten years ago, Paulette Lysyshyn.

Spools Out of Time

March 29, 2014
Recently i have inherited a menagerie of wonderful antique family items including a harmonica, a strange and wonderful tiny spoon collection, a calligraphy quill and ink set, old recipe boxes and wooden thread spools from the 60s. These wooden thread spools are really mesmerizing to me, and if you know me at all, you know why. Anything that is an item that is no longer made, but was once a staple of the household is absolutely enthralling to me. Originally, people had to buy their thread in skeins, can you imagine? What a mess that must have been. In 1846 a man by the name of John Clark invented a machine that wound thread onto these lovely little wood spools. It was aptly named the spooling machine. Sometime in the late 70s wooden spools were traded in for the ever more popular plastic or Styrofoam spools that we know and hate today. However, many of these wooden spools still exist in mass quantity and i am sure that i am not the only crazy person winding new thread on to empty wooden spools.... I'm sure.

George the Scoby

March 18, 2014
I have named my recently aquired scoby George. I felt he needed a name since he will be with me for some time to come. That is the nature of kombucha scobys, which are made up of the friendly, sugar eating bacteria known as acetobacter. Though they may look terrifying, they are incredibly good for the human body. Over the next ten days, George the scoby will metabolize the sugar and the caffeine in the green and black tea i have cooked up, creating a final product full of probiotics, vitamins, amino acids and enzymes. George doesn't stop there though, once this batch is done, he will go on to do another batch, and then another, and another... You get the picture. This particular batch was done with one organic black tea bag and three organic green tea bags in 3 litres of boiling water and one cup of organic fair trade sugar. After the 7-10 days have passed i will add about a litre of apple juice and bottle the entire mixture into resealable beer bottles where they will ferment for a second time for 4 days.

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