I Love…

I learn so much from my current and former students (I call them FAMILY) and today’s post is a great example. Sometimes in the midst of change, challenges or adversity, you have to remind yourself of what makes your heart happy.

Here is Kayla’s answer to “What do you love?”. Thank you my darling for allowing me to share your beautiful heart with others:

I love to act. I love to dance. I love to spin and move until my head gets dizzy and my mind is in a haze. I love to sing at the top of my lungs while driving down the highway after school or going to the movies. I love when the wind dances through my hair and I get chills down my spine. I love the summer. I love the fall. I love the look of the leaves when they turn from green to yellow…and then yellow to orange. I love seeing dragonflies in August and how they make me feel safe because they represent my uncle who passed away and it makes me feel like he’s protecting me. I love strawberries and red grapes. I love laughing. I love the feeling you get when you catch yourself smiling for no reason at all…just because you’re happy. I love music that makes you feel; that soothes you; that makes you think. I love bubble baths and getting manicures. I love bright lipstick and I love big comfy sweaters. I love shoes. Oh do I LOVE shoes….I love the colour purple and orange and mixing pink and orange together so it looks like rainbow sherbet. I love having my green tea every morning by 10:00 am. I love wearing fuzzy socks to bed. I love looking at pictures of Paris. I love writing. I love pug dogs… because they are so helpless and adorable and weird and they make me happy. I like poetry about love and friendship. I love old movies. I love weird shaped rings. I love glitter and things that sparkle. I love getting crazy nail designs. I love yoga. I love doing something that is so incredibly hard and then accomplishing it…and that feeling you get afterward that screams I DID IT! I love feeling fearless. I love feeling at peace. I love skiing in the winter time and flying into the air, not knowing whether you’re going to fall on your face or if your skis will find the snow in the right place. I love going to the beach and going for walks in the park in the late afternoon. I love to run. I love girl’s road trips and stopping to take silly side-of-the-road pictures to give evidence to our adventure. I love my dad’s homemade soup on a cold day… or any day. I love when he calls me and somehow knows exactly what to say to make me feel better. I love my best friend. I love how I feel like she is exactly me in a different body form…yet she is so uniquely herself…and she is such a beautiful person. I love Winnie the pooh. I love floating down the channel in Penticton and feeling so out of control and yet liberated at the same time. I love singing in front of the mirror to Cheap Trick and swooning over Jack Johnson while driving to work on Saturday mornings. I love finding quotes that make me smile. I love printed scarves. I love walking through Yaletown. I love adventuring in downtown Toronto and deciding last minute which street to turn onto next. I love shopping! I love the smell of brown sugar perfume and the taste of coconut. I love carrot cake on my Mom’s birthday. I love how my family knows that I love chocolate covered almonds and green tea gingerale….and that they always seem to end up on my bedside table when I’m ill. I love laughing until my throat hurts and I’m literally rolling on the floor. I love lying flat on my bed staring at my roof feeling so infinitely free and full of life and a grin creeps onto my face and I feel like hugging myself. I love not knowing what I’m going to do tomorrow, but knowing that it doesn’t matter as long as I’m with a certain someone. I love feeling rebellious. I love running and sliding on linoleum floors with my socks on and doing air guitar while belting out the lyrics to “What I Like About You” by the Romantics… I love talking until the sun comes up. I love Finding Nemo. I love going to the movies and sharing popcorn on Tuesdays. I love the smell of orchids when you first step outside in Honolulu. I love going outside right after it has stopped raining. I love letting the sun dry my skin after going swimming. I love the gingersnaps our neighbour brings us at christmas time and how they are always still warm when I open the tin. I love seeing couples…especially old couples, who are so in love I can’t help but smile and admire the magic that is between them. I love the idea of having a soul mate. I love going to see live music at small, cozy pubs and coffee shops. I love sipping tea and having conversations that makes my heart ping. I love incorporating my own weird, personal dialect whenever I can. I love making people think. I love learning something new or finding a song that makes me say to myself: How did I not find you sooner? I love listening to a new song over and over again until I memorize the lyrics and make my own meaning of them. I love feeling alive.

It’s such a great answer; I love it! She’s inspired me to start my own list…I encourage you to do the same!

With a smile,

Tina

Speak With Integrity

We are all aware of the BULLYING that is happening in our schools and on line via social media. We tell our kids to SPEAK UP about the abuse but also for others to STEP UP and defend those getting bullied.

WE TELL THEM BULLYING IS WRONG.

Well, have you heard the news that 22 year old professional tennis player, Rebecca Marino has retired from her sport? She mentions part of the reason for leaving is due to challenges with depression which she’s battled for many years. She is currently on medication, working with a counselor and has the support of family and friends around her. She also mentions she is no longer as passionate about tennis and her priorities have changed.

I admire her wisdom and courage at such a young age. What I want to address is the other aspect of her decision. She received a lot of NEGATIVITY via social media. The cyber bullying, criticism, judgments and cruelty became too much.

WHAT KIND OF EXAMPLE ARE WE TO OUR CHILDREN IF WE ARE BULLYING AS ADULTS?

We feel we have the right to spew our NEGATIVE JUDGMENTS onto athletes, actors, singers, and anyone in the public eye…anyone with any social media is at risk.

It’s easy to be CRUEL when you are not face to face because you don’t see the CONSEQUENCES of your words and how they IMPACT that individual.

We seem to feel JUSTIFIED because we think they have a glamorous life, lots of money and a support system to protect from the negativity.

We forget they are human.

They have feelings.

They are affected by words and their families are also affected by this negative energy.

We forget they may have ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, OVERWHELMING STRESS or PRESSURES to be perfect, without mistakes or a bad day.

We forget their life is under a microscope all because they chose a field they love: music, film, sports, politics etc.

We love to criticize, critique and berate their performances.

It is one thing to disagree with something someone has said, or dislike someone’s music or be frustrated with your hockey team; it is another to cruelly rip them to shreds with words sharper than razors.

You can disagree or have an opinion and still express your thoughts with RESPECT and INTEGRITY.

I live in Vancouver and I get so weary of the love/hate relationship with our hockey team, the Canucks.

Think about being in their situation: The world posts photos of you tagged with headlines that are derogatory…people scream angrily at you during a ‘game’…one minute you are esteemed as the best, the next everyone turns on you and you are a loser, an idiot…no good…get off the ice…such venom thrown at you, for what? For doing your best? For being human? Because one day you’re on fire and another day you may be more tired, anxious or stressed or the negativity creeps into your performance?

I know, I know, they are getting paid really well and ‘should’ be above such things.

THEY ARE HUMAN.

They worked their butts off and sacrificed to become professionals. We don’t know their personal struggles and what obstacles they have overcome or deal with on a daily basis. We haven’t walked in their shoes.

Before you judge, remember we ALL have a story.

We need to be accountable for our words.

We need to be an example to our children so they understand BULLYING IS NEVER OKAY.

It always starts with one person: You

Speak with integrity or don’t speak at all.

With a smile,

Tina

 

Why Am I Happy Today?

I can see blue skies and sunshine! In Vancouver, the consistent rain and low grey ceiling of clouds and darkness can get to you…when it’s a beautiful day I feel GRATEFUL, HAPPY and I SMILE from the inside out.

I had a fantastic meeting yesterday that filled up my inspiration tank which was running a little low. My energy is now higher; my vision is clearer and I know what I have to do. It doesn’t mean the task is any less daunting or scary, but to RECEIVE REINFORCEMENT, ENCOURAGEMENT, LOVE and SUPPORT, I feel my foundation has been strengthened. I have been told I give and give and give and I need to receive. Yesterday I received and for that I am GRATEFUL.

I made a BIG DECISION that had been weighing on my shoulders for a couple of months. I HAD TO FACE MY REALITY…what actually is happening in my life, not what I thought I should be experiencing in this moment. Once I processed (I cried, ranted, felt sorry for myself and I think I exhausted all possible negative emotions), I FELT LIGHTER AND EMBRACED THE CHANGE.

I will write more on this later but life is like a dance: Sometimes you lead; sometimes you follow; at times you step backwards and then you step forwards; you spin around and around; you embrace; you let go; you dance alone; you dance together but you are always moving to the grace and beauty of the music and how it stirs your soul.

Honestly, I have many challenges ahead of me; it’s called LIFE and like dancing it’s finding the BALANCE and GRACE. As I was told yesterday:

Tina, just like you ran your 40k on your 40th birthday, you have to take it one step at a time.

It’s absolutely true. It can get overwhelming to think of everything you have to do, where you want to go, how you want to make a difference in the world, what will create an impact in someone’s life, and the steps to make sure your own needs are being taken care of…but just like my training for 40by40…I started by focusing on 10k first and I celebrated each milestone of the journey.

CELEBRATE. I had lost sight of that concept and I’m grateful for the reminder!

YOU. I AM SO HAPPY YOU ARE HERE. I HONOR AND RESPECT THE VERY ESSENCE OF WHO YOU ARE AND THE BEAUTY YOU BRING TO MY LIFE.

THANK YOU FOR BEING YOU.

What’s the point of having a great day if you don’t pass it on to others? I hope this day treats you with kind and loving hands. ENJOY!

With a smile,

Tina

 

Love Letters

Dear Love:

I write this letter on behalf of many who don’t believe in you or who have grown weary of your games…

I used to think you were elusive, only for those lucky enough to have found you playfully skipping stones in the early morning sun…

You seemed aloof… staying one step ahead, turning around long enough to catch my eye, so I would quicken my step…but you would race ahead and I would lose you among the sea of faces before me…

I searched for you everywhere…in a bar, a lonely cafe, across the street, in a movie, a book or an old photograph…I yearned for your touch, I longed for your soft voice to whisper in my ear…my heart ached for you…my mind wandered…

It was strange wanting something so much my whole body ached for it…being so lonely for something that I had never held in my hand…

WHY COULDN’T YOU FIND ME?

Was I LOST? Was I INVISIBLE? Was I not destined to feel such emotion…such depth…why were you hiding? Do you not exist?

I see you in the lives of others but not my own…I concluded, YOU DO NOT EXIST FOR ME.

I stare out my window, looking through the blinds as the world passes me by…as YOU pass me by…I sit alone, tears escape from my eyes…

Love, you have abandoned me and I don’t understand why…can you explain?

Confused and concerned,

Tina (on behalf of so many hurting hearts)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Tina:

My sweet child, thank you for asking…I will speak to you and to all the others who feel as you once did…

You do not see. You do not see the beautiful person before you, nor do you see the warmth, grace and light you bring to the world.

You do not have to search for me…I am not elusive, aloof or hiding from you…nor are you invisible or unworthy of my presence…

YOU ARE THE LOVE YOU SEEK.

LOVE is the essence of who you are…you do not have to search for it…it is already inside you…longing to be shared…yearning to be appreciated…hoping you will recognize it within yourSELF…see it, feel it and then express it…LOVE wants to encompass every thought, emotion and action you create…LOVE patiently waits until you can hear the whispers in your ear…LOVE never left your side because LOVE exists within. Every fibre of your being is LOVE.

YOU. ARE. LOVE.

I exist in every breath…

I exist in memories, and smiles that come from within…

I exist in a thought…

I exist now as I did ten years ago as I did a thousand years before that…

I exist even if you don’t believe in me…

Where do I reside?

Everywhere.

If we LOVE OURSELVES, the world will love us back…do you understand?

We radiate that which we are…we reflect that which we are…your gifts are our gifts…your love, is our love…your pain becomes our pain…your kindness becomes our kindness…

My dear, YOU ARE A GIFT OF LOVE. All the love you need exists inside of you and by uncovering, honoring and sharing that deep, unconditional, pure energy it will be reflected back upon you.

LOVE is not elusive nor are you unworthy of LOVE’S presence.

If the world nurtures the seed that exists in us all, the world would have a garden of kindness and compassion for others to turn to if they lose their way. Once nurtured, love not only exists, it thrives, grows and continues to blossom not only in SELF, but in the hearts and lives of others.

TODAY IS A GIFT. TODAY IS A GIFT OF LOVE.

HONOR THIS GIFT BECAUSE YOU ARE THE GIFT AND THAT WHICH WE ARE, REFLECTS BACK TO US.

With warmth and grace…your life partner,

LOVE

Let’s Talk!

Today is “Let’s Talk Day” an initiative put together by BELL CANADA. For every official Bell Canada posting that is shared on Facebook (photo above was taken from FB), every tweet with the hash tag #BellLetsTalk and every text or long distance call made by a Bell customer, 5 cents will be donated to mental health initiatives across Canada.

Not only will FUNDING go towards mental health initiatives but people will be TALKING.

MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL WELLNESS MUST BE A PRIORITY IN OUR FAMILY, JOBS, SCHOOLS, PROVINCE AND COUNTRY.

I spent the weekend talking but mostly LISTENING, SUPPORTING and LOVING many people who are struggling with their mental health.

Here are some common phrases I heard throughout the weekend:

I don’t feel VALIDATED.

I don’t feel like anyone is LISTENING.

I don’t feel like anyone really UNDERSTANDS how I feel or what I’m going through…they look at me like I’m crazy.

I feel ALONE.

I always feel like I have to PRETEND to be happy in order to make everyone around me feel better. I don’t want to upset other people or make them sad.

I’m EXHAUSTED.

I feel like I’m being JUDGED all the time.

I don’t have any ENERGY.

I feel so much PRESSURE to work harder, be stronger and quit being ‘ungrateful’, ‘lazy’ or ‘spoiled’.

The EXPECTATION is that I should be better by now so I pretend I am better to make them feel better…sometimes that makes me feel WORSE.

I CRY ALL THE TIME, OVER NOTHING. WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?

I never cry…I just feel NUMB.

I can’t CONCENTRATE.

I just want to be ‘NORMAL’.

I spent lots of TIME with these individuals who BRAVELY SHARED their FEELINGS, THOUGHTS and FRUSTRATIONS. Each story was unique to them and yet similar to others I had spoken to earlier.

I love Bell’s “Let’s Talk” initiative. Speaking up, speaking out, LISTENING, being heard and validated are crucial steps to mental and emotional wellness because so many people suffer in silence.

As the person struggling with mental health issues, it’s important to have a SAFE environment to speak out and receive the necessary help. This may include EMOTIONAL SUPPORT and UNDERSTANDING, MEDICATION, COUNSELLING and a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE which includes PROPER NUTRITION, EXERCISE and MEDITATION. (In my opinion, all these things are part of the recipe for good mental and emotional wellness.)

As the person supporting someone who struggles, LISTENING, VALIDATING, EDUCATING YOURSELF and HONORING EMOTIONS are important. Creating a support system around you is crucial to keep your own balance and energy. Learning about the mental health issues (signs, symptoms, care options etc.) will give you the tools to support in a healthy, compassionate and educated way.

“Let’s Talk” today but don’t let it stop there…KEEP TALKING…talk to your children, partner, family, friends, employer, medical community, and your government. “Let’s Talk” so we can stop the stigma surrounding mental health, raise awareness and create CHANGE.

THANK YOU!

With a smile,

Tina