am I allowed to feel discouraged?

I’m not asking for a friend. I’m asking for me. I know a number of people will read this and wonder if I’m okay. I am. I am okay. And I also feel discouraged. I also know that I’m not really supposed to say this. I’m “allowed”…but not really. Love and light! Good vibes only. The universe/God only gives you what you can handle. Everything happens for a reason. Be happy. Be the light. Let it go. I’ll pray for you. Just keep trying. Never give up. 

I won’t go into details, but the last two months have been challenging. Not devastating. Not depressing. It’s just been a time where I have tried things and they didn’t work…over and over again. Where I haven’t loved some of the things I’ve tried, but others have advised I do them. Where I think I’ve got it, but I don’t. Where my heart feels heavy with the goings on of the world. Where things just seem hard and kind of exhausting. Where I feel a bit stuck. 

Maybe it’s my own hang ups about my more “uncomfortable” emotions. Maybe I’m not quite as evolved as I think I am. That’s likely a piece of it, though our culture has become increasingly intolerant of what we label as “negative” emotions. The memes on Facebook and Instragram regularly tell me it’s only really okay to feel or say “positive” things. There is “Bell Talks” and mental health awareness. That is important. Once that day/week is done, however, everyone stops talking about it.  

I once shared a struggle, a really big, expensive, struggle, with an acquaintance/friend and her response was “The universe only gives you what you can handle”. It did not help me. It shut me down. I wonder if these sayings and memes are our way of saying, “I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to help. I’m uncomfortable with your emotions.”

A friend posted something political on Facebook and a woman actually said, “Talking politics is low vibe”. 

When I was a little louder about my low waste lifestyle, someone asked, “Can’t you just live it and be quiet about it?” So I did. I just live it and only sometimes talk about it, mostly if I’m asked to.

I could go on. I’m sure you have your list too. 

So, though I have my own hang ups about “uncomfortable” emotions, I’m not too far off in assuming that people don’t want to know that I’m discouraged. 

I’ve been reluctant to tell people, but I’ve shared a little bit of my struggle here and there. Loving people want to advise and fix or pray. Honestly, I just don’t need solutions right now, especially ones that aren’t my own. I know “this too shall pass”, but I’m in the thick of it right now, in this moment. What I need is someone to just hear me. 

And this has got me wondering, if I feel I can’t really tell people that I am discouraged, what about people who are depressed, struggling with anxiety, in the midst of grief, confusion, heartache, and so on. We all know we’re allowed to talk about it, but only so much and only for so long. And sometimes it’s just easier to stay quiet in our struggles than it is to listen to someone try to fix it or fix us or to hear them recite their feel good phrase. 

We’ve become so afraid of the toxic, negative person that we have left no room for the struggling person. 

I can only tell you what I need, what would “help” me. Let’s just listen to each other more and stop declaring that only positivity is welcome, even in subtle forms of picturesque memes and prayers. Let’s become comfortable with all emotions. You don’t have to become discouraged to hear that I am. Just hear that I am. 

And here is my door. It is open for the struggling. I am willing to listen. There will be no feel good phrase. My hands and heart are open. I will hear your heartache and not judge or advise. I will see you until you can see yourself.

This isn’t what I planned to write today, but it is what came out. 

and then I saw me

I was once a fair haired, dark eyed creature who ran through the forest giggling, weaving tales; full of creative joys and insights. Enchantment and magic ran with me. Red rubber boots and a dress pulled over jeans because that’s the uniform for all good adventures. I was fully me. I loved people with my sweet innocence. No one saw me, but I didn’t care, I ran with nymphs in fairytales

…until I did, until I cared, until I wondered why no one “saw me” and then I stopped being me. I became something I thought worth seeing. “See me” I would shout. “See me” I would cry. I began the work that would get me seen. And yet, I was always shouting, “See me”.  “See me” I am doing the right things. “See me” I am standing on the soap box. “See me” I have morphed enough to seem like you. Can you see me now? And the magic slipped away with the fair haired, dark eyed creature.

And then I saw me. 

It took so long. Waiting to be seen. And then I saw me. Only a glimpse. Far off, running through the trees, disappearing in shadows. Giggling. Weaving tales. Like a whisper.

Now a tall, strong, dark eyed creature with just a wisp of fair hair to remind me how to run. Creases are now maps of paths walked and rewalked. I make trails through the forest and conjure stories inspired by old lore. My feet move more sure with each step, retracing and making new.

And now I see you. What story do you need to tell? 

for the love of motherhood

I was recently challenged to write a “rant” about my industry, but it morphed into a bit of a lament on motherhood. It’s a work in progress. I would like to acknowledge that this isn’t everyone’s experience, but it does reflect some of my experience and that of many of the women I speak to.

We all feel like we are not good enough. We all worry that we are messing up our kids. Better save now for a good therapist. 

We are told we can have it all, but we feel like we aren’t doing any of it well.

We often feel lost in the trenches. 

We can’t see the forest through the trees. 

We think that we “should” be able to handle this on our own, but we’re not. 

We think we “should” be steeping in the kid love and magic (and sometimes we do), but we often just feel like we’re drowning. 

And we feel really guilty about all the “shoulds” that we just aren’t doing. 

We are stuck in our family bumble of cute, but crazy-making mess. 

And we feel like we are holding all the weight. 

We don’t even know what would help. 

We are swimming with arm inflatables, but really need a boat, a really big, practical boat, to keep things afloat…better yet, let’s just move it all to the beach. 

We’re dodging nerf bullets and splitting up fights over frilly skirts and cheerios. 

We are bombarded with advice from all sides; parenting experts, people without kids, strangers in the supermarket, facebook memes, our own parents, other parents, groups that we think are on the same page as us, but end up telling us how wrong we’re getting it. 

“Your kids stare at their screens too much.”

“Your kids are over scheduled.”

“Your kids don’t play outside enough.” 

“Your kids shouldn’t be outside by themselves.” 

“Don’t helicopter. Free range. Don’t free range, but don’t helicopter.” 

“Stop saying, “Don’t”!” 

“Your kids don’t say ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ enough.” 

“Your kids are so spoilt and disrespectful.”

“Your kids talk back too much.”

“Do this.”

“Don’t do that.”

And the list goes on and on. 

And we slip deeper and deeper into the sense that we just have to push through it alone and voiceless. 

Where’s the village? 

We long for non-judgmental support. 

We long for authentic connection.

We long for meaningful communication.

We long to sit at a table of grace.

We long to share the weight when it comes to all the organizing and getting shit done. 

We long to share the mental and emotional load without having to demand it.

We long to bring what we loved about ourselves pre-kid into what is our current reality. 

We long to be heard. 

We long to know who we are in all the craziness. 

We long for a Village. 

We long for someone to reach out. 

I waited and waited for someone to reach out…and no one did. And then I realized that it had to be me, I had to reach out. And when I did, there were other moms right there with her hands out stretched, waiting and longing for the same things. 

It has become my purpose and passion to create spaces of real, meaningful, non-judgmental support for parents, particularly moms; support that taps into your own wisdom or inner knowing, so you can be more compassionate and connecting with yourself, your partner, your family and even your community. My work centres around figuring out what is most important to you and how to bring those things into alignment with day to day living. Together we’ll move from “I feel lost” to “I am found”.

A great deal of my work takes place through one-on-one coaching over the phone, one-on-one in home coaching while we work on an area of clutter, workshops on family life and relationships, group sessions for moms, and circle style meet ups. I utilize my passion for simplicity and practical mindfulness in all that I do because these two concepts made the biggest difference in my mothering journey.

And know this, I love you moms! It’s sounds so cheesy, but if I could just hold all the moms in one giant hug, I totally would.

the gift of habit

I think I tend to label ‘habits’ as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, maybe mostly ‘bad’. How about you? 

I have been working on reshaping my perspective on habits by viewing them as things that serve me in some way.

When I was a full-time language instructor, before my classes started, I would step out of the buzzing staff room in the morning, walk several blocks, regardless of the weather, to a Starbucks and get myself a White Chocolate Mocha almost every single day. It was expensive, full of sugar and not the best environmental choice (because I usually forgot my cup). I knew this and I kept doing it because there was something that I loved about it (beyond the sugary coffee buzz). I suspect if I had identified the need this habit was meeting, I would have quit much sooner. 

Looking back, it’s easy to see the positive intent behind my habit. I am a tad introverted. Our staff room was extremely crowded, loud and often there was a pretty high “panic” feel to the room as people rushed to complete and photo copy lessons. Stepping out of this brought me a great deal of calm and the walk gave me the energy I needed to step into the classroom for the day. Plus there was the reward of the sugary, caffeinated beverage that I savored for several hours drawing, somewhat unconsciously, on that calm, yet energized feeling, that I got from going and getting it. Now I can see how I could have met these needs without the Starbucks. 

Identifying the Positive Intent Behind Habits

So…

When you consider habits that you would like to change, it can be helpful to start with some version of these questions:  

  • What need is this habit meeting? 
  • How is this habit serving me? Not whether it is good or bad, but what am I getting out of it?
  • What is the positive intent behind this habit? 
  • What positive feelings do I derive from it? 

And (this one is important)…

  • How can I meet those needs in a different way? 
  • How can I meet those needs in a different way that would serve me better?

This one is tricky because sometimes it’s not always obvious to us in the moment. Why? It could be that we aren’t entirely clear on the things that are really important to us, our values. 

We often identify a habit as something we want to change because, even though it’s meeting some needs, there is something about it that just doesn’t feel right. We like it, but feel guilty about it, like my White Mocha habit. This can be a sign that it’s incongruent with something we really value. 

For example, when I identified simplicity  and a love for the earth  as 2 core values of mine that I wanted to live into more, drinking my Starbucks in a disposable cup was no longer an option. If I didn’t bring a reusable cup, I didn’t get a coffee. This was step one for me. 

Identifying Your Values

Values are things that are really important to you as person. Knowing and understanding your core values can make a big difference to how you view your habits and your reasons behind wanting to change them. “I feel guilty” generally won’t get you very far. 

Just identifying the positive intent and need behind your habits can indicate a value. For example, calm seems to be important to me. 

Here are few questions to get you started on discovering your values:

  • Who are you at your very best? 
  • What, beyond basic needs, must you have in your life to be fulfilled? What are your non-negotiables? 
  • What gives you the most joy, satisfaction and renewal in your life? What is important about these things?
  • Think of a time when you felt proud of yourself? What were the key elements involved? 

Here’s a giant list of values…


Going through a list like this and identifying the words that resonate with you can be useful in identifying the things that really make you tick. They are your heart “things”.

The next step is to ask (which each value you discover)…

  • What about this particular value is important to me?
  • How am I currently living out this value?
  • How can I live more into this values? 

So let’s bring it back around…

  • How do your habits line up with these values? 
  • How are your habits pushing up against these values? 
  • How can you align your habits with your values? 

*What is one small thing you can do today to align one habit with one value?* 

In my next post, I’ll dive a little deeper into how to create lasting change when it comes to habits. 

on remembering

I am pacifist. That said, I do believe there have been a few wars that needed to be fought…and many that did not. So, what can I do to “remember”?

It seems that for most, Remembrance Day is about donating the few cents left in your wallet to get a poppy, wearing said poppy until it falls off somewhere, maybe going to a Remembrance Day Ceremony of some kind (but probably not), posting Facebook memes about Remembrance Day, and, most recently, thanks to those Facebook memes, NOT putting up your Christmas decorations until after November 11th.  Though there is nothing wrong with these things, they do leave me wondering how we can make remembering more meaningful, especially for those who have not been directly touched by war.

You were loved

How do we make Remembrance Day more meaningful?

Here are my thoughts.

  • If you truly believe that stores and malls should not put up Christmas décor until after Nov 11th, contact them directly and ask your friends to do the same. Posting this request to the companies’ Facebook pages or directing a tweet at them can be quite effective because they are large public platforms, so it puts the pressure on. Your personal Facebook meme is just going to make your Christmas loving friends feel bad…and they will still decorate early because…they love it.
  • When you see a veteran selling poppies, donate more than the token toonie.  Plan for it. Write a cheque. Take some extra cash out of the bank and stuff it into that box. Or just commit to donating to one of the many charities set up for veterans, like this one: Vets Canada …Further Considerations
  • Pressure your government (at all levels) to do more for our veterans. Do we need better supports put in place? Better financial aid and more interventions for physical and mental health issues? I wish I had a link to share, but could not find anything specific to this.
  • Support people, regardless of their religious beliefs or country of origin, who are fleeing from war in their countries. Simply put, support refugees coming to Canada. Opportunities to Help Refugees
  • In addition to wearing a poppy, why not plant a tree for someone who has been impacted by war or that you are specifically remembering this Remembrance Day. Why not grow a memorial forest? https://www.alivingtribute.ca
  • Many wars have been fought over cultural or religious differences. Many wars and genocides have taken place because one race believed they were better than another. Stand up against racism in all its forms. Be a voice where others are silent. Stand up against white supremacy and even subtle forms of white privilege. Consider your own privilege and how that impacts the way you engage in life and how it impacts the way people of colour engage in life. Talk to your children about racism. How to Talk to White Kids About Racism
  • When you think of someone that has been lost to the tragedy of war, declare this truth, “YOU ARE/WERE LOVED (insert there name here).” (Borrowed from “A Key to Extraordinary” by Natalie Lloyd.

Do you have any additional ideas to contribute?

What do you do to “remember”?

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I’m letting Christmas off the hook

Oh Christmas… I’m sorry.

We dress you up, sometimes in the most gaudy outfits, and parade you around for the whole month of December. We’ve done it for years, so we think it’s okay, that you like it, but my guess is that you’re tired, that sometimes it’s just a little too much.

So I’ve let you off the hook, my lovely friend, Christmas. It’s okay. You don’t need to be perfect. You can be quiet and calm. You can be peaceful…or not. It’s okay by me. You can even be messy and chaotic if you prefer.

No more pressure to create all the magic. We are capable of creating some of it ourselves. I’ll take the pressure off. You don’t have to go to that party or put on that dress.

Christmas, you don’t need to be white, all covered in snow. Let it rain if it wants to. Let it be beautiful brown if it must.

Christmas, you are not responsible for peace on earth or even good will to all mankind. That one is on us. Be free of it my friend.

It’s not always possible to bring family together. You really don’t have to. Not everyone can be home. Not everyone wants to be. Sometimes we’re alone. Family isn’t your responsibility. I’ll be the warm cozy vibe for my family all year.

Oh the kids. The childish delight. The morning excitement. It’s great I confess. But that’s not really you, is it?

You’ve offered us a tree piled under with gifts. My gift to you, dear Christmas, is to say no to the pile. It’s okay. We actually don’t need it. We’ll survive without those Jing Tinglers,
Flu Floopers, Tar Tinkers, Who Hoovers, Gar Ginkers, Trum Tupers, Slu Slumkers…you get it, I know.

You don’t have to keep the smile on the entire month of December. I’ll let you be sad, disappointed, even indifferent if that’s what you need. It’s okay. Really it is.

The food, oh the food! Cookies; cakes; candy; tables full of expectation. Then we turn around and blame you for our fat. No, no, Christmas, you don’t make us fat. You’re not responsible for our over-indulgence.

And while we’re at it, you’re no match maker either! Who would put that kind of pressure on you? You’ve got no power over that. No, romantic entanglements aren’t yours to create.

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Let’s spread it out. It doesn’t need to be all on you. Let summer have some of the glitz and glam.

Let’s let tea with a friend be our comfort. Let’s let a snuggle from a small child fill our cup. Let’s bring family together any time and love them relentlessly all year long.

Let’s fill up the food bank in September. Let’s give warm clothes and boots to the homeless in October. Let’s donate toys in March. Let’s do our charitable giving all year round. Christmas, you’re off the hook.

I release you from all the crazy expectations, my love. You’re no longer bound to carry the weight of this colourfully packaged-up burden.

Maybe with less pressure you’ll be what you are, sweet Christmas, a small sparkle of magic and whimsy in a year full of spells.

From your friend, TM

Redefining “I deserve it”

New, expensive shoes. I deserve it.

A shopping spree at the mall. I deserve it.

$50 mascara. I deserve it.

A drunken night out. I deserve it.

This deep fried, cheese filled, stomach ache waiting to happen. I deserve it.

This giant piece of chocolate cake. I deserve it.

This bag of chips. I deserve it.

This entire bottle of wine. I deserve it.

This venti, sugar filled coffee. I deserve it.

It’s not that an indulgence here and there is a terrible thing, it isn’t, but when I hear myself say “I deserve it” (or someone else) it is most often connected with things that are generally not good for our bodies, souls or wallets. They usually do very little for us.

The above list reads more like, “I deserve to feel gross, unhealthy and broke”.

But what if we changed the narrative. “I deserve to feel connected, healthy and strong”.

A hike in the mountains. I deserve it.

Quality time with my spouse. I deserve it.

Yoga. I deserve it.

Meditation. I deserve it.

A good book. I deserve it.

Quality time with a good friend. I deserve it.

Fun with my kids. I deserve it.

An amazing trip. I deserve it.

That class I’ve been wanting to take. I deserve it.

An art studio. I deserve it.

That life changing thing you’ve been putting on hold. You deserve it.

You’re list will look different than mine.

I challenge you to look closely at what you deserve. Notice when you use the phrase, “I deserve it” and remember you deserve a life filled with love, strength, peace and health…plus some extra cash for really amazing experiences. 😉

An Ode to Awe

I don’t know that I’ve considered awe’s role in my life to any great degree, but recently I was made to pause when I read Why Do We Experience Awe?. This article was a game changer for me. I immediately decided that I needed more big awe in my life.

Looking back, I’ve had numerous moments of awe, but in my early 20s I had two that were incredibly defining for my future, both were when I was out alone in nature. One was in the middle of nowhere in the prairies at dusk, the other was while laying on a rocky river bed, surrounded by giant trees, watching an eagle soar overhead. Both these experiences added a great deal of clarity to my life at the time.  I know from experience, as the above article states, “that awe imbues people with a different sense of themselves, one that is smaller, more humble and part of something larger“.

Through mindfulness I have found awe in the everyday, often out my back window, on walks in the big nature park just outside my front door, in the smiles of my little boys, the chirp of a bird and so much more. But I thought it would be fun to actively pursue some of those bigger awe moments out in nature with my family. After all, I have the Rockies right at my doorstep.

Here is my plan. My church (I reluctantly type that here as I know it immediately conjures all sorts of ideas about who I am, but there it is) does not offer a children’s program throughout the summer, so every Sunday (or at least most), starting June 28th, we have decided that we’ll head out into nature. Awe-Sunday, if you will. I will be sharing our experiences here.

I would love for you to (virtually) join me, in your own stomping ground of course, and share your experiences in the comments below.

For further inspiration you may want to check out this youtube video Awe.

Let’s write an ode to awe.

simple. mindful.

So what is “simplicity” anyway? There are varying definitions, but, for me, it is conscious or aware living. Choosing to include those things and experiences that add value to my life or letting go of the periphery and needless. Our culture is accustomed to over consumption; fulfilling all wants; confusing wants with needs; get, get, get. Simplicity focuses on being satisfied; loving the enough. Some call it simplicity. Some call it minimalism. Some call it essentialism. Call it whatever you want. I call it freedom.

So what is “mindfulness” anyway? Again, definitions vary, but, for me, it is conscious or aware living; choosing to take in this present moment, to notice, to be aware, to be awake, truly awake. Our culture is very accustomed to tuning out or to constant distraction. It’s a beautiful thing to pause and become aware of your surroundings, nature, your body and the people in the room with you.  That is mindfulness.

Simplicity and mindfulness truly go hand in hand. Simplicity perhaps deals more directly with what we choose to consume or not consume (food, “things” and experiences). Creating physical space in a sense. Mindfulness is more about embracing the moment. Creating mental space. Both overlap. Both create spiritual space.

It is possible to have a mindfulness practice without living in simplicity, but then it’s more of a doing than a being. It is also possible to practice simplicity without actively engaging in mindfulness.

When you are practicing mindfulness, however, in your daily life it is much easier to embrace simplicity. When you start making conscious choices about the things you buy and the experiences you have, you by nature become more mindful.

It’s a process.

It’s counter cultural.

It’s conscious living.

It’s an awaking.

It’s truly a beautiful thing.

You have so much

The other day I was talking to a friend who was in the midst of a hardship. I spoke words to her that my inner voice had been telling me all week, “You have so much”, which is really so different than “you have enough”. The 1st tells you that your life is full, the 2nd tells you that you can do without. Sometimes we just need to hear that our life is full.

You might say, “What do I have? Seriously?”

You may not have the relationship that you think you want or need.

You may not have the job that you want.

Your car is a lemon.

Your house is just okay.

Maybe some of your family relationships have fallen apart.

Maybe you’ve lost someone dear.

Perhaps you’re struggling with parenting.

Maybe your health is not great.

Maybe you’re not in the shape that you want to be.

Maybe you’re sleep deprived.

And so on.

And yet, here I am, telling you, You Have So MuchI’m not making light of struggles. Struggles are real. They are deep. They are hard. But in our struggles we often forget what we have.

Pause with me. Set aside comparisons. Look full into the beautiful, round face of your life and hold it. 

This is what you have…

A history.

Lessons learned.

That quiet pause.

That beautiful lingering moment.

Your intuition.

That incredible song that just hangs on.

The breeze in the trees.

The robin singing.

The smell of fresh cut grass.

That goodnight sleep.

That beautiful blue sky.

This refreshing rain.

An incredible meal.

That amazing friend that has your back no matter what.

The unrelenting love of someone.

That trip you took that one time.

That book that left it’s mark.

Those incredible, crazy making kids.

This present moment.

This fresh start.

A life, to this date, well lived.

You do, you have so much.