Just do it.

16 Feb

Okay, so in May of 2010 I had an idea. It was brilliant. It is still brilliant.

It’s a story. A young adult story. (Real world fiction, not fantasy with elves and dragons, urban fantasy or in any paranormal romance sense.*) Sort of a coming-of-age thing.

I have characters I love, a setting that totally works for me and enough of a plot to journey through my protagonist’s life (well – the part I’m going to shed some light on in this story).

Seriously, this story has not left my brain. For almost three years. It’s always there, always evolving.

The problem?

I can’t fucking start it. I’ve tried, from all kinds of different angles, multiple times. I’ve tried starting at the beginning, I’ve tried starting in the middle, I’ve even tried penning some small character vignettes to get into the groove of the story.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you had an idea (for anything: writing, sewing, scrapbooking, music…anything) that you just can’t get out?

I’m not worried about “the perfect story” here, folks. I put that dream to bed a long time ago. First drafts aren’t supposed to be pretty, that’s not what they’re there for. They exist to get the sketch of an idea on “paper” so that you can go back six or seven (hundred) times to flesh out and prettify things later. (Ask any writer, they will tell you that their first drafts of anything are pretty dismal. If they don’t, they’re lying to you.)

How do you overcome this obstacle? Do you pour yourself a cup of tea (or gin) and plow forward? Do you have a meditative routine that helps you centre your creativity and motivation? Do you work on something else, exercising your mad skills, until this project is actually ready to be created?

I am going to try to plow through again. I’m going to start writing, however ridiculous and inconsequential the subject matter, and hope that I can get into the groove of this story. I’m going to try…againBut! If you have any tips or tricks, I’d be thrilled to read, or hear them!

Happy creating, Lovelies!

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.
- Anne Lamott Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Serena Ryder – Good Morning Starshine

UNT.

*I have two “fantasy”-esque stories in the works, too. They’re easier to write.

Relish12.27, 12.28, 12.29, 12.30 & 12.31!

8 Feb

Last one!

Relish12 Day Twenty Seven: What we choose…

This is what I chose, where I chose to fall and I thought it might have been the curved walls and the curved doorways but really it was this, the curved branches that spoke of shelter and softness even in the roar of winter’s empty spaces.  This is what I chose when I could have chosen anything.  This is what I choose when the vast array of choices opens up to me and whispers that this is now my life.  This year I embraced this neighbourhood, this street and the trees that envelope me as whispered leaves remind me in their quiet sway that this … this.  This is all I ever need. Show me the beauty of your choosing, what it is that you have embraced this year that made you feel gratitude for your life.

I chose not to give up.

In a year of breaking, it would be easy to just let go of everything important. It would be easy to allow all of my relationships to degrade to an un-repairable point. It would be easy to wither away and become a haunted wraith.

I chose not to give up. There were important, outside catalysts heavily involved in that choice, but I still made the final choice. I have hurt people I care about and I have been hurt this year, but no insurmountable damage has been done. It happens with breaking, sometimes the pieces are just too small to put back together properly. You will come back together, if you want to, but it’ll never be the same. Something’s gotta give.

 

Relish12 Day Twenty Eight: Favourite flavour….

Sometimes I get started thinking about food while lying in bed, though I am no cook, and I literally can’t sleep at night. There is something about experiencing it all; the textures, the scents, the satisfaction… it’s a magic that defies explanation really. Torture me now with tales of the foods you’ve savoured this year… What were your favourite flavours? Why?

The portabella tagliolini from local Mediterranean restaurant Cimo will always be a favourite. Homemade pasta, prosciutto, peas, and portabella mushrooms in a bath of creamy, rich white sauce, topped with pea shoots. It’s one of those perfect comfort foods. I always go into this meal thinking that I will only eat half of it, because the serving is a perfect size for two meals, and I almost always leave without a doggy bag, because it’s sinfully amazing and just too awesome not to eat in one sitting.

That cupcake I mentioned earlier, too. Chocolate cake with a mocha icing, caramel drizzle and a sprinkle of sea salt. I had always scoffed at the notion of salt on dessert, but I figured I should give it a try before completely condemning it. Again: Wow! Oh Universe, you are a savvy host.

 

Relish12 Day Twenty Nine: See yourself differently…

I couldn’t agree more with the little bit of art. How you see yourself is everything. Where this year did you begin to see yourself differently? What are the words you’d no longer use to describe yourself? What are your new favourite descriptors?

It has only been in the last few months, this year, that I have begun to see myself differently. After I made the choice to get better and to let it go.

I no longer want to use doormat, weak, bitch (okay MAYBE I’ll keep that one), procrastinator, irrational or unattractive to describe myself. I no longer want to think of myself so negatively. I no longer want to hold myself back because I’ve made mistakes and feel I need to be punished for them. I want to use words like: creative, dynamic, motivated, alive and happy. I’d also like to use the phrase: I [am] a badass mother who won’t take no crap off of nobody.

 

Relish12 Day Thirty: Up your game…

If you don’t take risks, you can’t reap rewards. If you don’t stretch, you don’t grow. If you don’t challenge yourself, you can never realize just how powerful, capable, and incredible you are. Where in the last twelve months did you up your game? And if looking back now you don’t really feel you have, that’s ok. You’ve got a clean slate coming up: what risks & challenges will you choose for yourself next year?

Just as I have started to see myself in a different light, I have upped my game in the last few, very recent months. It has upped in terms of my trying harder for self-acceptance. I have started to relax a bit more about a few things. And, because of that (I think), I have been having more creative ideas in the last few weeks than I had all of last year, despite my successful artistic endeavours.

And now, I intend to up it further. I want to implement that morning schedule that does not include Facebook and Netflix. I want to pursue my 2013 goal of having at least half of something substantial (read: novel-sized) written. I want to continue to walk away from anyone or anything that no longer serves me, grows me, or makes me happy.

233

(Image @ Laws of Modern Man)

Relish12 Day Thirty One: What’s the reason?

Through each meander of my life I have always been able to look back and deduce what benefit I reaped from that period of time, the decisions I made, the experiences that found me. Sometimes it was a cherished new friendship, valuable new skills, or simply the inspiration of it all that changed me, and this path I’m on, forever. There is simply no waste or mistake in this life; we can harvest from every part of it some aspect to be grateful for. There is always a reason for what we endure, sometimes we just have to dig a little to find it. What was your “reason” for this year? When you look back in twenty years what will stand out as the reason you had to live this year before you could embark on all the rest?

Knowledge. This is another “let’s not beat a dead horse, Vyx” moment, but I live to seek knowledge.

I had to live this year before I could embark on the rest of my life because I had to recognize my own importance. To myself.

I am worth it. My feelings are valid. Some events and relationships are not worth the heartache and that’s okay. I deserve to experience my dreams, to really live and to be happy.

I had to question my relationships, my career, my creative desires and accomplishments and then I had to doubt just about everything in my life before I could take that first step forward. Before I could believe in myself, I had to lose all faith in myself. This isn’t everyone’s route, but I’m a big fan of throwing all my chips on the table. It’s just not as much fun if you don’t have absolutely everything to lose.

It was a good gamble.

Meatloaf – You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth

UNT.

Relish12.22, 12.23, 12.24, 12.25 & 12.26

28 Jan

Relish12 Day Twenty Two: Inspiration…

Whether we actively seek it out, trolling the streets or pages for it, or it finds us, entirely unprepared, soaking wet in the shower and without a darn thing to write on, we need inspiration to grace us. It’s what gives heart to our work, colour to our lives, and is the plaything of our soul. What, where, or whom inspired you this year? And better still, what did you do with it?

To find proper inspiration, I have to leave my house. I have to get out and spend time with the people in my life, sip a coffee and break the regularity of my home and work life. I am a stagnant creature of habit when I am at home: cooking, cleaning, procrastinating. When I face the world, I get shit done.

The people in my life inspire me the most. I am surrounded by such a rich array of spectacular folks. They have experienced incredible highs and lows, have learned so many lessons that they share enthusiastically. They have lived. They inspire me to live, to make the most of my life, and to do what it is I love to do.

 

Relish12 Day Twenty Three: Omission…

We all have them; moments we’d rather not remember, let alone have lived through in the first place. Though real life won’t let us, imagine you had the power, just for today, to edit your own history of this year. What would you choose to omit? What would you burn from the record? And what would you gain or lose by doing so?

On a level, I desperately want to go back in time and scratch out the catalyst to some of my brokenness. I want not to have that weight on my soul.

But. I wouldn’t  If given the opportunity, I would leave things the way they were and the way they are. Despite the bitterness and hurt, all of my breaking has brought me to a new plane. If I were to omit that pockmark, I may regain some ignorant bliss, but I would lose a lot of insight. I would lose ground. I strongly feel that you need to make a terrible mess before you can properly clean something up.

 

Relish12 Day Twenty Four: Sense Memory…

I don’t know about any of you, but 2012 was a doozy for me! When I woke up on January 1st of this year, I literally had no idea where I would find myself on December 31st. But here I am, in a new state, with a new job, a new dog, new friends, and lots and lots of new memories. While it was sad to leave so many friends and places behind in my last move, I never would have been able to get through it if I didn’t focus on the positive. Lately I’ve really been thinking about the senses and how they influence memory and our perceptions. When I think back about all of my favourite times in California earlier this year, they all have this golden, glowing hue about them.  For me, California will always be about the warm, glowing sun; how it looked as it glinted off the fields of the Central Valley, how warm my skin felt on countless mornings spent strolling around our neighbourhood. Our senses have such a powerful hold over how we re-experience our past. Catching hold of how things felt or smelled is an amazing way of re-capturing those same wonderful feelings!

For today’s prompt, think about one of your favourite days from this last year that you’d never want to forget. What physical feelings or sensations can you recall? Were there any scents that were present? What did it look like – were any colours more prominent than others? Any special sounds that you’d like to hold on to? Did you enjoy any special tastes that day? Spend some time exploring the little details of what you remember. After you’ve identified a couple of senses that stand out to you about that day, you can access how great that experience was at any time by conjuring up those associations.

I took a chance on an old relationship this year. I had a coffee date with a gentleman I had spent almost no one-on-one time with before. He is a very good, old friend of mephy’s and was a close acquaintance of mine.

The coffee date was spawned of a desire to distract from heartbreak and I had no idea how it was going to go. I am no stranger to epic coffee (or dinner, lunch, drinks and appies, coffee and dessert) dates and have been known to discuss life, love and philosophy for eight hours over a quiet restaurant table. But those dates were with people I had well-established relationships with. This date was with someone I knew just as well as I didn’t know.

As this prompt is about favourite memories, it’s not a surprise that the date went well. Surprisingly and wonderfully well. Of course we talked about the heartache, because it’s an unavoidable topic, even when you try to avoid it. But we also discovered many similar passions in literature and film. I can’t recall all of what was discussed, but from that (epic) coffee date came a couple of spin-off events and even a handful of writing dates.

I’m not huge on sense memory, but I won’t soon forget the smooth warmth of my latté, the cozy ambiance provided by the café’s gas fireplace, the bustle of our fellow coffee shop attendees, or the easy posture and smiles taken by me and my date for the evening.

 

Relish12 Day Twenty Five: Sweet Surprise…

Granted, this prompt might need to wait until today is over for its response, but thinking on this whole year what was the sweetest surprise you were treated to? Is there someone specific to blame, or was it the Universe at large that brought about this unforeseen delight? Tell us or show us.

On a literal level: I discovered the joy of a local cupcake baker, this year. Knowing that I was hosting a tea date after work one evening and feeling no motivation to bake for it, I visited our university campus’s farmer’s market and picked up a small collection of different cupcakes. In this selection, I met a salted caramel mocha delicacy. Wow. Just wow.

I’ve gone back for more. More than once. (Don’t judge me, you would too. In fact, you really should.)

Salted caramel cupcake

 

(Image @ Pink Lady Cupz & Cakes) 

Relish12 Day Twenty Six: Let yourself dream…

While plotting our lives and carrying on our routines it’s easy to lose track of when the last time was we let our minds run amok, let our imaginations run wild, and really let ourselves off the hook for wanting the things we want. Whether it’s a trip around the world, the man of your dreams, or a job that finally feels fulfilling to YOU: where did you let yourself dream this year? And if you realize now that you haven’t perhaps today is a good time to schedule it in. 

I have two friends I meet with for dinner every once in a while. While there is never a lull in conversation, one of these friends decided that these dates would be a great forum for Random Question Time.

Most noteworthy for me: if money, time and age were not restrictions, what would you do with your life? This is a wildest dreams situation.

When considering my answer to this question, I got to evaluate my life and the enjoyment I get out of it. As is common with most (hopefully all) people I know, my work life isn’t as fulfilling as my home life. Now it’s not that I want my enjoyment of work to supersede the joy I find in my personal life, but I do want to find something that’s more satisfying to me (than retail work). So – what would I do if I didn’t have roadblocks? I’d open a book store  Off and on, this has always been a dream of mine. Now more than ever. I love the atmosphere, promise and culture of an independent bookshop. I want to live in that world. After establishment, and the hiring of the perfect manager, I want to operate a book store and write simultaneously.

My favourite dream of the year was to own a book store. A quirky, independent book store, with attached culinary experience (of course). And I want to write. Preferably while in my book store.

AC/DC – Gone Shootin’

UNT.

Relish12.17, 12.8, 12.19, 12.20 &12.21

27 Jan

Relish12 Day Seventeen: The Details…

Life is made up of the big moments and the little details. The big moments tend to stick in our memories but the details can fade away over time. Which little detail — something you saw… a look… a touch… a fleeting moment — from 2012 would you like to remember in the years to come?

The morning of December 1st, 2012. In that morning lives a tiny, fleeting moment that I will hold on to. Forever.

 

Relish12 Day Eighteen: Colour…

We are surrounded by it and yet its interpretation always remains individual. Sometimes we lack works to describe it, and that’s ok; it’s better when life is filled with MORE than we can distill and transmit, no? Think back on where you’ve been, what you’ve seen. Where in your year were you captured by color? Can you show it to us? What did it make you feel?

There was a perfect mid-Autumn day that held me in thrall.

It was the leaves. Sure, they crunched just right as I strode over them, tempting me to jump on them with the delight of a child, but it was their color that hit me. They were caught between gold and that brilliant Halo Space Marine orange that Bob loved so much. The color of the leaves that day, that Fall, reminded me of my friend.

 

Relish12 Day Nineteen: Art…

Some people think they aren’t creative, they’d certainly never call themselves “artistic”. Gasp! But I have always firmly believed that we each make ART in our lives, it just takes shapes and forms that might not come to mind right away. Maybe it’s a colorful, delicious omlet, or a perfectly lined lawn, or sand castles you never want to see wash away. What art did you make this year?

This year’s art all stands as personal triumphs. Most amusingly, I made Christmas ornaments for my mom and sister this year. (Sadly, no pictures.) I am not a crafty person by any stretch of anyone’s imagination, despite my collection of lofty Pinterest projects, but when the Second Annual Mom, Sisty and Vyx Ornament Exchange was being discussed, I had it in my head that creating my own ornaments was a great idea. It was. They certainly wouldn’t sell on the shelves of any store and they tested my patience, but they were fun and they’re special.

I also wrote a small series of pieces I am hugely proud of. They’re not amazing, but they are small pieces of something much, much bigger and were fun to write. More importantly, I sent them to my favourite victim critic and he didn’t hate them. He very kindly complimented the story so far and proceeded to offer advice for changes that would make for more clarity and ease of reading.

It’s been a good year for art.

 

Relish12 Day Twenty: Body map…

Imagine mapping your year on your body. What does your body hold from 2012? Where did your feet walk? What did your hands hold? What did you tuck gently into your heart?Capture this topography in some journalling or even in a poem. You might want to begin with a phrase like “These hands held…” or “This heart knows…”

These feet saw some miles. They were used on a successful mission to shed some extra pounds and gain some much needed perspective. The walking I did was calming and the in-line skating was nostalgic soul food.

These fingers tap, tap, tapped a few thousand new words. They wrote blog posts, reviewed books and films, and created new worlds.

These arms hugged many very important people. To hug a friend is my favourite way to say hello or bid fond farewell.

These lips have kissed. With these kisses I have shown passionate love to my Angel of Evil and fond affection to my favourite little people in the world.

These eyes . . . are cryin’. These eyes have seen a lotta loves, but they’re never gonna see another one like I had with you!

 

Relish12 Day Twenty One: Favourite photo…

There are few things on earth that can bring back memories, whole events, like a photograph can. Even blurry, faded, cracked and broken, these still records act like master keys to the visual parts of our brains and unlock the events in such a real way that we can slip back into them effortlessly. Even shots we weren’t present for can grant us that sense of participation that hearing stories third hand never can. Take a gander at the images you’ve made this year and, if you can, choose the one that means the most to you. Share it with us, if you’d like. Why that photo?

When she visited us this passed summer, my aunt snapped a photo of me and my mom. We were caught in a quick, easy embrace and sporting big grins. Never mind 2012, this will be one of my favourite photos of all time. One of those memories I never have to lose.

I love my mom. I love that this photo captured some of my awe of her.

Imelda May – Johnny Got A Boom Boom

UNT.

Concert Review: The PGSO Presents Lord of the Dance, With Special Guests Out of Alba and the Old Time Fiddlers!

27 Jan

I had the immense pleasure of attending last night’s Lord of the Dance performance, a very special presentation by the Prince George Symphony Orchestra (PGSO), the Old Time Fiddlers and local Celtic group Out of Alba.

Lord of the Dance

Wow!

As a notorious fan of Celtic music and the PGSO, picking up a ticket to this show was an absolute no-brainer for me.  Without introduction, as soon as Conductor Kevin Zakresky strode onto the stage, the Symphony launched into a stunning rendition of beloved English folk tune Greensleeves, the perfect way to begin the evening.  At the conclusion of the piece, Zakresky took the mic and reminded me why, beyond his incredible musical talent, he is a perfect fit to the PGSO as he introduced the next composition.  Prairie Dawn, a piece from Canadian composer Stephen Chatman, promised to pull the audience further into thrall.  It was Zakresky’s charming excitement that did it for me – that, and his advising that the audience pay special attention during “the fast bit” so as not to miss the bird calls played by clarinet and violin.  His enthusiasm was not misplaced, this piece was amazing and the PGSO executed it with the passion and skill they are so known for.  Prairie Dawn was spot on, sounding exactly like the sonic sunrise it promised.  A brilliant addition to the show.

Few PGSO events are complete without the introduction of a special guest musician, or two.  The first of our contributing acts last night was a small group of Old Time Fiddlers.  These were not just any fiddlers, these were young fiddlers and their talent was absolutely outstanding.  In each of their collection of toe-tapping ditties, these musicians shone.  Murmurs of awe erupted all around my seat during their performance and culminated in hand-throbbing applause at its conclusion.

It was in the second half of the show that Out of Alba took the stage.  To begin, they were unaccompanied by the PGSO.  Alan O’Reilly, Jim Sayle, Carolyn Kelly, Jim and Margaret Coyle and Ross Williams – of Prince George metal band Axis Disrupt, a special guest of Out of Alba for the evening.  I am sad to admit that this is the first time I had seen Out of Alba perform, but thrilled to be a new, eager, loyal fan!  These folks are exceptional musicians with a glowing repertoire.  They have been playing together for years and it shows – not only do they complement each other beautifully and seem to play with an almost supernatural connection, they have a lot of fun doing it!  Out of Alba embodies the reason I love Celtic music: it feels like home.  We could just as easily have been sitting in their living room rather than Vanier Hall, last night.

After a short, amazing set, Out of Alba called Zakresky and the PGSO back onto the stage to play with them.  Thanks to Trevor Hoffman, the PGSO had the orchestrations needed to flawlessly accompany Out of Alba in their next set.  Then, just when I thought the evening couldn’t get any better, the Old Time Fiddlers were back on the stage, adding another layer to the performance.  This show was so well received that the evening’s musicians were called back for not one, but two encores.  Wow!

This was one of my favourite PSGO events.  The combination of Prince George Symphony Orchestra and the tunes of the Celts was perfect.  Thank you, so much, PGSO, Out of Alba, Ross Williams and the Old Time Fiddlers – you absolutely made my night!  Please consider a repeat performance.

 Chatman – Prairie Dawn

UNT.

Relish12.12, 12.13, 12.14, 12.15 &12.16!

26 Jan

Okay! First of a few spam catch-up posts for the Relish series from Rebecca Murphy.

Relish12 Day Twelve: Morning ritual…

Just as each new day holds unforeseen promise, so too does the way we greet that new day reveal bits of truth about ourselves. When we greet the morning the same way, day upon day, that routine can evolve into something akin to a ritual; distinctive, private, personal. And year by year the way these rituals grow and change reflects similar shifts going on within us. So, did you have a morning ritual this year? What did it consist of? Whether it stayed the same or changed as the year went on, what meaning do you think it holds?

My regular morning routine is one of decompression and stress relief. I like to get up before the alarm rings at 0600h. The Pup and I usually go for a 20-30 minute walk after that (though, to be honest, I’ve really slowed on that recently. A few setbacks late last year have seen a lapse in my dog-walking responsibilities. I hope to see this all go back to normal soon – I need those morning excursions as much as the crazy hellhound does). When we get home, I feed her and then jump in the shower. After a shower I have breakfast, check The Internet for inevitable drama, and then lose some self-respect watching The Vampire Diaries on Netflix.

Every time I think about this morning routine, I feel a little guilty. The walk with Dogness is important, as are breakfast and a shower, but the time I spend with Netflix turned on could be spent differently. The time I spend online could also be spent differently. Productively. I feel that I need to work on a new morning routine that sees a walk, breakfast, a shower and then twenty to thirty minutes of writing (any writing). Netflix isn’t necessary and Facebook is an enormous waste of my time.

Projected routine:

6:00 – 6:30am: walk with Ayla
6:30 – 7:00am: dog breakfast, human shower, human breakfast
7:00 – 7:45am: write (with coffee, or tea)
7:45 – 8:15am: get all prettied up for work
8:15am: leave for work

Doesn’t look too difficult. I think I’ll give ‘er a whirl and maybe I’ll let you know how it goes.

Relish12 Day Thirteen: In your own skin…

In 2012, when did you feel the most yourself, the most in your skin, the most comfortable, the most YOU? Write about that experience and what it felt like, if you were with others or alone, and why or how you came to feel that comfort in exactly who you are. And if you have a photo from that day/experience, share it with your story.

To be honest, the only time I ever feel (almost) completely comfortable with who I am is when I am behind a keyboard. These are moments when nothing matters but the words circling ‘round my restless mind. The physical self I constantly struggle with doesn’t matter. My social ineptitudes don’t matter. What people think of me doesn’t matter. I’d like to say that the world disappears when I’m behind a computer screen or scrawling messily in a notebook, but it doesn’t. It can’t. The world is still there, it just becomes more forgiving and less complex. Theories and ideas mask judgements and social discord.

When I write, I am a superhero. I challenge the world and ask that it start to think a little differently. When I write, I am myself. I am not my body, my social status, or my relationship misunderstandings unless I become those things in order to evaluate and work through them.

You’d think I’d sit down and put pen to paper more often.

Relish12 Day Fourteen: Favourite view…

It could be out your office window, into your child’s eyes, or from a plane at 35,000 feet. What was your favourite view this year? Can you share a photo of it with us?

The dining room window, and sun deck (in the non-winter months) of my in-laws’ home. A spectacular mountain backdrop, a lush forest lining the perimeter of a mottled field and an immediate yard of lazily rolling hills, thick copses of trees and flocks of morning songbirds (and, in the summer, the most dense hummingbird population I have ever seen). It’s inspiring and relaxing. I love few things more than sitting out on the deck (in the summer) with a cup of coffee (or gin) and a good conversation.

Relish12 Day Fifteen: Words of wisdom

Perhaps it feels like they found you, or you were meant to discover them right when you did, but often over the course of a year we are treated to tidbits of inspiration, insight and encouragement. We find them in books, on twitter, under bottle caps, on fortune cookies and tea bags, on bumper stickers, or on lemonade bottles… What were the words of wisdom that came to aid and engage you this year? (Bonus points if you can share them visually with us.)

This above all: to thine own self be true.

ttosbt

Relish12 Day Sixteen: Broken…

Sometimes it’s a blessing, sometimes it’s gut wrenching and horrible. In time it will heal, and it’s likely we’ll be stronger for it. But in the meantime it can be wince inducing to think back on it. Do it anyway… What broke this year? How are you better for it having broken? And if you can’t see that part yet, what good would you LIKE to see come from it?

I did. This year, I broke.

Gaiman on Hell

(Image @ tumblr)

It is a blessing. It was gut-wrenching and horrible. I am healing.

This is going to come across in a broken record kind of way, but I learned a lot in falling to pieces. I learned how easy it is to give up and stop caring. I learned how important it is to communicate and not completely clam up. I learned that there are things in my life that are more worth saying goodbye to than fighting to maintain.

I am learning to take each day as it comes and to find the blessings therein. I am learning to make time for the important things in my life and not take time for granted. I am learning that I am important. I am learning to stop, breathe, and keep taking steps forward.

Matt Dusk – Back In Town

UNT.

20 Jan

Let it go

(Image @ Lost&Found)

I’m done, folks.

I need to let it go.

It. The thing that has frustrated me to the point of tears for far, far too long. The epicentre of my current bitterness and hurt. The thing I most vehemently rage about whenever a whisper of an opportunity arises.

It’s not healthy and, in the grand scheme of my life, it doesn’t fucking matter. Not an ounce. Not at all.

My life is on track. It has never been better than it is today and it promises to grow only more rich as time ticks forward. There is no room for this it any more. This it is going to be breathed, with gratefulness and serenity, away.

Chicago – Look Away

UNT (when I will continue my foray into the Relish prompts – I am behind, not completely stalled).

Relish12.10 & Relish12.11

11 Dec

Relish12 Day Ten: Create Space

Carve some time out for yourself this week. Hire a sitter, enlist your spouse or family for help. Reach out. An hour or the whole afternoon, it’s your choice. When planning your time think about what your soul needs most. Is it comfort? Lock yourself in the bathroom for a bubble bath. Is it release? Take a drive to a quiet spot and scream at your steering wheel. Whatever it is you are most needing your highest self already knows, so take this time to do it. Afterwards, write about what creating that space meant for you. What emotions bubbled up? Where did your thoughts drift? Could you commit do doing this for you more often?

Stress. Sadness. Excitement.

See, the only real thing I need most, right now, is to be able to make time to be myself. When I’m finished a day of work and have completed putting together the evening’s dinner, all I want to do is decompress. I want to sit and completely gap out. This, my friends, is a choice. I consciously make the choice to watch The Vampire Diaries rather than write. I need to stop doing that. I need to take an hour, just one small hour, and unplug (so to speak – I write better when I’m at my keyboard). I need to take an hour to create.

I also need to get out of my house, by myself, more frequently. I get caught up, on weekends and other off-time, doing chores and ignoring my soul’s request to be soothed. I need to start my weekends at the gym (I do that now), working the week’s stress out of my system, and then move to a coffee shop with the laptop, tablet, notebook and pen or even a novel, and just sip a latté and breathe. The laundry can wait. Mopping the floors is not necessary. Cookies can be baked at ten o’clock in the evening if they have to be baked at all.

I can commit to doing this more often. I think this next year is going to be an interesting one. Okay, I know it is going to be an interesting one, but for a multitude of reasons.

Relish12 Day Eleven: The call of Nature…

True, for some it may only come as a whisper, but for many the call to be out in nature is nearly impossible to ignore. We are a part of it, as much as it is a part of us, and honouring that desire to commune with the land and its creatures is also honouring all that is still very much wild and untamed within ourselves. When did you answer the call of nature this year? Where did you go and how did you spend your time connecting?

I am so sad, so sorry and so ashamed to admit that Nature and I did not have many dates this year.

mephy and I had a lovely walk in his backwoods in the summer, but that was about the extent of it. I didn’t hike, I didn’t kayak, I didn’t even get out camping. I did take myself on a handful of inline skating dates (in a local park) that were mighty therapeutic.

My best “connect with Nature” time was spent in my backyard. I’m not a gardener by nature and hope never to be, but I sincerely enjoyed weeding in the sunshine. Almost as much as visiting with family after summer evening dinners, sometimes around the patio table and sometimes around the fire pit.

I think I will make more of an effort next year. I will kayak, I will hike and I will camp. I will walk off the beaten path. I will find my inner hippie and we will frolic  commune and come to a deeper understanding of our Self.

Seether – Careless Whisper

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Relish12.9

9 Dec

Relish12 Day Nine: New Beginnings…

The only constant in this life is change. That’s it. Change can come in all forms; some brilliant, some downright painful. We grow each and every time we navigate change, exposing more strength, wisdom, and courage the deeper we let it do it’s work within us. Some change comes as an ending, some as a fresh start to something totally different. What was one new thing that started for you this year? What was one new beginning in your life?

This was a year of positivity.

I had a bit of a rough go of the end of last year and I wanted to try to move forward. So, I sincerely flattered a friend and imitated her.

I started a gratitude journal. Every night before bed, usually in the tub, I reflect on my day and I choose at least five things a day that I am thankful for. It’s not always easy, sometimes I’m frustrated or just having a bad day, but I always do it.

This began as a New Year’s Resolution. Not something I was too familiar with, not getting caught up in the “I’m going to join a gym” or “I’m going to read one hundred pieces of classic literature this year.” I wanted to start something and see it through – so far, so good.

While I didn’t expect the bad days to disappear (and they haven’t), I knew that there was a silver lining in each one of them (there is. There always is). It’s the silver lining I’m after. A well-made latté, husband hugs after a long day, conversations about character creation and world building, the way my nephew sounds like a dolphin when he laughs and how his sister is picking that habit up, or the way the world looks when it’s being covered in a blanket of big ol’ fluffy snowflakes. Big things, little things . . . everything.

This new beginning opened a door of insight. I haven’t always liked what I’ve seen (of myself and others), but I’ve seen a lot and those things have always been well worth observing. The gratitude journal has made me a different person, and I can dig that.

Matthew Good Band – Alabama Motel Room

UNT

Relish12.7 & Relish12.8

8 Dec

Relish12 Day Seven: Favourite read…

Before Twitter, before Instagram, yes, even before Facebook there were these things calls BOOKS. They were the best way we had for spreading ideas, information, and inspiration to the masses. Sure, today we have Youtube, but I’m holding out hope that books still play a role in your like (even if they are on your kindle!) What books did you read this year? Which were your favourites? Why did they mean so much to you?

Books this year, you say?

Well, I was lucky enough to read one of my all-time favourites for book club this year. That’s right! Neil Gaiman’s work of art, American Gods, has been challenged by schools and libraries. This one reads like chocolate tastes. It’s a rich, smooth lick-your-lips Love Potion #9.

But that wasn’t my favourite read this year. de Vries’s Missing Sarah was. Why is simple: it’s well written, it’s honest and it puts a human face onto the archetypes of drug addict and sex trade worker. Missing Sarah makes you put the stereotype away and see the person behind the lifestyle. It gives you insight into the reasons some folks have for living the way they live and doing the things they do. It makes you want to fight harder for their rights and safety.

I really do adore this book and I really do highly recommend it.

Relish12 Day Eight: Rest & replenish…

Whether we want to admit it or not, whether we give in or deny it, whether we listen, honour  & respect it or not, there is simply NO getting around the fact that part of our lives must include resting & replenishing. Try as we might to ignore, suppress, or push past our pause point, it will always be there, just waiting for us to accept it. In a society aimed so strictly at achievement it can be hard to stop long enough to refill our tanks. But when we sojourn on without that necessary fuel we are always treated to the truth of just how vital it is to our joy, our creativity, our attention, and our efforts in all we do. So, this year how well did you allow for resting and replenishing? Where, when and how did you fill up your tank? Can you show us an image of a restful spot that you loved this year?

Books & Co.(Image © Michael Rawluk)

I have two favourite resting spots: home and Books & Co.

At home I tend to get my lazy on. I pull on PJs, mix up some hot chocolate (or tea) and snuggle under a big squishy blanket with Netflix or a DVD. This is extreme R&R. This is what happens when I want to decompress and turn everything off.

The “fill up my tank” kind of replenishing usually includes some creativity. Now I can get my creative on at home, but it’s not always easy to ignore the siren song of dishes that need washing or cookies that are just itching to be baked. So, if I want to get down to it, I pack up my things and I go to my local indie coffeebar (and bookstore). Books & Co. (and it’s adjoining Café Voltaire) is sort of like Cheers, not everyone knows my name, but there’s always at least one person there who does. You can’t deny that there’s a lot of comfort in that.

So, I bid hearty hello to my friendly neighbourhood barista (and bookster), grab a chai tea latté and set up in a quiet corner. On a Saturday morning I’ll chat with some of my favourite regulars and on weekday evenings I enjoy a sparsely populated utopia. The best part? Even if I get nothing written, I still head home with a calmer heart and more organized thoughts.

Metric – Help I’m Alive (Accoustic)

UNT.

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