Let’s dance in the rain, Mama!

Dear Readers,

My daughter taught me something on Saturday.

I noticed the temperature was a reasonable 80 degrees and that it was our first less than 100 degree day in weeks so I headed to the park with her.

As we pulled up, it started to rain and I thought, well we should probably head home.

Vivienne was trailing her fingers against the pane of the window and smiling so I thought, well why not go play in the rain, after all it’s only drizzling and we have been cooped up in that house for the last month because it was either too hot or we were too sick to go out.

So I got my umbrella and took her hand and we started walking.

I kept being torn between wanting her to have fun and splash in the rain and dirt but not wanting her to be messy (since I had not planned to be in the rain I had no towel) but eventually gave up and let her be in the rain as she wished.

The most fun we had was on the swing, she laughed and I laughed as I pushed her higher and higher.  I realized that it was the first time in a while that we had gone to the park and I made a mental note to do it more.

I am not a professional photographer, but every once in a while I get a few good shots. I am particularly happy with this because it will help me remember, that it’s okay to play in the rain, in fact it’s a good idea to do it whenever you can.

It’s so easy to forget, that I want to say thank you to my daughter who reminded me how important it is to play.

VivienneRainRain

Think About It.

I give you permission to fail.

Dear Readers,

Today I was in an Agile class that I am lucky enough to be taking in conjunction with my job. One of the major components of the Agile methodology is to try something and if it doesn’t work, try something else.

Inherent in that instruction is the idea that not only will you fail, you are expected to fail and are in fact given permission to fail.

This is a concept I learned about a long time ago when I got involved with improvisational acting.  It was one of the first exercises I learned.

You make a mistake (on purpose!!!!!!!!!) take a deep bow and say, “I FAILED”

It was so incredibly freeing and we even called it a “failure bow” so you acknowledged the fail and then moved on with the next scene. It was great!

I think far too often we are so wrapped up in looking perfect and being just right and doing things JUST so, that we miss the opportunity to embrace the unknown, the missteps and the happy accidents that come with experimentation.

What can you open up for yourself if you gave yourself permission to not be perfect, or better yet, give yourself permission to “play” and then it’s a game and if you lose, you learn and if you win, that’s good too.

What do you need to do to unlock yourself from perfect?

What if you thought of FAIL as — “First Attempt At Learning” (like the picture says)

Can you let go of the idea that you have to be perfect? Can you open yourself up to the notion of play and experimentation? What might happen? What can you learn?

I say to you, I give you permission to fail, I give you permission NOT to be perfect, in fact, embrace the opportunity to try something completely new, which by the way, means you won’t be perfect, because you can’t be new and perfect at the same time.

Think About It.

Failfail

Rescue Your Relationships!

Dear Readers,

Usually I give my own advice or story but today I am going to deviate a bit.

I am good friends with Ryan and Chelsea who are world class speakers and relationship experts and TedX speakers.

Their Ted Talk – “Yes Means Yes”  is here. I am going to let them do most of the talking today but I will say this.

“Yes means Yes” is a relationship game changer. This is not just for your romantic life either, this is good for any relationship that you are not fully asking for what you want. It is simple advice and hard to follow. I have started using this with my husband and we have already seen some great results! It’s how you grow, right?

This is a GAME changer and I recommend you invest 12 minutes to watch, listen and learn from these two wonderful people. Besides being experts, they are real and authentic about their fights and their lives as husband and wife and parents.

Watch it! Listen and Learn!

Take Care Of Yourself, You are The Only YOU!

Dear Readers,

I feel like when I write this blog you are reading it, but we are having a back and forth dialogue and it goes a little like this.

Me: Hi there, I am going to talk about myself here and think you might be going through something similar, Is it cool with you if I take up some of your time and energy today and make you “think about something”?

You: Yes, I look forward to your blog each week, and really relate or I find it interesting to read about you and your life because it’s like my life and it really helps me to know someone else is living a life much like mine or your life is nothing like mine and I read your blog because it’s a way to learn about the way someone else lives. Either way, proceed-

Me: okay cool

So, my whole family has been sick for the last month. It has SUCKED.  I MEAN ROYALLY SUCKED.

First, my husband had a blood clot that needed to be treated, he went to the doctor and started on blood thinners and medicine to help, and that was good. Scary, but good to know there is help and treatment.

Around this time, I started coughing but with no other symptoms I let things go on for a week or so, and then I went to the doctor. They told me it was a viral infection and to take some cough suppressants which they gave me, and I took. The cough did NOT improve, and it had in fact graduated to pneumonia. I went to the hospital, they gave me a breathing treatment, a steroid, and some strong medicine to take and heavy emphasis on REST. I followed their advice because I was scared to death of dying which is what I felt like was what was happening. It sounds dramatic to say that, which being an actor, I have a natural flair for, however, this did not feel like something I would recover from so I mean it quite literally.

The next week, I felt much better, not 100% but getting there. or as I put it- “out of the woods and slowly making my way back to the city….” until my daughter had a fever at daycare so I went to pick her up and it turns out, she had Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease which as it turns out is not preventable or treatable and it’s highly contagious. The only way for it to get better is to wait. Waiting, my favourite thing to do, as I am sure you do as well, I find it fun to wait.

No. Not fun, not by any stretch of any imagination, and believe me I have a GREAT imagination. My husband got it and I did too, so that gave us both new afflictions to recover from while also caring for a toddler. The first things you need is rest when you are sick, which is pretty hard to come by when you are taking care of a child who can’t take care of themselves. Also, you aren’t at your best because you feel like death warmed over on a cracker.

Thankfully, we have wonderful friends, family and bosses who helped make this difficult time easier by offering help, by delivering groceries and by offering to let me work from home or not work altogether as we all recovered. I am overjoyed to say, we are better, and I have taken many steps to stay that way. I have heeded all warnings about “taking it easy” and am treating it much like when I first had Miss Vivienne.

All my energy————————————————————————— GONE.

I am the team captain for a 5K that took place this morning, but I couldn’t even cheer them on because I am resting. That’s okay, they did a great job without me.

I was scheduled to see three different plays that I can’t now because I must rest. That’s okay, there will be other shows.

I was supposed to give a presentation to help me hone and sharpen my presentation skills. That’s okay, it can be rescheduled.

What’s my point? What happened to us to make things so bad? Bad timing and lack of rest. At first, my cough was annoying, but not debilitating. I waited a little too long to go to the doctor the first time, “trying to muscle through” and then my husband got sick, so I started concentrating on him, and kind of forgot about me, then my daughter got sick and my focus was divided again. If just one of us was sick, that would have been a pain in the bahookie, but manageable.

The perfect storm of you-know-what was all three of us getting sick at the same time.

I implore you, find the time to let your brain, body, and soul rest.

You need it. Especially when you are sick, but let’s talk prevention here because I truly believe that was my saving grace. I was up to three workouts a week when this first struck me.

After I was diagnosed with pneumonia. I was told, No workouts for a month, and you definitely can’t swim or run.  (there goes my 5K) I probed to find out more and my doctor said, “You have a weakened immune system and your lung capacity is diminished from all the coughing, so if you swim, you could collapse a lung and die.” WHAT? Turns out I wasn’t being dramatic before, I really could die so I am taking my own advice and medicine here but want to tell you again. Please drink water (every day) and eat a good diet (most of the time) and find a way to be active and on the flipside, don’t do too much.

I looked at my calendar for next month and almost everything not work related is coming off it, I can’t take the chance on getting sick again and I also need to get my reserves of energy back in place, which will take time and patience. I can’t get around it, 2018 is officially about patience. I have been fighting it and fighting it but the message of putting me flat on my back has finally got my attention. I hope you don’t have to go through what we went through to learn that lesson so here it is:

I need to rest, you need to rest, we all need to rest. Rest looks different for us all.

For me, meditation is a big part of how I rest. For others, they do yoga. For someone else it might be a workout. Another one for me is going to the movies, alone. I also find writing to be very relaxing. I have posted some suggestions below. Consider them, and if they are not for you, consider something else.

Do some thinking today about how you rest, and how you can get more of it.

Please, for your health, and the health of those around you.

Think About It.

 

Say it, who knows what might happen…

Dear Readers,

Do you ever get that feeling deep inside of you that you want to say something but you are scared of looking silly? Say it anyway.

Do you have the feeling that if you say it someone might make fun of you or think less of you? Say it anyway.

Do you think, “they will think I am not smart or I don’t have all the answers if I say that”?

Say it anyway.

Too often we leave things unsaid that we wish we had said and then the moment is gone and it’s too late. Time is the only resource we don’t get back, moment after moment is going by and if you don’t take your moment, you lose it.

Let me tell you a secret about that.

You aren’t the only one thinking it or wanting to say it.

I promise you, there is at least one other person who wants to say something or bring it up but they are scared and don’t so if you don’t say it, and they don’t say it, guess what?

It never gets said, the discussion is never had and that is a missed opportunity for communication and new ideas.

We need your ideas, don’t be afraid to share yourself with the world.

Think About It. imagejfminc

 

 

It’s hard to ask for help!

But do it anyway.

Dear Readers,

Two weeks ago I was having a rough personal week and I reached out to some friends (reluctantly, I HATE asking for help) to give me a pep talk.

Often the purveyor of pep talks to those friends I reached out to, and some of them not at all, I was overcome by the responses I got.

One friend told me how brave she thought I was and to “not doubt how awesome I am”

Another told me I had the spirit of a horse and was unyielding with my passion for inspiring others.

Yet another friend told me that her favourite thing about me was that I was fearful and not afraid to admit it.

Even still another friend sent me cookies! So good and tasty and just what the “little kid” in me needed at just the right time.

It definitely made me feel better, and I am glad I asked for help.

I will say again, I HATE asking for help, but I did and I will continue to do it, for three reasons.

  1. Everyone is doing worse than you think, especially the ones who seem to “have it all together” – Trust me, their social media does NOT tell the full story.
  2. In asking for help, it makes me stronger and more able to help others when THEY need it.
  3. I want to teach my daughter that SHE doesn’t have to do it ALL on her own.

None of us do, that is why we connect with others in the first place, to have a connection and a “safe place” to go when feeling threatened or frustrated with our current state.

Isn’t it time that you asked someone, “Do you need help?” or “Are you okay?” and listen with your whole heart and soul when they answer.

Think About It.

 

Love your body, just as it is!

Dear Readers,

I started seeing posts about bikinis and swimsuits and it reminded me it’s swimsuit season again and the inevitable barrage of ads are about to start flooding your inbox telling you how to “get that bikini body you want” and “shed the weight just in time for swimsuit season” (This is also for the men, because they also struggle with this)  and I want to state here and now. STOP IT! We don’t need more advertisements to tell us we “NEED” to lose weight or even that we “WANT” to lose weight.

If you want to lose weight for you, I say awesome! Personally, I am working toward a loss of 23 pounds so I can be a bone marrow donor (they require you to be 270 pounds before they will allow you to donate) and and so I can be a good example for my daughter which is that healthy is a habit and if you make it part of your routine, you feel good, it releases endorphins and I don’t know about you, but I get some of my best ideas when I am swimming or jogging.

But if you are seeing these advertisements and feel like, “Yeah I could stand to lose a few or tighten or tone or do what I can to look better in this swimsuit…”

Ask yourself why you are doing it and if it’s for you and you alone, go for it!

But please please please don’t feel like you have to do it for your partner, or if you are single, to get a partner. Be you, exactly that, and nothing more and be happy with yourself.

So my question to you is, can you love your body as it is? That doesn’t preclude you from working out or doing things that YOU want to do to change it, and in the meantime, EMBRACE yourself and where you are, because if you say to yourself, I will be happy when I get my flabby arms more toned or when I lose that last 10 pounds that I still have from being pregnant, well you are wasting time being unhappy because this is your life, and your body and there is no time like NOW to get to loving yourself AS YOU ARE.peacockbeauty

I will say this is not an easy thing and it’s taken me the better part of the last 5 years to really hone in on this and to constantly remind myself to love myself as I am.

So can you join in and love your body (the only one you have) EXACTLY as YOU ARE?

Think About It.