what tree are you going to plant right now?

what tree are you going to plant

So I’m going through a little bit of a transition right now (seems to be the story of my life!) in a few areas. Neither good nor bad ~ perhaps a little scary and also a little exciting. However, I find myself at times tempted to want to look back. How did I get here? Could I have done something differently? Should I have done something differently? Would I be further ahead if I had stuck with x, or chosen y instead?

Dangerous territory to play in my friends! Because the truth is, I’ll ever know. And it doesn’t matter, anyhow! I have to trust that all I have experienced and all I have down have contributed to where I am and all that I am in this moment.

I spent a lovely evening with a very special woman and friend recently. She introduced me to yet another amazing – and very fitting – Chinese proverb:

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

While I could spend time and energy wishing I had started my business endeavors years ago, gotten those qualifications that would have come in handy at 22 as opposed to deliberating on it at 32, I didn’t. That time has come and gone. And that’s okay! I chose to do other things (and had some exciting times, let me tell you… riding a motorbike with my dreadlocks waving behind me along the crazy streets of Thailand, living in an Ashram in India eating with my hands on the floor and meditating at 5am, learning to surf in Australia’s beautiful Sunshine Coast…)

So, the question now becomes, do I deliberate a little longer only to wake up one day and realize another twenty years have gone by? Or do I take action and plant that tree right now, knowing that in twenty years from now it may have grown quite tall, and be in beautiful full bloom? I may have to wait a little while before finding out the answers, and work hard at watering and nurturing the tree in the meantime – but if I don’t first plant it, there will certainly be no chance of potential growth.

There you have it, folks. A short and sweet post this week. And the moral? Find out what tree you would like to plant the most, and do it now. The time will be passing by anyway, so you may as well be growing something while it does.

Have a FAB week, everyone!

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What ‘tree’ are you thinking of planting in your life right now? And what is stopping you? I would love to hear from you in the comments below :-).

time for a little shift, or a cleaning of house, perhaps?

time for a little shift, or a change of house, perhaps?

Just as the season seems to be changing, I feel the change in me, too. A slight restlessness. An itch. Ants in my pants. A yearning for something more. It’s not that I want Christmas early, and it’s too early for cabin fever, but maybe it’s time for a little shift.

Because just as the seasons shift, we shift too.

They say change is one of those inevitables in life most feared. And yet the cliché is true: the only constant in life is change.

Change doesn’t have to be big. And it doesn’t have to be scary. It can be nothing more than a small shift in our routine, or a different accent colour in the family room. Even changing around the furniture may revitalize or re-energize. It may be just what the doctor ordered.

So it may be a little early for official spring cleaning, but sometimes reorganizing the cupboards, or perhaps a little purging of those extra unnecessary take-out chop-sticks in the drawer, will do the trick too.

This week I’ve been going through old boxes and files, and weeding through my closet in an attempt to clean up house. Make space for something new. (Ironically, I seem to be making more of a mess than what was there before – but that is all part of the process, right?!?)

Now if you don’t quite feel like fighting with cobwebs or fighting back sneezes from the dust on those ancient treasures hiding in the depths of your closet, I’ve brainstormed some other ways to perhaps create a little change.

  • Get a haircut
  • Try a new sport or activity
  • Take a new route to school or work or when out with the dog
  • Listen to a new artist
  • Sample a new drink
  • Catch a new movie or a watch a new show
  • Go to the theatre
  • Test drive a new car
  • Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier or later than usual
  • Splurge on a new pair of boots
  • Buy a new flavor of toothpaste
  • Say yes when you’d normally say no
  • Say no where you’d normally say yes
  • Cook a new recipe
  • Add a little something daring to your outfit

Sometimes even the smallest action can go a long way. And it’s never a bad thing to have a little extra excitement in our lives, right?!?

I’m off to Starbucks, where I’m going to trade in my regular Tall Bold for something a little crazy. And I’m not just talking a splurge on a Grande, here. I might just try out the seasonal Caramel Brûlé Latte, who knows! I may even leave my mug at home to drink out of the fancy red seasonal ‘cups filled with joy’ (uhmmm… and miss out on saving the environment and 10 cents? Then again, maybe not!)

Have a FAB week, everyone!

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When you may be feeling itchy for a change, what do you do? I’d love to hear from you in the  comments below! 

today is a new day… make of it what you choose.

today is a new day

I do enjoy the beginning of a new month ~ an opportunity to focus on something new, create a new goal or two, change up your schedule a little bit. It holds the promise of a blank page, a fresh start. A great excuse to begin again.

And yet, do we really need an excuse to start anew?

No, we don’t! Because every day is a new day, a new opportunity. And today is the perfect day to make that change, do that thing you’ve always wanted to do, pick up that instrument you’ve always dreamed of playing.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes notice myself wanting to use the excuse of being too old, of not having enough time, or having already invested x amount of time or money moving in this direction or going after that career. But really, why should that stop me or you from doing or being or going after exactly whatever it is we may want?

(insert funny story here. So at 17 I realized I really wanted to dance… and had come back from a theatre camp totally pumped to take it on! So, I had a meeting with the director of the local dance school, who kindly suggested — more like persuaded! — me to learn a little bit of everything. Now I may have been a tad old to go into all beginner classes, yes, but I signed up for them all anyhow! I started learning tap, jazz, modern, and ballet. I still remember those neon blue spandex uniforms we had to wear… my lovely roommate at boarding school would simply HOWL at me every time I put it on! Who could blame her though, right?!? Anyhow, the ballet class was the worst. I was sharing the barre with 16 other pre-pubescent little girls, all half my height and skinnier than even one of my thighs. It was utterly embarrassing, let me tell you. But I refused to quit! Somewhat lucky for me, one day while plié-ing my right knee decided to rotate inwards when it was supposed to go outwards… and then all of a sudden it ‘popped’ out of place. And with that, my promising career as a prima ballerina was over before it even began! So sad. end of funny story.)

The moral of the story? You’re never too old, nor is it ever too late to go after what you want. And if it’s really not meant to be, your knee will pop out of place, and then you’ll only get closer to discovering what really is meant to be J.

Seriously though, it’s never too late to start something new or begin again. Because guess what. Today marks the first day of the rest of your life. Isn’t that exciting? Yes, it is! And so there is no time to waste!

Be it a new job, a new business, a new city, a new car, a new partner. Today is a new day, a fresh start. And it’s yours to make of it what you choose.

Have a FAB week, everyone!

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How often do you ask ‘why’?

Why

Do you ever yourself why you are doing what you’re doing? Why you are feeling what you‘re feeling? Why this is important to you, or that is important to you? Why you feel like eating salad? Or ice cream? Or exercising? Or not?

Young children so often seem to display this amazing curiosity. At any opportunity, they are asking ‘why’. Why is the sky blue? Why can’t I touch this? Why does that person look so funny? Why are you upset? Why do I have to go to bed? And they are normally genuinely quite interested in the answer.

So at what point did you or I stop being so curious?

Although I can’t speak for everyone – or anyone for that matter other than myself – I often find I can get so busy and wrapped up in the what, I sometimes forget to take the time to really ask about the why.

They say in business it’s critical to first start with the why. It’s not about what product you are selling or what service you are offering. Instead, it’s about why. The why gets into your story, your values, and your passion. And those are what really fuel whatever it is you do. Makes sense, right? I mean, people are more likely gonna buy something or do business with someone they connect to. Something or someone that stands for something deeper. A reason, a purpose.

So if that’s true, wouldn’t it also make sense to suggest we might connect more to (and even get more enjoyment out of!) whatever it is we are doing if we took some time to look at the why behind it?

For example, it’s easy to get stressed when looking at the piles of laundry, or thinking about the cooking to be done, the workout to squeeze in, the light bulb that needs changing, this person to call back, that person to invite over…

Why?

Why do you want to do the laundry? Perhaps because it’s nice to put on fresh, clean clothes, or it makes you happy to use a fluffy, fresh-out-of-the-dryer towel (I know it does me!)

Why do you want to cook? Maybe it’s important to know what you are putting into your body, ensuring you are feeding it with nutritious and delicious goodies.

Why do you want to squeeze in a yoga class? Maybe it helps you get present, take time for yourself, or makes you feel so darn good afterwards.

Why do you want to invite that friend over? Maybe you value your friendships, and you enjoy being around those that build you up. Maybe you know it’ll make both of your days from a little visit.

I know it’s hard enough to find time to do all it is you have to do on a daily basis, let alone find time to actually think about why. However, taking a moment to ponder about the reason behind each of those things you have, or want (I recently replaced my things-to-do list with a want-to-do list! It’s brilliant!) to do, may give you that extra little nudge of motivation, energy, or inspiration you need.

Why? Well, why not?!?

Have a FAB week, everyone!

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roots to grow, wings to fly

roots to growThis past week was full of fun times with family, friends, and special family friends. After a wonderful turkey celebration all together in Calgary, I indulged in a few days of nostalgia visiting my old hood, beautiful Vancouver.

Being in this rain-happy city again, I had no idea quite how much I would enjoy visiting all of the old sites and ‘hoods (it also helped having some special folks who were so keen and generous to show us some of the city’s best!)as I did. The city really is beautiful. And while biking in Stanley Park, crossing the Capilano Suspension bridge, and sweating it up the Grouse Grind, I enjoyed some quiet reflection time being in nature.

It sounds cheesy I know – but I really did feel as though I was in an episode of David Suzuki’s ‘The Nature of Things’! And two thoughts came to mind:

Like trees, we all need roots to grow and, like birds, we need wings to fly.

Roots to grow.

Where we come from, our upbringing, our childhood experiences – they’re important. They help shape who you are, and should be recognized and appreciated.  And even though we may grow up to be something very different than when we were young, it’s important to never forget where we came from. As good ol’ J Lo would say: “…no matter where I go, I know where I came from”.

Wings to fly.

Whether it be support from family or friends, or a walk in nature to both humble and inspire – we all need to be surrounded by people and things that build us up, bring a smile to our face, or give us courage to go after our dreams. Don’t underestimate the power of these things ~ we all have wings capable of flying.

I’m afraid it’s going to be short and sweet this week, folks! (or perhaps you’re all breathing a sigh of relief right now!) as it’s time to get to one of my oldest and bestest friends bachelorette party :-).

Have a FAB week, everyone!

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a new take on what it means to be ‘F.A.B.’

a new take on what it means to be fab

Standing at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure Wall of Hope, seeing all of those names and meaningful messages to loved ones remembered, still bravely fighting, or surviving, is always an emotional moment for me. And last weekend, sloshing through the mud in the middle of the U of T field, rain gently falling on my head and pink wings on my back, was no different.

I’ve participated in this run for seven years (although not consecutively given my pattern of moving abroad!) and it still gets me every time. Yes, it means a lot to me because I lost my own mother to breast cancer. Yet it goes beyond that. Whether it’s seeing the thousands of people who breast cancer has touched, or the sense of incredible community that has been built because of this disease, or the determination and fight that so many display. It’s quite remarkable actually. And it’s incredibly inspiring.

And to think breast cancer is only one type of cancer. And to think that cancer is only one type of serious illness. And that serious illness is only one scary thing out there.

There is a lot of big, bad, ‘stuff’ out there – and a lot is out of our control. That being said, you can choose to be victim to whatever life has thrown at you, or you can choose to stand up and fight back.

Enter in a new definition of one of my favorites words, FAB.

F stands for FIGHT.

A stands for ACTION.

B stands for BELIEVE.

Fight. 

I think it’s important to have something to fight for. Fight for your health. Fight for your family. Fight for your values. Fight for the youth that are too young to fight for themselves. Fight to be heard. Fight to land your dream job. Fight to cross the finish line. Every one of us has something worth fighting for.

“Better to fight for something than live for nothing.” ~ George S. Patton

Action.

Without action, nothing happens. And I can certainly attest to this statement first hand. I’ve had plenty of ideas in my days that I’ve never really followed through on. And then I wonder why they never came into fruition, or I get down on myself for not having worked harder. Even if it’s one small step, (which is the only way any big undertaking or endeavor has ever begun!), you need to take action. Begin somewhere.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Lao-tzu

Believe. 

Believe in the cause. Believe the fight is worth fighting for. Believe in yourself. Action and fight become futile if you don’t also believe. Believe in your strength, believe in your power. Believe that who you are and what you stand for does make a difference.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

So, what are you fighting for? What action are you taking? And are you believing?

It doesn’t have to be world peace, either (not because that isn’t a noble cause worth fighting for mind you) but a clean kitchen, family dinners, open communication, daily exercise… all worth fighting for in my opinion.

Have a FAB week, with lots of F.A.B. stuff going on, everyone!

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What are you fighting for? And what are you going to do about it? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below 🙂

what does ‘doing it right’ mean anyway?

where (and why) do we look to measure how we're doing it right?

Where (and why) do we look to measure whether we’re ‘doing it right’ ? What does doing it right mean anyway?

Twice in a row this week, I happened to be sweating it up on my yoga mat next to enthusiastic beginners. And I’m talking never done yoga before – let alone this fast-paced power yoga style stuff – and in a heated room to boot! Both times I was thoroughly impressed. They were keen, engaged, and kept up completely! It was inspiring… I love watching people achieving things, and getting into these weird positions they never thought possible.

I also couldn’t help but notice how intently their eyes were on the other students in the room. ‘Is my left hand where it’s supposed to be?’ ‘Did he really just say that?’ ‘Now what the heck is that pose supposed to look like?!?’ And it makes sense… I mean if you are being told to contort your body in ways you didn’t know it could go, you may want some guidance and assurance. And yet, even when they had listened to the direction, and had successfully brought themselves to the ‘correct’ posture, they were still eyeing the other bodies around them… to check in? To compare with? To ensure everyone else also looked as silly as they perhaps felt they looked?

Now being a newbie in a yoga class is one thing… I’m sure the majority of folk want to make sure their downward facing dog is looking how it’s ‘supposed’ to look. But I don’t think the studio is the only place we tend to look to others to judge how we are doing ourselves…

Why do we always need to check in to see if we’re doing things the ‘right way’? And who’s to say our neighbour is the expert in terms of what the right way is anyhow?

It brought me back to my first year of theatre school. Picture this keen go-getter: private school graduate, head prefect of her boarding house, captain of the field hockey team, peer counselor, lead in school play, the choir, concert band, awards, scholarships, 93% average… the girl who needed the approval, and was pretty good at ‘playing the game’ in order to receive it. And then all of a sudden she’s being asked in her acting class to partake in an exercise whereby she must roll around on the ground expressing whatever emotion she felt using only the word ‘ahhh’. WHAT?!? How was I supposed to do that? I needed more direction! What was it supposed to look like? Which way was I supposed to move to ensure I got an ‘A’? And how should my ‘ahhs’ sound? How do I do it ‘right’? And to top it all off, we had to do this exercise with our eyes closed!

It was horrific. I felt like I just didn’t get it… I felt silly. I felt fake. I totally doubted myself. And I was constantly sneakily opening my eyes just enough to peak at what everyone else was doing. Was I doing it ‘right’?

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only exercise of its kind I had to endure that first year. I almost failed. The feedback I received from my professors at my end-of-year audition was that I seemed to be constantly going outside of myself to seek approval. ‘Stop trying to please Daddy’ I remember so vividly one of them saying. And he was right. I totally was.

I was struggling so hard to ‘do it right’ – and failed to see the whole point was to realize there was no way to do it right; nor was there a way to do it wrong. The only way to do it was to do it my way.

Although I’ve come a long way, I still sometimes struggle with wanting to do it right, or to look good, or to seek approval. And then I start to compare. And then I doubt myself. I get scared I’ll make a mistake. Do it the wrong way. Or the not-as-good-as-her way. And so what do I do?

Nothing. I get down and I give up.

Here’s the thing. Whenever I seek another’s approval, I am giving up my own power. Whenever I am comparing myself to someone else, it’s like saying they are the authority on what’s best for me and my life. And when I am trying to do it ‘right’, chances are I am not acting from my heart, from inside.

As cliché as it is, I will never be good at trying to be like anyone else, or do what anyone else does. I will only ever be good at being me. And not only that, I am the best in the world at being me!

And so are you.

Stop looking around, seeing how you measure up, comparing your warrior pose to that student in the front row.

Find your pose. your path. your way. You are the only expert on your journey… so spend more time checking in with yourself, and less time checking in with those around you.

I’m pretty sure what you’ll find is that you are pretty darn amazing.

Have a FAB week, everyone!

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celebrate the things-to-do that are already done!

things to do you've already done

At this time of year, things are buzzing. Not only are the leaves bursting with colour, but the world is bursting with action. Back to school and back to work is in full swing, to-do lists are piling high, projects and responsibilities are creeping up and in.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in everything that needs to get done. And it can get stressful, overwhelming, and chaotic pretty fast!

It makes sense. I get it. And I am right there with you! Perhaps, however, it needn’t have to be that way…

Although it seems to be human nature (don’t ask me why!) to first focus on everything you still have to do, what if we could switch that around? What if we could first focus on everything you successfully managed to have already done?

This week, my fabulous coach suggested I look at all I have accomplished over the last little while, instead of getting caught up in everything I have not yet done. And so, I came up with a Things-To Do-That-Are-Already-Done List’.

Now you may be thinking who the heck has time to do that? Perhaps you are barely finding enough time to make a grocery list! That may be true. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

There will always be heaps more to do and lots more to get done. So, you can be victim to your to-dos, or you can instead allow yourself to celebrate the already-dones.

After writing out the list, I will admit couldn’t help but smile. It turns out I have done quite a bit already! From teaching myself how to build my own website, to officially registering the business, to the logo to the biz cards to the ‘be emspired’ newsletter to my first (pro bono) client…

I may not be where I thought I would be, or where I may like to be, but I’m doing alright. And I am still in action. Baby steps.

When hiking up a mountain (not that I do this very often mind you!) I tend to look towards the peak. I tend to focus on the place I want to get to, and the long road still ahead. But then every now and again, I allow myself to look back at where I came from, and to celebrate the distance already traveled.

Once in a while, it’s important to take time to acknowledge how far you’ve already come, and to celebrate all you have already done.

So the mountain is our journey, our goals, our dreams, our lists. (go with me on this one!) It’s important to have a place to reach towards, a destination if you will. And, it is also equally important to acknowledge and celebrate the steps along the way. Because that’s where life happens, that’s what life is about. The journey. It’s cliché but true.

It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

Today, and this week, acknowledge all of the things to do that you’ve already done, and celebrate how far you’ve already come. And for those who dare, make your own ‘Things-To-Do-That-Are-Already-Done list.’ You may just surprise yourself!

Have a FAB week, everyone.

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to be grateful whether hands full or hands empty

gratitude with border

A baby is happy so long as he or she eats, sleeps, is dry and clean, and stays warm. And isn’t that what we all need? At our core, yes. But once these basic needs are met, we want more. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, once the physiological needs are met, we move up the ladder. We want love and belonging. Self-esteem. We want to self-actualize. Wow. Now that’s a taller order than ensuring we get enough milk. But so it is. The more we have, the more we want.

Now although it’s a good thing to want to continue to grow, learn, develop, strive – are we also ensuring we make time to stop and appreciate where we are and what we already have?

I am in the middle of reading a new book; it was given to me as a gift, aptly titled “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. She shares her journey – beautifully and poetically narrated – of discovery as to what it takes to live a full life. She is on a mission to find joy and grace and beauty in every moment, regardless of what life throws at her… “to learn how to be grateful and happy, whether hands full or hands empty.”

She is a holy woman, and looks to scriptures for meaning. I am not suggesting this is the way – the only way or the right way – but the ideas she discovers I feel worthy of discussion.

‘Grace. Thanksgiving. Joy.’

In order to live full of grace, and to feel joy at any moment, even right now, means to learn to give thanks. To learn to practice gratitude.

It was a kind of dare – a love dare she called it, to write a list of one thousand blessings, one thousand things to be grateful for. She called it one thousand gifts. It wasn’t a list of gifts she wanted, but rather a list of gifts she already had. Morning shadows across the old floors. Jam piled high on the toast. Mail in the mailbox.

Practicing gratitude is not a new idea (and one I have even spoken of before!). Easy to do when things seem to be going swimmingly – when lying on the beach of Ibiza or discovering the beautiful city of Oslo. But to be grateful in times of sadness or trouble – when down – is not always as easy. And so perhaps that is the challenge. Perhaps that is the practice. Perhaps that is the dare.

Life is full of ups and downs. We couldn’t experience joy if we also didn’t experience sadness. But within the naturally occurring ebb and flow, in good times and in bad times, being thankful is possible.

Voskamp writes: “Gratitude in the midst of death and divorce and debt – that’s the language I’ve got to learn to speak – because that’s the kind of life I am living, the kind I have to solve… To learn how to be grateful and happy, whether hands full or hands empty. That is a secret worth spending a life on learning. Even if it takes a Rosetta Stone of decades.”

This week, before falling asleep at night, I began to make a list of the things I was grateful for that day. Freshly cleaned sheets. A baby’s smell. Cobblestone sidewalks. The smell of fresh rain. Good friends. The first bite of a delicious meal out. Getting moved from a middle seat, right behind a wall, to a window seat with a free one next to it…

Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most.

It’s okay to want things to strive for ~ I mean life is all about growing, learning, yearning…. but within the growth you can also access grace and joy and beauty through giving thanks. Don’t forget to be thankful for what you already have. And whether hands full or hands empty, there will always be something to be grateful for.

Have a great week, everyone.

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What are you grateful for? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!