The Sixteen Hour Challenge

Last night was spent amid a sea of cardboard boxes in the company of a couple of close friends, drinking wine and sharing some laughs. It was a much-needed dose of social activity, and delicious with homemade pizza on the menu.

As the evening wore on, a genuine compliment from me, delivered without excessive gusto was followed with a friend telling me that I always pay the perfect compliment at the best moments. She thinks I have a real knack for telling people what they need to hear, not as a tool of manipulation, but as a sincere way of helping them feel better about themselves.

I thought this was a great compliment! This made me reflect on some truly lovely things people have told me about myself, particularly things I’ve heard in the last week. It’s amazing how much we hold on to criticism or judgment, or dwell on hurtful comments, yet the compliments roll off us like water on an oily surface.

Seriously, think about this. When you hear a sincere compliment, something that touches you, you kind of feel it in your gut. Have you received any of those this week? In the last couple weeks? What were they? Who did they come from?

My sixteen hour challenge is this: Think of at least one lovely thing you’ve heard about yourself lately. Hold on to this statement, and try with all your might to allow yourself to believe it for as long as you can within the context of a day. Keep it in the forefront of your mind for as long as you possibly can. When you feel like the usual white noise and sometimes yucky stuff in your head is squeezing it out, hold on to that compliment and remember how it made you feel. Use it like armor against the sometimes cloudy stuff that gets in the way of really feeling like you deserve to – just the way the compliment made you feel. Try to see if you can make it through a whole waking day like this. I bet it will be tricky, but it’s something I’ve done all day today, and it really, really has made me feel amazing.(Pair that with a cozy day with my best girl with some amazing conversation and connection and you can’t lose, really…)

You are awesome! You have a passion and zest for life that’s inspiring! You give strength every day to the people you love! Those jeans make your ass look delicious!

The Mute Button

Today is one of those days when I wish my brain had a mute button. The older I get, the more I realize that I am the type of person who simply can’t shut off their head. My thoughts will sometimes take over any and all ability to live in the moment, and enjoy what’s happening around me.

This only feels tiresome when my head is dwelling on strange things; questions that remain unanswered; issues that are unresolved; things I feel anxious about; unpleasant feelings that I wish were not there. Maybe it’s the stress of moving, or the current phase of the moon, or perhaps it’s because I caved and had a slice of toast at breakfast – but I’m really having a day. Days like this make me long for a Batcave, where I can hide out until the clouds pass and I’m feeling sunny again.

A mute button would be stellar. By the time I un-muted, whatever these strange feelings are will have passed, and I’d feel positive and secure again. That’s what I can easily boil it down to – insecurity. Perhaps I wish that I could just mute insecurity?

I feel, in my weakest moments, like I have really obscure edges and angles and there will be no puzzle that I’ll ever fit comfortably into. Like just as I’ve eased in, the slightest jostle or change of temperature will cause me to pop back out again, back into the land of “just not fitting”.

Perhaps an early evening nap will fix everything.

Off I go then…

Moving on Up

My apologies guys and dolls for the radio silence. Life has gotten great big crazy lately, and I’m happy to report, mostly in the best of ways.

My book is half written, but is currently on an oh-so-brief hiatus as I pack up our households for our move at the end of the month to a much more suitable space. We found a lovely house with four bedrooms, fairly new renos throughout, lots of light, a huge kitchen, and a wood burning fireplace. There is a porch, back deck, balcony off the master bedroom and roof top deck. It’s seriously brilliant, and I’m so excited about what this all means.

Of course, I’m also freaking out a little bit. They say that moving is right up there with some of the top stress-causing moments in life. I seem to have developed OCD over the last year, and this compulsion for order and organization is being applied to our packing in an absurd colour-coded array of control freak frenzy. I had to take a time out the other day because someone left an un-labeled, un-coded box in the hallway. I mean, really…

The anxiety comes from the fear that what is almost certainly a great step for us may actually be a disaster. This is how I move through relationships now – hoping for the very best, trying for the very best, but secretly looking over my shoulder for devastation to catch up. How do you really enjoy anything if that is the reality? I scrawl about the bad stuff in a journal, and I celebrate the good stuff as much as I can. It’s about quelling that stupid voice that says “you can’t”. I hate that voice. I’m not sure what part of the body it’s attached to, but it should be removed like tonsils or the appendix because it’s just as useless.

It’s glorious outside today. I’m thinking about my best girl, and wishing she were home so I could look at her. I’m thinking about the food we’ll grill later, and the packing games we’ll play with the kids, and the two or three episodes from season two of The Sopranos that we’ll use to numb out our busy minds before sleeping.

I just want everything to be ok. Just like it is right now, but even slightly better, if that’s not too much to ask. I want us all to be celebrating for years to come.

The bigger space, the bigger bed, and the bigger dream is twelve sleeps around the corner. I’m ready for it, more than ever before. I think I can be good at it now, this love thing. Good in a way that has been paved by a stint in the school of hard knocks, some serious life celebration and revelation, and a determination to find love and make it last that surprises even me some days.

May first is moving day, and it’s also May Day, or Beltane. It marks the final end of the winter months, and was traditionally a celebration of fire, sexuality and fertility. Ancient Celts would frolic in the forests on Beltane Eve, free to lay with whomever they wished. In the morning, they would  wake and honour the sacred spring rites of the God and Goddess by weaving colourful ribbon around the May pole. It represents the yielding of the post-winter earth to the ripening warmth of the sun, the moment just before the fresh buds burst forth into supple blossoms, and the release from the lingering grip of winter.

Sounds like a damn fine time to build a home and a life together, dontcha think?