Monthly Archives: December 2010

A Proper Sendoff

– Contributed by Big L

On this, the last day of 2010, I don’t have much time for blogging. Because you see, today will be a very large day. In honour of the year it’s been, the things I’ve discovered and the amazingness that awaits in 2011, I’ve decided to turn every waking moment of today into a celebration. The start? Toast with PB & cinnamon – a comfort favourite of mine – accompanied by coffee with a splash of egg nog – a delectable holiday special – and reflection. I cracked open my lovely new 2011 agenda, entitled A Year of Possibilities: Create a life of purpose and passion (one of my fave Christmas gifts; thanks Dad!), and flipped through it looking for some blank pages. Ah ha! There they are, at the back, a Notes section.

I grounded my day of celebration and fuelled it’s lift off by filling three pages:

#1. In 2010, I accomplished:

a shift from worker to entrepreneur
– lots of personal reflection (I mean, lots!)
– making new friends & reconnecting with old ones
– lightening my load
doing 30 new things!
– learning about business and myself
forgiveness
– business growth (wait till you hear what’s in store, just wait for it!)
– a new outlook on health and what it means to be healthy
– clarity
independence from sugar
– a new belief system: trust (and a new tattoo to go with it!)
a sexy website and insightful blog
– being in love and settling in there
–  a cleaner apartment, thanks to laminate flooring, with new touches of comfort
– greater acceptance of my body
– new perspective – then vs. now; shackles vs. soul stirring, radical self care
– special memories – anniversary weekend at Oak Island, NYC trip, Bust a Move, and tree climbing & zipping

#2. In 2011, I will accomplish:

one new experience each month (30 Things maintenance)
– reading one insightful book each month
– running two half marathons
– playing outside
– further embracing the soul stirring vs. shackles approach to decision making
– continued, consistent self care
– planning our wedding (holy shit!)
– questioning everything in an ongoing pursuit of discovery & authenticity
– attend a great concert
– scrapbooks for 2010 NYC trip & 2009 California trip
– watching the sun rise
– minimizing intake of dairy, white flour and sugar
– motivational public speaking – developing & sharing my story with others
– living my values and ideal business model
– not buying new clothes, unless they’re for running or yoga

#3. Reading list

– Rework
– Creative Non-Fiction: Turning Thoughts into Books
– The Art of Non-Conformity
– The Happiness Project
– The Likability Factor
– Smart Women Finish Rich
– Radical Acceptance: : Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha
– The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
– Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage
– A Woman’s Guide to Working for Herself
– Getting Things Done
– Callings: Finding & Following an Authentic Life

Wow, how refreshing that little exercise was! What is else is on tap for today, an entire day of celebration? Well….exercising, dancing, playing dress up, spending time with friends, champagne, sparklers, ringing in the new year with one of my favourite bands, and the last two things on my 30 Things list. Want to know more? You’ll have to wait….I have to get back to celebrating. Besides, that’s what you should be doing, too!

Thank you to all of you – friends, family and anonymous readers who’ve listened to, watched and supported my very huge year. I can hardly wait to entertain, inspire and humour you in 2011.

Cheers! And Happy New Year!
xxoo

{Photo credit}

With much love, Me.

– Contributed by Wee C

The Reverb 10 prompt from December 21 struck a cord with me: write a letter to your future self – you, five years from now. What advice would you give yourself in the next year to get yourself there?

Dear Wee C – you’ve always been quick to point out that much can change if you just give yourself the time you need. And boy, were you right. Five years ago, you were sitting on your sofa over the Christmas holidays feeling a little (Ok, a lot) lost, wondering what the next year would bring. You were filled with uncertainty about all areas of your life. You were feeling exposed and vulnerable, but at the same time, confident that something remarkable was on the horizon. And in the midst of all these feelings, you just kept telling yourself to be patient, to hold on, to live with expectancy, and above all, to have faith, ’cause life was about to get really interesting. You didn’t know how true that was.

Your 2010 was about reclaiming yourself. Actually, it was about getting reacquainted, learning what brought you joy and sorrow, what you were willing to give on and what you would absolutely hold your ground on. It was about learning to walk down uncertain, often dark and scary paths, in order to find the clearing on the other side. In fact, the early part of 2011 will be much the same. You should be prepared for this. But be joyful in this journey. Embrace all the tears, fears and victories, as each one has something truly remarkable to teach you. Pay attention. Write your feelings and observations down. Listen to your heart, and most importantly, your soul. Don’t waffle. Be true to the foundation you’ve built in the past year, it will serve you well in the years ahead.

You may have felt that 2010 was your most significant year to date, but I can guarantee you that 2011 will be defining. It will mark a turning point in your life. Oh, I know how you hate change, how it can make you feel as though you have lost control and everything you know is being challenged. But you must give yourself over to change. You must decide every single day, every single moment to be awake and aware, fully conscious that an evolution is occurring and that not a moment will go by that is not part of the grand plan to get you to the next destination.

Knowing you, you want to know what that destination is. What will it look like? Who will be there? Will I like it? Will I be happy? I can’t answer those questions for you. But what I can tell you is that your life, five years from now, will be more remarkable than your wildest dreams can imagine. Over the next five years, you will learn to embrace your potential. You will stop fearing your greatness and you will become it. You will stop apologizing for your very existence and you will fall in love with yourself – truly in love. You will be surrounded by friends, family and relationships that are steeped in love and joyful interactions. Joyful, Wee C, joyful. Your professional reach will be far beyond your city or your country. You will impact people around the globe. You will be constantly innovating and creating, bringing others solutions that improve their lives and yield the clarity they have been seeking.

But, more than anything, you will be peaceful. All the turmoil and angst you have allowed yourself to feel – for as long as you can remember – will be replaced by a calm bliss. You will embrace the time you spent feeling anxious, stressed and overstretched, as it will have taught you how to find peace. You will acknowledge that life is simply a series of days, strung together by your attitude and outlook on life, with each leg of the journey contributing a different coloured thread.

Wee C, I cannot stress to you enough how amazed you will be in five years time. Each year between now and then will bring you to new and greater heights. You simply need to allow it to happen. Stop meddling, controlling, and fussing and start by embracing the wonder of every single thing life has to offer. Start by hugging your husband and being grateful for his love. Start by cleaning a closet and feeling the triumph that comes from clearing out the crap and clutter. Start by curling up with a cup of tea and a smile, nothing more. Simply, start.

I can’t wait for you to catch up and join me here in the future, for you to look back on this time in your life and recognize just how far you’ve come and what you have accomplished. Buckle up, babes, this ride is about to get interesting.

With much love (more than you can possibly understand today),

Your 35-year-old self, xo

Thanks to Jenny Blake for a prompt that yielded a particularly introspective, and fulfilling post. With much appreciation.

#28 of 30: Replacing “then” with “now”; a lesson learned from the cat

– Contributed by Big L

Colouring is a great "be here, now" activity

A few weeks ago, the most common word in my vocabulary was “then.” Spoken aloud and in my head, it appeared a lot. I’m going to do this, then that. Then I’m going to make that phone call. Oh right, then I’m meeting so and so for coffee.  I then have to send that estimate along.

Thanks to a near-death experience with our cat Bunny (well, actually, no thanks, but it happened anyway), “now” is becoming my favourite word instead. Right now, this is my priority. Right now, this deserves my attention. Right now, this is what I need to be doing. Right now is the most important moment.

Here’s how it went down:

On December 6th, Bunny visited the vet for routine dental work. Her teeth were gnarly, but her blood work and pee test suggested she was in perfect health. When she first came home, you’d never know she’d been under aesthetic earlier that day and even had one little tooth removed. She was darting around as usual. Until December 9, when she threw up, sans fur ball (and on Wee C’s boots, oops), and continued to do so every day for four days. She hid in the shoe closet for 48 hours.

On December 13, I brought her to the vet for her scheduled check up, told the doc something was very wrong, and within 45 minutes, I was being told that Bunny had acute kidney failure. She would need to be hooked up to a 24/7 IV of fluid, starting right now.

For the next four days, we drove her back and forth between the vet and the overnight emergency animal hospital twice a day, so she could be under constant watch. I walked around with a pit in my stomach, on the verge of tears. I couldn’t stand the thought of my little peanut – who jumps if you sneeze too loud – being in a cage with wailing cats and barking dogs around her, some of whom were living out their final moments. I saw a couple of other pets come and go on the same schedule, I saw a devastated Mom being told it was probably time.

It was emotional and I struggled to go about my business that week. Fortunately (and in a strange coincidence), some of my client work got postponed until the new year, freeing up what was supposed to be a jam packed week.

The evening of December 16, Bunny’s blood work showed she was no longer in failure and we got to take her home. We also got instructions for how to inject 150 ml of fluids under her skin twice a day, every day, and what to watch for. Her nursing care was transitioning from the vet techs to us. I was overwhelmed and scared. My familiarity with hospital stuff is nil. Pumping my cat twice a day was a big, giant deal.

I went home and cried. Bunny threw up shortly after we got there – a big danger sign we were supposed to watch for – and I cried more. We decided to hope it was motion sickness and give her the night. When she spent 8 hours straight under our bed, we knew it wasn’t.

On the morning of December 17, I reached the tipping point.

I didn’t getting any definitives from the vet when I called and I was losing it. I cancelled my two appointments that day, including a Meet ‘n Greet with a new business contact I had made, and I realized: Right now, my priority needs to be her. Right now, all I care about is being a good Mom to my fur baby. Everything else can wait.

My Mom and I carted Bunny off to the vet, again. Hunny left work and met us there. We were nervous and terrified as we sat there waiting for blood results, again. We weren’t supposed to be back for 7 days, but it had only been 16 hours.

The results weren’t great, but they weren’t disastrous either. We took her back home, this time with anti-nausea medicine and more clear instructions for what to look for.

When we got there, Hunny and I basically entered a 72-hour quarantine. We left everything else on the outside – our plans, commitments, should dos and would like to dos – and did nothing but stay home, comfort each other, and take care of our Bunny. Our adorable little fur baby, who is less than five pounds, timid, a little forgetful, full of energy, talkative, and plays with everything. (One of her favourite things to do is to find a rogue Kraft Dinner noodle on the kitchen floor and play with it until she loses it under the fridge or it disintegrates.) She brings light, laughter and love into our home every single day. And right now, all we want is for her to be OK.

I skipped an event that would’ve been a great networking opportunity. I skipped yoga. We skipped Hunny’s work Christmas party, an overnight shindig that we’d been looking forward to for weeks. We gave fluids and meds twice a day. We wished, willed, and believed. We slept little, napped in shifts. We decorated gingerbread houses.

We took notes on Bunny’s every move. 9:30 p.m. fluids & meds. 10:45 p.m. pee. 11 p.m. eats.

Instead of doing prep work for big changes happening in my business in 2011, I watched Home Alone, The Santa Clause, and Garden State. Instead of keeping up with my Reverb 10 posts, I finally watched the last few episodes of The Amazing Race. I tried with every ounce to just be. Sit, breathe and be.

The first 14 days of being at home – which end on Dec. 30 – are the most telling and the most critical. Although we’re not out of the woods yet, we’re feeling better, and so is Bunny. She is improving little by little, day by day. Her most recent blood work looked promising.

With Christmas only two days away my only wish is for her to get better. And I’ve realized, the best gift I can give myself (and others) is to embrace what Bunny has taught me about replacing “then” with “now.” Not just today, not just while she’s sick, but always. Because right now is really all we have, isn’t it?

————————————

I realize I didn’t answer one big question: why did this happen? We don’t know for sure, but our vet believes she had a highly unusual reaction to the three days of pain meds she was prescribed after her dental work. The drug is safe and commonly used – she was probably in that fraction of a percentile to experience severe side effects.

December Maintenance: An Empty Tree

Mine and hubby’s lives? They’ve been pretty darned blessed. We both grew up in families that took incredible care of us, never wanting for anything (well, except a pony…but I’m still holding out for that), always donning the latest fashions (well, save for the skinny jeans, of course), and always with a car sitting in the yard waiting for us to drive (and, dare I say, a gas card to fuel it with). Indeed, at a very early age, we understood all-to-well what it was like “to have”.

Now, let’s be clear. I’m not talking gobs of stuff: diamonds, multiple cars, caviar or our own personal collections of Louis Vuitton. We weren’t that kind of privileged (not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course). We were simply well taken care of. Comfortable. Cozy, even.

And truthfully, I never thought much of it until we got out on our own and realized that our standards were high. Damn high. Like, who do we think we are, high. Combine these high standards with upwardly mobile careers, making increasingly more money every year, and we were just fanning the fire. One that would eventually suck us right into the white, hot centre.

For a long time, we lived our lives fancying about, enjoying all that comfort. Dinner parties complete with legs of lamb, endless wine and new plates and cutlery (things had to match, you know). Lovely throw pillows, smelly candles and soaps, chef’s-quality pots and pans, 3,000 jackets (each), and a few European adventures thrown in. It wasn’t an extravagant life, but it sure was a wee bit excessive. We likely could have done with a few less candles and a few more pieces of chicken (skin on and bone in, even). We were wasteful. We didn’t need all that stuff, but we sure did like to have it.

I make it sound as if all this is in the past. Let me be the first to own up to the fact that we’re not totally reformed. We still misbehave from time to time. But life caught up with us. Careers changed (and restarted), the burden of a mortgage crept in, and, well, other debt also found its way into our lives. I’m quite certain no one told me I’d pay for my wedding for the following 10 years. Consider yourself warned. Basically, we became like everyone else. Grown ups, accountable for grown up-like things. Nothing particularly different from anyone else. Just grown ups.

In response, we’ve had to reform our lives…to grown up lives. At first, we fought it. It somehow felt unfair, like a child who had a big bag of candy and the mean bully took it away. Then we (read: I) got depressed. Wasn’t I working my behind off to be able to do more, accumulate more, eat more (and better), get more? More, more more. And, then, I got determined. Determined that I would beat debt and reclaim my life. Insert the world’s evil laugh here. Wee C, that’s simply not how it works.

But recently, I’ve realized that amidst that journey, I’ve changed. We’ve changed. See, we cut back. A lot. And we didn’t die. Our lives didn’t become less meaningful or less fulfilling. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Yes, folks, it’s a Christmas miracle. In spending less, I suddenly feel like we have more. The burden of always needing something is a significant one. I don’t care whether it’s the fanciest shampoo or a new Coach purse, when you’re in the mindset of acquiring, you always need something. Break that habit, and you suddenly find that your “needs” are a lot less than what you think.

And, so, my December maintenance comes in the form of doing less. Well, spending less. Our normal Christmas? You got it, it was excessive. Multiple gifts of all shapes and sizes under the tree, stockings stuffed full, and a fridge bulging at the seams. This year? We’ve committed to simply enjoying the season, with the gifts to ourselves being a stress-free, less-is-more kind of holiday. For the first time in my adult life (and in my relationship with hubby), we’re simply filling stockings. No additional gifts under the tree, just socks filled with goodies. Now, to be perfectly transparent, there will be a few indulgent items in those socks, but it won’t look like Santa’s sleigh tipped over as he passed over our house.

Currently, I have an empty tree in my living room. There’s not a single thing wrapped and under it. A year ago, I would have been disheartened by this. Today, I’m joyful. My December maintenance represents much of what life has become for me: stripping things back and enjoying life without the gloss we so often want to put on it. Ok, so to be fair, I like me a bit of gloss. I always will. But I’m just trying to avoid living in a glass house. That somehow seems a dangerous situation.

Unshackling Myself – Reverb 10

– Contributed by Wee C

Not long ago, Big L forwarded me an article from Psychology Today called Shackles or soul-stirring? Decide before you commit. She’s good like that – she always finds all the gems! The article is well worth the read, but the basic premise is that some things take your time and make you feel like you’re in shackles, while other things stir your soul. Choose the things that stir your soul and abandon (or don’t say yes to) those that don’t.

I love this philosophy and have started employing it in a number of areas of my life, included with Reverb 10. The night I “committed” to do Reverb 10, I thought long and hard about whether I wanted to feel obligated to write every day. Heck, I spend my days writing – writing strategies, emails, and other assorted documents. Did I really want to come home every night and write? But I loved the idea of being challenged by a question, posed by someone else, that I needed to write to. I loved the opportunity for creativity that Reverb 10 brought. And I loved that I was joining a community of writers, all taking their unique approach to the daily prompt.

So, I signed the agreement. Yes, for those of you not doing Reverb 10, you sign an agreement to write about the daily prompt every day. Theoretically, Tweets count, but c’mon, taking the easy way out wasn’t what I was signing up for. I wanted to write….or so I thought. But clearly, I have not IN ANY WAY been writing on a daily basis. Life has happened, as it always does. And suddenly, what was supposed to be soul-stirring has felt a little too much like shackles. Why? Because I made a commitment, and not fulfilling a commitment immediately results in those shackles being locked up and the key thrown away.

And, here’s what happens when the shackles are on: I become paralyzed and incapacitated. I want to do what it takes to get those dang handcuffs off, but I just can’t do it. And the longer I wait, the worse it gets. Like when you haven’t spoken with an old friend for years, but know you need to call. Every day that passes makes it more difficult to pick up the phone and call. Until eventually, you just give up, numbed by time and shame.

I was beginning to feel an awful lot like this with Reverb 10. Every day, the need to write has lingered at the back of my mind, and every day I’ve struggled to get to it. And every day, I’ve beat myself up over it. Just trying to get my daily dose of guilt, you see.

But, tonight, I’m done. No, I’m not done with Reverb 10. I’m simply done feeling badly that I’m not writing about every prompt. Because, after all, wasn’t I doing this for enjoyment? Wasn’t I doing this for self-fulfillment? Wasn’t I doing this to STIR THE SOUL? And not to end up in SHACKLES?

So, I’m going to pick and choose, writing about what I want, when I can and enjoying the fulfillment that comes from that. Rather than trying to cram the answers to four questions into 1,000 words. Ahem.

And, so, tonight, I will answer December 11th’s prompt: What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? Ok, there’s more to the question – like how will you eliminate those things, but I only want to answer the first part of the question. What? It’s my blog post and I’ll do what I want to. So, here goes:

1. Shackles – hahahaha! But it’s true, in 2011, I’m trying to keep those shackles off altogether.

2. Self-doubt – I’ve been second-guessing myself since my grade 1 math tests. 2011 will be all about trusting myself.

3. Lack of faith – I have always believed that life turns out the way it is supposed to, if you just have a little faith. But sometimes that faith is stronger than others. Here’s to 365 days of deliberately choosing faith.

4. Eating for comfort – my fellow cheese lover and all-around delight, Mr. Ben Boudreau told me that cheese is addictive because it contains morphine. Read it here and believe it! Explains why I exhibit addictive behaviours with it. 2011 NEEDS to be about finding another source of comfort. One might think exercise or something would be a good idea.

5. Request for Proposals (RFPs) – I want nothing to do with RFPs in 2011. Nothing.

6. Holding it – I’ve recently realized that when I’m up against a deadline, I’ll avoid going to the washroom for hours. No. HOURS. Dying, squirming in my chair, I’ll push through to get the work done before I go to the washroom. I feel this could be unhealthy over time, so I ought to stop this.

7. Wasting fresh food – I hate to admit to this one, but I love buying fresh fruits and veggies. They’re so shiny and colourful. They’re firm and juicy. They’re…perfect. But when they become less-than-perfect, I don’t want ’em. Funny, sounds a bit like fruit imitating life. Or something like that. So, I’m done with the waste. I’m going to buy what I need and leave the rest of the pretty little peppers at the store for someone else.

8. Multiple lists – I keep the good folks at 3M and Post-It in business. Lists on my desk, lists in my notebook, lists on my fridge, lists tucked away in stacks of papers. In 2011, I only ever want two lists on the go: things to do and things I’ve accomplished…because sometimes those two things are dramatically different.

9. Lack of routine – no day in my life is the same. I dig that, but trying to learn how to execute the day, every day, is a smidge inefficient. I’d like a few, small routines (like going to the gym…sigh) to ensure I accomplish the things I want to accomplish.

10. My muddy yard – with two little dogs, I need grass. Stat. I need my sanity and my clean floors back. And the two are directly related to one other.

11. Control – if I could shed anything in 2011, it would be my need for control. And I’d replace it with love, respect and desire for vulnerability.

I’ve gotta tell you – this post felt cathartic. Maybe I’m already accomplishing number one on my list just fine.

Scrambling to catch up to the pack…Reverb 10

This writing every day business is hard, folks. And clearly, I’m having a bit of trouble keeping up with my commitment. So, let’s play a bit of catch up, shall we? I now have FOUR Reverb 10 prompts that I need to cover off. Let’s see if I can write all four in 1,000 words or less. Put the invisible fork away. There will be no eye stabby motion on my blog.

December 6: What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

The last significant thing I made was brunch. For 20 fabulous gals. Complete with sticky buns (think butter and brown sugar melted together, peppered with pecans), smoked salmon frittata (kicked up with a little goat’s cheese and fresh dill), yummy garlic and herb potatoes, and the best? Eggs baked with mushrooms, inside of a HAM CUP. Please, paint the picture in your mind. I’ll wait. I bet you wanna use that fork for eating now, don’t you? Oh, and there was a little Bellini on the side. That’s right. It was pretty fabulous. And, yes, if I thought I could make a living as a caterer, I would. But with the kind of ingredients I use, I’d lose money on every gig. So, I just delight in the joy of feeding others. Oh, alright, and I delight in the joy of feeding myself.

December 7: Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

When I started 30 Things, I was amazed at the response I got from people cheering me on, encouraging me and really buying into the idea. Over the course of my “things”, I collected a community. People who would help me accomplish an item and help me add it to my list, people who actively began reading the blog, and people who began sharing their innermost thoughts with me because they thought I had something figured out that they didn’t. Over time, more and more like-minded people who wanted to do more with their lives, challenge the status quo, and refused to accept that this is as good as life gets, started to huddle around me. I didn’t notice it was happening because it was subtle but when I finally stopped and looked around, I realized that it was profound. I was having the same conversations about wanting “more” with people I had known for 20 years and people I had known for 20 minutes. My community was fragmented, but we have a strength in vision – to do more with our lives and to live authentically. That is our single rallying cry.

In the next year, I want to unite this community, to light a fire under it and call it to action through a 30 Things online community I want my community to try 30 Things and experience the incredible impact it has on life for themselves. And then I want them to talk the heck out of it – talk to one another, to loved ones, to themselves. It doesn’t matter. I just want these likeminded individuals to gain strength from one another, just as I gained strength from each one of them. Just a small wish for 2011. You know.
December 8: Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

I like to think that I see things that others don’t when it comes to relationships, human behaviour and human interactions; that I’m intuitive, sensitive and thoughtful about how and why people do the things they do. And because of that, I’m able to offer insights into life that others can’t see. But, more importantly, it allows me to make connections with people and to help them navigate their own lives in a simpler, more clarified manner. Kind of like a beacon or a lighthouse or some other iconic image of stability and wisdom. Hmmm…somehow this question yielded a very interview-like response. Truthful, but a bit stiff.

December 9: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

Kicking off 2010 with a little murder mystery.

Boy am I ever glad this prompt is at the end of 2010 and not 2009. In the past year, I’ve learned to party. Not foolish, off my rocker, have my stomach pumped at the hospital kind of party, but the relax, let your guard down, and take the know out of your face, kind of party. In fact, I began the year with a party. It was a murder mystery party, set in the ’20s. I was Molly Moll, Notorious Nick the Gansta’s girl, and I was dressed to the nines – red nail polish, feather in the hair, bedazzled headband, quasi-Flapper dress, a honkin fake diamond ring, and of course, a cigarette holder.

As usual, I ate my face off, danced like Elaine on Seinfeld (and, no, this is not an impersonation, my dancing is just downright disturbing), and shared in a celebratory bevy or two. Maybe in 2011, I’ll learn how to be the life of the party…

4 Reverb 10 updates, 877 words. Keep your fork for eating my eggs in a ham cup. You’ll love ’em.

Reverb 10: Day 4

– Contributed by Wee C

Image courtesy of Nick Coombs (www.freedigitalphotos.net)

Day 4 of the challenge and day two of writing for me, and we’re moving onto the topic of “wonder”, specifically: how did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

What I love most about this question is the word cultivate. You see, I’m full of wonder (and correspondingly, bullshit) at any given moment of any given day. I wonder what would happen if I decided to join the circus (I’d ride the elephants…and wear a cute little hat with a red feather). I wonder what would happen if Michael Buble came to sweep me off my feet (it’s OK, MB is my one freebie with hubby). I wonder what it would be like to be fabulous and famous (I’d have a trainer, for sure). Truthfully, I wonder all day, every day.

But what this question is asking, in my opinion, is much less about the undisciplined practice of mind wandering (something I believe we all do to the point of self-indulgence) and more about a focused, deliberate approach to dreaming, imagining and ideating. It’s about giving curiosity a home to grow and flourish; watering and fertilizing, nurturing and caring.

So, what did I do to cultivate a sense of wonder in my life this year. Simply, I gave myself space and time. I allowed myself to breath, to let the sunshine in, to actually lay roots. Yes, I’ve always been grounded. Grounded like a boulder that could only be moved by a big, monster, crane. But with my hurried approach to life, my desperate drive to get to the next destination, I’ve never been rooted. See, you need roots to be stable, otherwise you eventually topple over. And you know what happens to toppled over trees? They rot. I wasn’t so interested in that being the outcome of my life. Funny, that.

A true sense of wonder (not the monkey brain I’ve become so skilled at) only comes by providing a clearing in your mind and seeing what takes hold. The result: my most profound and life changing year yet.

Reverb 10: Day 3

– Contributed by Wee C

The Reverb 10 challenge for today: Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

If only the asker of this question knew what a year I’ve just put behind me, they would know just how difficult it is for me to narrow down my response to this question. From tequila shooters to meditation to strip clubs, the past year has been filled with moments of aliveness. But, at the heart of all my 30 Things, has been one consistent item: this blog.

Creating a blog was something Big L and I had long talked about. No, like really, we talked this to death and then beat it with a hammer. All because we were worried what others in our lives would find acceptable. You see, we were bloggers in the womb those days. We were growing and nurturing the idea, but the thought of coming out and existing in the real world? Just like any infant we wanted to cry, scream and crap our pants. But when Big L took the plunge and started the blog (as a surprise, I might add), the feeling of liberation was overwhelming to me.

It took me a couple of days to write my first post, but as I started, I could feel the jubilation growing inside of me; the lump of overwhelming excitement forming in my throat. It was a weekend and the early sun of spring was taunting me to emerge from the house. Hubby was outside busying himself about. Somehow, I was much happier to be in my house with the familiarity of the computer keys tap tapping under my fingers. Truthfully, I was glad to have him outside…my writing could remain a secret that way. I wasn’t ready to share just yet.

After reading and re-reading, proofing and analyzing my content, I decided it was time to press “publish”. Ready, aim…squeal! I jumped up, danced around erratically, and fell back on the sofa. I had written a post that was revealing, honest and damn exposing.

Blogging was the beginning of a completely new me. And with every new post comes a renewed sense of fulfillment. Every time I post I feel alive and fulfilled. And, I still squeal, if only silently every time I hit the publish button. 3…2…1…