Monthly Archives: August 2011

It’s time

– Contributed by Wee C

This is a post that has been writing itself for the past year and a half. Since the day we launched the blog, in fact. 17 months, nearly 30,000 hits to the site and, as of the moment I press “publish”, 99 posts later.

We started this blog to chronicle 30 Things. We believed it was an interesting story to tell; one that some folks may see themselves in, draw inspiration from, or simply find humour in. Turns out, we were right. We also started this blog because it gave us a home for our story, a place where we could collect our thoughts and make sense of life’s evolution. This has been particularly true for me.

In April 2010, I had no idea the hell of a ride I was about to go on. I knew that things were changing, that there was a big something ahead of me, but I could not have predicted what a stunning evolution of self would happen.

Since then, I’ve migrated from a girl who couldn’t say “yes” to anything fun to one who wants nothing more than a life filled with joy, abundant laughter and a whole lot of foolishness…and is in fact living that life every, single day.

I have gone from a girl who had suffocated all of her relationships to one who is unreasonably blessed to have a bounty of remarkable, caring people in her life. I am surrounded by healthy, loving relationships.

Two years ago I was drowning in negative energy, unable to deal with life’s curve balls. Now I say “go ahead and throw them”, I’ll learn what I’m supposed to learn and move on. I promise I’ll come out the other side with a smile on my face.

I went from being 110% married to my marriage, to separated and, now, en route to divorce. I learned to accept the thing I feared most in life. With the help of Big L, I embraced the fact that you can’t logic your way through tragedy, you need to go into the eye of the storm and weather it before you can come out the other side. And, through that, I’ve come to thank my lucky stars for the unbelievably positive change this turn of events has brought.

All along the journey, you all have been right here, cheering me on, offering up public and private words of encouragement, asking for more, spreading the word and coming back week after week. I have exposed some of my most honest feelings. I let you inside my head and heart and risked a hell of a lot of  judgement – some of my most exposing posts were read by hundreds and that’s plenty raw. There were times when I didn’t want to write, when I didn’t want to share, but I did because it forced me to push through, to be seriously uncomfortable.

Because of all of that, this blog has been an enormous source of pride for me. I’m proud of myself for telling my story, for sharing despite the discomfort, for ignoring the emotional risks and doing it anyway.

Now, it’s time for a break. Comfortably Uncomfortable has helped me through the most difficult and exhilarating period of my life. It forced forward momentum when I couldn’t ignite it myself. But after a long period of sharing everything, I’m hungry for more privacy. It’s not fear. Nor is it an unwillingness to share. I simply want to experience a period of change and evolution that’s not fueled and supported by a bevy of cheerleaders. It feels important to be alone with my thoughts and find the strength within myself to grow and take risks. I couldn’t have arrived here without this blog, amongst other things.

I’ll be back, I’m sure of it. But for now, I’m hanging up the crutches and taking a little walk on my own. Adios en vaya con dios.

Advertisements

5 Things That Are Stirring My Soul, Lately

– Contributed by Big L

Oh, HI. This is my welcome back post. Or, it possibly is. After six hot and heavy months of writing at Stratejoy, I was planning on taking a self-imposed blogging break until at least September. But alas, I loved Wee C’s post last week and now I wanna write one!

So I’m taking a break from my break to give you this:

5 Things That Are Stirring My Soul, Lately

1. Wedding* planning –  I’ve organized a number of events over the last several years and in doing so, have discovered that event planning fills me with fury. Thankfully, I’ve been able to hold the event-fury at bay this time around, mostly because every aspect of our wedding is “do-it-yourself” (meaning we’re in control!) and it’s playful and creative to the max. We’re being real. Which also translates into me having a hella-good time! I get to be super crafty and experience the satisfaction of putting a big vision into practice. I’m starting to see it really come together and basically, it’s going to knock everyone’s socks off!

2. Creative writing – A big chunk of my time lately has been spent on a creative storytelling project that is really quite special. I get to interview about 25 people who were involved in building a completely ground-breaking, year-round, $8 million facility that will host residential camps for children with chronic illness. It will literally be a game changer for families in our region and I get to take people’s spoken words and have complete creative control over how to turn them into written words that will move and inspire a broad audience. My writer’s soul is guiding the way. It’s a beautiful thing.

3. Blender experiments – I love smoothies and I love when I have ingredients kicking around that allow me to put a bunch of things together and see what happens! I concocted something delicious recently and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it a few times over.

Try this: 1/2 cup pineapple tidbits in their juice; a tablespoon of greek yogurt (optional); 3/4 – 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk; a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter; 3/4 – 1 cup frozen mango chunks; generous sprinkle of cinnamon. Blend it all up until smooth, and voila!

4. Life list – I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a list of the things I’d love to experience. There would be no timeline and no consequences if they’re not all tackled, but there would be a heck of a lot of joy and satisfaction as each item that was accomplished. At first I thought, “I haven’t a sweet clue what I’d even put on such a list!” but then once I sat down and thought about it, all kinds of fun and interesting things came to mind! It’s been a motivating and insightful little exercise – you should try it!

5. Brainstorming with myself – Oh, you should see the pages of my notebook! I’ve been jotting words all over the place – big, messy, scrawled words, outside the lines, with arrows between them, and underlines, and question marks. Why? Because I’m digging into some visions I have. Visions for sharing and inspiring folks like you in a more conscious, organized way. Visions for selling stuff, be it a book, a series of journals, ‘get real’ note cards, or crafty type things. Visions for building a personal brand, not in a formulaic and sales-pitchy way, just in a find-your-voice-and-share-your-distinctness way. Stay tuned, there may be follow ups related to this one!

I could keep the list going, I’m sure, but I’ll focus on celebrating these five things for now. What’s worthy of celebration in your world lately? Maybe today’s the day you should take a moment to reflect on how much you looooove it.

[Photo credit: That fancy photo up there is my Dad’s. Love it!]

*As an aside, can we talk about how in less than three months, the big day will be here? I’m filled with anticipation, nervous about what’s left on the to do list, anxious about the money that’s left to spend, but mostly really excited to put those rings on and smooch!

I’ve got that smushy feelin’

I'm all smushy for this hat.

– Contributed by Wee C

When my dogs were puppies I used to hold them and tell them they were so cute that I could squeeze them until their little heads popped off. Put down that phone…no one call Animal Control. I didn’t. Of course. But you know that feeling when something feels so darned good that your toes wiggle and you feel all smushy inside? I’m pretty smitten with that feeling. It’s one of my favourites. So, I thought I’d share 10 things that are making me feel smushy these days*.

1. My dad finishing his MBA – he’s mid-50s, doesn’t have a previous university degree and one day just decided to do his Masters. By distance. He just got the last of his marks in and he passed with flying colours. Talk about giving your kid some killer inspiration.

2. My mom helping my dad get his MBA – c’mon, say it with me: behind every great man is an even better… But the truth is that sells my mother short. I don’t know a single human being who is as selflessly giving as she is. And when my dad came home with this crazy idea to do his MBA, my mom simply said “let’s do it, I’ll help.” She beats the pants off anyone in the remarkable category.

3. My cool mom friend – awhile back I wrote about a friend of mine who just had a baby. What I didn’t tell you is that she’s about the coolest mom I’ve ever seen. She doesn’t ask if the baby had a “boom boom”, she calls it shit, like it is. She makes no apologizes for not clothing her child from head to toe in organic cotton, nor does she feel the least bit badly for going out and having a good time, sans-babe. She’s brilliantly caring and still the same girl I’ve always loved; she didn’t turn into someone else the minute she conceived. And that makes me smushy (but not in the boom boom kind of way).

4. My fun new hat – it’s the one in the picture and it makes me jump with glee whenever I wear it. Need I say more?

5. Forgiving myself – I’m still figuring the new me out, so some days I’m  unsure of myself, I get awkward, I zig when I really wanted to zag. Good thing part of the new me involves forgiving myself and learning to embrace the fact that the only thing that really matters is here and now. I love giving myself gold stars for this one.

6. Big L’s wedding plans – this girl has thrown convention out the window. From the dress to the location (in a film production office downtown), she and hunny are playing by their own rules in every single way. It’s a treat to watch her be recklessly joyful about every single detail of this event. November can’t come fast enough. I can’t wait to see the magic come to life.

7. Julie’s Jeep – is there anything better than being in a friend’s Jeep with the top off, the sun streaming in and the music blaring? How about two cute gals sitting in the front seat basking in the glory of life. There’s not much to complain about in that scenario.

8. Music – I grew up playing the piano and have always loved music, but during my cranky, life’s the pits phase (can you call a decade a phase?!), I forgot how much I love music. These days, I’m cranking it way up and singing it loud. And I don’t much care who hears me. Heck, my karaoke adventure from last summer happens at random daily intervals these days.

9. Early mornings accomplishments – I get more accomplished between 6am and 9am than I do any other time during the day. I get a run in/take the dogs for a walk, do 30 minutes of pilates (or swim), take a shower and dry my hair, drink my cappuccino and eat breakfast, I read the daily headlines from the Globe, the Chronicle-Herald and often the NY Times, and make my bed. So by the time 9 o’clock comes, I’m feeling mighty good.

10. Bologna sandwiches – yup, that’s right…straight from the foodie’s mouth. Cook the bologna (I microwave mine for speediness), add a hunk of cheddar cheese and slather on the mustard. A few All Dressed chips on the side never hurt anyone, either.

And, of course, my dogs still make me feel smushy just like they always have. Some days I have to restrain myself, but so far, I’ve managed to avoid loving them to death. So, tell me! What’s making you smushy inside or your toes wiggle with glee?

Full disclosure: I did not come up with the idea for this post on my own. Last week my business partners and I did a similar post on what was stirring our souls. It was Big L’s brain child. And I’m stealing it. But it was such a fun post that I wanted to do it all over again. And guess what? I’m not apologizing for it. Don’t worry, she’s used to it.

Kicking Ass and Taking Goblin Names

Pendulum at the Pantheon in Paris

– Contributed by Wee C

It’s finally happened. I’ve swung too far the other way.

For years my personal pendulum* swung disproportionately to the overworked, overtired, overstressed, overemotional, overcommitted, overperfectionist side of life. It was bloody tiring and not much fun at all. I had way too many things to check off my list, way too many people to please, way too many competing goals to achieve. Way too, way too much.

When I finally made a clean break (which took way too many failed tries), I ran so fast and so far in the opposite direction that I didn’t want a single goal or obligation left in my life. Damn goals, I thought, they’re just like having someone hold your head under water and laugh as you gasp for air. They won’t get me again.

When I finally stopped running, I hit a clearing. A big, open pasture that had no hills, no rocks, no molehills that turned into mountains. Just grass, sunshine and blue skies. I could look out all day long and nothing would obstruct my view. Insert blissful sighs, cartwheels in the field and rousing renditions of Kumbaya here.

But there was a problem. On the edge of my field was a Sleepy Hollow-esque forest. Dark and threatening and filled with the horrors of big goals, dreams and mile long to-do lists that chased you until you tripped on a stump and cried out for help. Cross that line into the Forest of Aspirations and you were all but a goner, never to return to the field again.

Having spent an awful lot of time in the forest, I felt like there was no middle ground between the lush green fields and the foreboding mass of trees. And if you had to pick one or the other, I bet you’d pick the place where beauty and bliss abounds, too.

But guess what? That field is pretty damn boring. Especially for a girl who thrives on growth and evolution, chasing big dreams and pushing boundaries. You can only put a buttercup under your chin so many times before the suspense wears off. And I’ve completely mastered the art of the daisy crown.

So it appears that I let my personal pendulum swing too far in the opposite direction. I stripped my life of goals, massive to-do lists and obligations. And, yes, I LOVED that…for awhile. And it was EXACTLY what I needed. But it’s time. I need my pendulum to find its way to centre. In fact, I’m hungry as hell for a couple killer challenges and some serious boundary pushing.

The beauty of hanging out in the field is that your mind gets mighty clear. Empty even. You know, all that fresh air tends to cleanse things. So with my clear mind and the restored fire in my belly, I actually get to start from ground zero and add only the goals, intents, dreams and aspirations that I want to. I get to be deliberate and disciplined about what I choose to add and what I don’t. I get to discover the place between the forest and the field that’s down in the valley and hidden from view.

So what’s next you ask? In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be finding out. I’m going to put aside some time, hang out with myself and take a good hard look at what I want to add in. But one thing is for sure. I’ll only be inviting things that add value to my life and that are worth making myself uncomfortable for. And don’t worry, I’ve worked so hard to get my mind mentally prepared for this next phase that I’m ready to kick ass and take some forest-goblin names.

*Ok, so I know, my analogy of the pendulum is highly flawed. But I like the visual. So, for the purposes of this post a pendulum can swing dramatically more to one side than the other. Plus, it’s my blog. So I get to change science however I want. I win.

[Photo Credit]