Unlocking Possibility

I spent an extraordinary morning with my colleague/buddy/fellow trapeze artist, Liz. She brought along Sally Hogshead’s new book, How the World Sees You, and we had a ball together working on my anthem…the tagline for my personality and for my business.

Unlocking PossibilityUnlocking Possibility.

That’s my new anthem. And it’s exactly what I am up to in this lifetime.

I unlock possibility for myself in each and every day. That is where I parent from. This blog is all abut unlocking possibility by looking for the extraordinary in every day. Every workshop I run or client I coach is about unlocking possibility.

Isn’t it cool when you find two words that really nail who you are and what you are up to?

I’m totally jazzed! 🙂

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A Radical Rethink?

Michael and Zachary were born sixteen months apart and have spent the past decade perfecting the art of getting under each other’s skin. All it takes is the slightest provocation; one sideways glance or slightly huffy breath and they are ready to ‘drop the gloves‘ and go at it.

FightingI find it absolutely exhausting. It’s like we are always just one moment from the next explosion.

I call their relationship ‘gas on the floor‘ because the way I feel around them reminds me of watching a movie where I know that there is a gas leak but the main character doesn’t. Sitting in my seat in the darkened movie theatre I am so tense I want to shout out; ‘don’t light that match, don’t light that burner…‘ because I know that as soon as they do, it is game over.

With Michael and Zachary there is always gas on the floor and I dread the tiny little spark that will ignite the latest conflagration!

For some reason, they seem to be the most flammable over breakfast on weekday mornings. I always get a ball of tension in my gut that starts to simmer around 7:00am in anticipation of the fun and games ahead. I have to admit that I love mornings when I leave for work at 6:00am because I get to just walk out of the house with nary a backward glance and leave the whole messy business in Simon’s lap!

Running LateSimon left for work at 5:00 this morning so, despite the fact that I was heading into Toronto for a meeting directly after dropping Zachary at school, I was on tap. After doing my morning juicing, I was running behind schedule and wasn’t quite sure how I was going to manage to make the kids their breakfast and still be on time.

I had already done the dishwasher and lunches but breakfast for four people had the potential to throw me way off schedule.

I am my own worst enemy when it comes to the running of the kitchen. I am somewhat of a control freak. I would rather do the work myself than have all three kids trying to cook their own breakfast and making a colossal mess in the process. So what that means is that I have designed it so that I do all the work (and then, ironically, complain that nobody helps me!!!!)

Scrambled EggsWell, this morning, Zachary decided to take matters into his own hands and informed me that he was going to make his own breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast. At that point I was only halfway through getting dressed so I told him to go for it while also crossing my fingers that the kitchen would not look like a bomb hit it when I got downstairs.

When I arrived on the scene about fifteen minutes later, I was absolutely stunned!

Not only had Zachary made his own scrambled egg breakfast but he was also in the process of teaching Michael how make his own breakfast as well. And, he was doing an amazing job of it. He was teaching Michael what to do and then standing back patiently to let Michael do it himself (certainly not the model that I have taught him when it comes to the kitchen!!!)

A few minutes later, both boys sat down to eat their breakfast. There was absolutely no conflict and they even did their own dishes!

Hmmmmmm…time to rethink the running of the kitchen?

And here’s an even more Radical one to consider…how much does my controlling influence have to do with gas on the floor? I certainly cannot take credit for all the gas on the floor but I surely have a part to play.

Wow…that’s a biggie, huh?Wow

The Reins

Simon comes home late this afternoon. He has been away a week and I am so looking forward to having him home.

Overworked MomAs I have been reflecting on his return over the past two days I have realized something extraordinary.

When the three boys were little, I used to anticipate Simon’s return from travel with almost desperate longing. I felt so overworked and exhausted single parenting our system that I would count the moments until Simon’s return.

I would desperately anticipate not only a sharing of the enormity of the workload but also a ‘handing over of the reins‘.

What I realize now is that while we have missed Simon, there has not been that feeling of desperate outnumbered-ness. The kids and I have just been living our lives; going to school, work, lacrosse, hockey, and parties. Our system has not felt out of balance. I have three sons who are at various stages of independence which means that I have independence within our system as well.

So the extraordinary epiphany is that there are no longer any reins to hand over.

So, when Simon pulls up to the house in his airport limousine this afternoon, I will not have the car running so that I can peal away from the curb with tires screeching and gravel being kicked up from under. Instead, I will hug my husband, put the kettle on and enjoy the gentle settling back into our regularly scheduled programming.

Well…after Simon takes Michael to his lacrosse practice, that is! 🙂Winky

Who Knew?

Puzzle PieceFor the past fourteen weeks I have been eating ‘clean’;  mostly raw, all vegan, juicing every day, lots of super foods, super herbs, and tons of sprouts.

And, feeling like a million bucks, I might add.

And so, I wonder, why is my eczema still flaring? What is it that my body is still trying to tell me? Could it possibly be the natural process of detoxification? Or is there something else that I haven’t quite figured out?

Well, yesterday’s wellness fair just may have given me the next piece in the puzzle in my quest for audacious health!

And that piece is called…carrageenan.

Spring WaterI start my day with at least three glasses of spring water with a dash of Celtic sea salt, then a ginger shot with my hubby and a fresh green juice. I do not need any food. Around 11:00am when I am feeling hungry, I make myself a chocolate Sun Warrior smoothie which I pack with superfoods; maca, ashwaganda, hemp hearts, acai, bee pollen, coconut milk and organic coconut water.

This, apparently, is where I have been going wrong.

The organic coconut milk which I have been buying contains carrageenan. And after doing a fair amount of research last night, I have discovered that carrageenan is causing quite an uproar in the organic foods industry. It is used to thicken foods and to keep them from separating and, apparently, causes inflammation, among other things. And inflammation in the body has all kinds of negative health effects, including exacerbating eczema.

And, I would not have known about carrageenan had I not been in the right place at the right time yesterday watching my friend Loren give an amazing presentation on raw almond milk at the wellness fair!

Raw Almond MilkI continue to be in complete awe of the incredible food and health journey that I am walking day by day. It seems that just when I am ready for the next piece of information to take my health to the next level, there it is.

So…here is my solution to the coconut milk dilemma. On my way home from the wellness fair yesterday I stopped at Whole Foods and stocked up on raw organic almonds. I soaked them overnight and made a delicious, creamy and sweet raw almond milk this morning. And, incidentally, making nut milk happens to be yet another one of those things that I said I would never do because it is too much work. And it was one of the easiest raw food preparations I have encountered to date.

Go figure!

I am going to sneak in another batch just before I put the kids to bed so we have cold, fresh, and carrageenan-free milk for our smoothies tomorrow.

That’s my wildly Radical Act for today! Living on the edge, huh?!?! 🙂Living on the Edge

 

 

Open Wide

I moved from Toronto thirteen years ago. In the thirteen years since, I have replaced my doctor, my hairdresser, my chiropractor, and my naturopath. What I have not been able to replace is my absolutely wonderful dentist. Over the years, I have tried other dentists but I have always ended up back with my own guy. My dentist took over his dad’s practice when I was in university so I have been with the practice since the tender age of three.

download (38)The problem is, that even though I love my dentist, I still hate going to the dentist.

A few months ago I overheard a conversation on the GoTrain between two moms. They were talking about the fact that neither of their families were covered by health plans at work. What that meant for them, among other things, was that they could not afford to take their kids to the dentist. One of the moms went on to tell her friend that her husband was about to change companies and that a comprehensive health plan was part of the package. And she was absolutely over-the-moon at the prospect of taking her kids to the dentist.

They got off the GoTrain still chattering away. I turned my attention back to my book and promptly forgot about the overheard conversation.

That is, until today.

Today was ‘dentist day’. The round-trip driving time, depending on traffic, is anywhere from ninety minutes to four hours. Therefore, ‘dentist day’ can take the better part of the day. And, today, rather than stressing about getting the kids back to school, I decided we would take the whole day off. As our appointment was booked for 11:00, we all had the opportunity to sleep in (on a Monday morning, no less). The traffic on the way into the city was light so the trip in was easy. And after our (cavity-free!!!) visit to our lovely dentist, I took the kids out for lunch where we pigged-out and talked and laughed.

????????????????????On the drive home, as we were singing along to Billy Joel, it occurred to me how happy I was feeling. As I tuned into my happiness I realized that three cavity-free and sparkly clean kids had had a huge impact on my general outlook on life. And, in that moment, the GoTrain conversation from months before came back to me and my entire perspective on the dentist shifted.

I have only ever looked at my bi-annual dental visits with a mixture of dread and repugnance. And, in all the years I have been going to the dentist, I have never appreciated the opportunity to care for the dental health of my family. I have never even considered how stressful it would be if I did not have the resources to care for my kids’ teeth.

I shared my epiphany with the kids as we drove and together we decided that ‘dentist day’ from now on was going to be a celebration. It was going to include a day off school, a sleep-in, a nice lunch and an opportunity to be together. I certainly don’t expect my kids to start loving their dentist visits but I sure would like them to have a positive experience.

And, just maybe, somewhere in the future, they will have the opportunity to understand that going to the dentist is a ‘get-to’ rather than a ‘have-to.’

How Radical is that?download (39)

Epiphany

I have been self-employed for six years and, in the past three weeks, it has finally dawned on me that I am my own boss! And what facilitated this epiphany, you ask? Joining my local women-only gym three weeks ago.

download (11)I used to be an early morning gym visitor. I would set my alarm for 4:30am, spend a half hour or so meditating and then be in the gym by 5:30. And every morning, especially in the winter, I had to dig deep to encourage myself to venture out into the cold, dark morning.

I never loved it, but I did it.

I worked out in the early morning because, subscribing fully to the Protestant Work Ethic, the hours between 9:00 and 5:00 were for work, only work, and nothing but work, so help me God. Not for exercise, not for play, not for rest, not for writing.

And certainly not for fun.

My exercise epiphany started on Day One of my new gym membership. I had decided that the Monday morning class that was most appealing was the 9:00am class (not the 6:00am class…not even the 8:00am class). I got up very early that morning to get a couple of hours of work done so that I could justify taking time out of my work day. When I mentioned this to Simon he laughed and said; ‘you know that you are your own boss, right?’

download (12)I am my own boss. And yet I have been driving myself as if I punch a time clock.

Well, all that has changed Radically.

I have felt wonderfully rebellious these past three weeks. I have completely changed my work life. I work out at 9:00am three mornings a week. I come home and have an Epsom salts bath followed by a shower. Then I make myself a yummy brunch and get to my desk sometime around noon.

And guess what? I have had more energy and been more productive in the past three weeks than I ever have. After a visit to the gym I am energized, my creative juices are flowing and I am relaxed. Work that usually takes me ages to sit down to now gets done efficiently and gets done well. I am motivated, I am jazzed. And I am absolutely on fire!

Nothing like a Radical internal shake-up to bust the January blahs!

And to make my epiphany complete? Max and I are going skiing tomorrow.

Skiing on a Thursday?!?! Oh the shame…!images (13)

Sesame Street

I was just over a year old when Sesame Street aired its first episode. Sesame Street was so much a part of my childhood I feel almost as if the Sesame Street gang were part of my family. I learned to count with The Count and was always frustrated when Big Bird never got to see the Snuffaluffagus. I was delighted by the antics of Ernie and Bert and was absolutely in love with Maria, Bob and the delightfully gentle Mr. Hooper.5c21eaee-a292-4b66-84f4-45a59fdc0860

I think my idea of community and neighborhood came from my Sesame Street days and I always dreamed of living on a street like theirs.

Flash forward a few decades and I live in an old and charming neighbourhood. The houses are brick, the architecture is striking and the people are wonderful. Our neighbourhood is bisected by a High Street that boasts an art gallery, a butcher, a bakery, a health food store, a book store, a library, craft stores, cafes, and restaurants.

There are dogs and strollers and old people and young people. We have street festivals and a Farmer’s Market in the warm months. And everyone is on foot so it feels accessible and friendly. It feels like community. It feels like home.

I ran a workshop this morning in Toronto and hopped a 12:30pm GoBus home. The bus dropped me off at the top of the High Street and, with my suitcase in tow, I set off on the six block walk for home.

And in my six block walk, I had a visit with my favourite Barrista, Kate, at Starbucks. I popped into the Health Food store to get some organic red peppers for dinner and had a chat with my buddy, Nadia. And then, just as I was rounding the corner for home, I bumped into our butcher, Chris, and talked about my workshops and meal plans for the weekend.

As I arrived home I realized that I had a great big smile on my face and a warm glow in my heart. And a familiar old song was tugging at my memory; ‘these are the people in your neighbourhood, in your neighbourhood, in your neighbourhood. Yes, these are the people in your neighbourhood, they’re the people that you meet each day.’

And then it hit me…I live on Sesame Street. And, I just couldn’t be happier about it!big-bird