Thirty.

What the fuck. I don’t even know what to write after that word, number, identifier? I’m still working that out. In ways I feel like I can’t believe I’ve already lived so much of my life, on the other hand I can’t believe I didn’t live so much of my life.

My Mom is exactly 30 years older than me, it’s hard not to think of her and whether I will be where she is in 30 years…or less. Is my life half over? Then again, if I just started to really live – is it just beginning? Though it could easily turn depressive, I’ve decided overall both of these views are helping me. If this is it, I have drive and urgency to make it count. If this is just the beginning, then the best is yet to come.

9f500cf76fb8c64662fe00fcbe8ebd11To celebrate turning the big 3-0 I challenged myself to complete 30 acts of kindness in the week leading up to my birthday. Here’s a list of the fun I got up to!

  1. Donate clothes
  2. Pick up trash at a local brook
  3. Left a treat to thank the mailman (and apologize -I suck at getting my mail in a timely fashion)
  4. Brought flowers to a very hardworking receptionist
  5. Left suckers in the elevator to sweeten up people’s Monday
  6. Left a happy face stress ball in waiting room
  7. Left change at the parking meters
  8. Donated to a Child’s fund
  9. Passed out happy face balloons at the park (My nephew was an awesome side kick)
  10. Hid bubbles at the park (again, Thank you for your help buddy!)
  11. Paid for the person behind me in the Tims’ drive through
  12. Left a Tim’s card on a car in the parking garage
  13. Brought donuts to work for all of my amazing coworkers
  14. Left a box of wipes on a change table in a public restroom
  15. Brought cupcakes to the employees at my favourite Starbucks
  16. Left chocolate at an office of very hardworking awesome people
  17. Donated food to the foodbank
  18. Bought a friend a hot chocolate while we sat and caught up
  19. Brought flowers to the receptionist at my Doctor’s office
  20. Gave candy to Tim Horton employees who are always so nice even when crazy busy
  21. Gave a balloon to a special kiddo
  22. Helped a lady with her bags at Park n’ Fly (2 suitcases + coffee = need 3 arms!)
  23. Donated to a Monk downtown Toronto (and was given bead bracelets!)
  24. Gave a taxi driver a big tip
  25. Picked up the dirty towels in pool area at closing time
  26. Gave a sticker activity to a child on the plane
  27. Chased people down to give them their thermos they forgot on the plane
  28. Donated to Mocean Dance so they can share their gifts with even more people
  29. Gave money to a homeless man
  30. Gave treat bags to everyone at dance class! (Thanks for the birthday lift 😉 )

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It was a busy, and extremely fun, week. I wanted to make my birthday less about facing the fact that there’s no way to avoid that I’m now a full-on adult (except at the liquor store of course..this hasn’t improved, in fact I think it’s worse because now my age is too high they are convinced it’s a fake ID :P), and more about spreading kindness and being silly! I may have been doing things for others, but I honestly feel like I got more out of it than I gave. Even on my bad days RAKing was an instant mood booster. It warmed my heart every time I was able to contribute, even in the smallest ways. I learned a few lessons while doing this challenge; I was reminded how many people in my life I am grateful for and how I may not show my appreciation to them as often as I want to, the creative fun acts made me more aware of my desire for more silliness in my life that I often ignore or suppress, and by having the intention of RAKing it changed my mindset throughout my day- I was actively looking for ways I could contribute or help others, and it was neat to see how this intention presented more opportunities. I was thinking today how I’m sad that it’s over.. And then I realized, it doesn’t have to be. I may not be able to continue at this pace, but I am committed to keep the mindset of actively looking for ways and opportunities to contribute. I’ve decided to make “complete a random act of kindness” a weekly goal.

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Another way I celebrated my birthday was asking for presents. I know, I know..how selfish right? I requested that, as a birthday present, everyone do 1 random act of kindness and 1 act of self care. The response I received from people blew me away. I was so touched that people took part and I absolutely loved hearing about the ways people were spreading the love to themselves and others. Inspiring and heartwarming. It has given me so much joy and made my birthday so special; I am full of gratitude for everyone who made my birthday wishes come true.

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As a thank you I had promised those who gave me these wonderful gifts that I would thank them while leaning off the top of the CN Tower. 356 meters up. I’m happy to say I kept my promise, but it was NOT easy. In fact, it was downright terrifying. My legs were shaking uncontrollably and waves of panic hit me every few minutes. There were times I honestly thought I wouldn’t be able to continue, that I was going to get sick or faint. I hadn’t realized before signing up that you don’t get to pick how long you stay out there, you are actually out there for 30 minutes walking around the entire building and doing various leans. My hands are getting clammy now just writing about it. I had quite a bit of practice urge surfing while out there though; letting the panic come and riding it until it lessened. I didn’t try to fight the response my body was (rightfully) having to being so high off the ground. I just let it come and “go”. I noticed that I even had a few moments of calm out there! They didn’t last long, and the panic continued to come back until the end, but it was neat to know that it was possible.

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It would have been nice if there was more calmness and less intense panic during this experience; however, bottom line – I DID IT! Despite the panic, despite the difficulty, despite the thoughts and body sensations. Much like daily life, I wish there was more calmness and less panic to deal with; however, I can face challenges head on – even with that panic in tow. I don’t have to let the panic control what I do and don’t do. I can purposely push past my comfort zone and prove to myself just how strong and determined I am. Whether it’s the CN Tower or life in general – I can CONQUER it, even with shaking legs.

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I may not have this whole 30 year old thing figured out yet. What I do know is that I am committed to LIVE the rest of my life, however long that is.

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Dragons fly. They are free. They spread their wings proudly, soar, and when needed – breathe fire.

Here I come, thirty!  Age of the dragon.

 

Planting My Feet Back on the Ground

nowA few days ago I was beyond myself; fed up with winter, fed up with the journeys my attention was taking deep in the realms of my mind. It was a sunny day with the promise of spring; however, the air was crisp and the wind sent chills to the bone- reminding us that winter hasn’t given up yet.

The unexpected chill was disappointing..or more like infuriating. I drove to one of my favourite summer spots nonetheless. After a few unsuccessful minutes of trying to stay present by looking at the trees from my car window, I kicked off my boots and socks, leaped out of the car, and stood on the damp ground. I walked down to the water’s edge, dodging the piles of snow, but and many times ending up in the frigid puddles that emerged from them. Hope; fucking cold hope, but and hope no less. My feet were freezing, but and I could still feel the warmth of connection from the earth. I don’t know what it is about being barefoot that creates that bond; in my experience nothing can beat it.. (okay, maybe going barefoot while hugging a tree ;)).

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“It’s too cold to be here, but I’m too cold not to be.” Clarity. Standing here; chilled and warmed. Connected. I soak in every sensation this moment offers. I can feel it. Relief. Thank you feet.

I’ve been spending a lot of time away from the present lately. The dragon has been doing lots of time travelling, with good intentions, but and I’ve realized it’s causing me to feel less grounded and present. I’m also partly blaming winter.

My past has been hijacking my mind; a necessary evil of personal growth and byproduct of undoing the damage of a lifetime of avoidance. Though necessary, it is draining and painful. It’s difficult to lean into things that happened long ago, but and once in your awareness, it’s tricky not to get stuck there.

When I’m not entrenched in the past, I’ve been reaching for the future. Seeking out those escapes; imagining my dreams being a reality and planning how to make that happen. Now, I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I’m actually quite impressed how I’m using this drive to change my life and actually going for it when it comes to creating the life I truly want. At the same time, the urgency and desperation that I’ve been feeling makes it hard not to get lost in the daydreams. It makes it challenging to stay in the present and be satisfied with life as it is now.

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With all of this going on I’ve been letting my meditation practice slip. Mindfulness hasn’t been part of my daily routine..pretty hard to be mindful when you are living in the past or future. A friend recently told me of her desire to re-do the ‘Live Where Your Feet Are’ challenge (a challenge put on through Mindful Dragon last March) and asked if I’d like to join her. Her timing couldn’t have been better.

I decided to run the challenge again; thinking that it is probably more than the two of us who could use a refresher on how to bring mindfulness into their daily routine. The daily challenges will be posted on our Facebook group if you’d like to take part (or I can send them to your email if you prefer- just message me below). My hope is that we can learn (or re-learn) together to bring mindfulness into our everyday. Day 1 is tomorrow!

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It’s clear to me how important these mindfulness practices are for my well being. I want to continue on my time travelling journeys (at least the productive ones), but and I need to get grounded and find the balance between here and there.

With my feet planted back on the ground.

 

BUT OUT! You may have noticed a lot of crossed out buts in this post. I’m starting a new technique to get rid of this dialogue.. changing every BUT to AND. Holding space for both. Not letting our language reinforce the resistance we face when holding two (or more) ideas. Not needing one idea to negate the other. But And I’m leaving them in there (at least for now) to bring awareness to how often we struggle with this, to see right before our eyes the change we are making, and to feel the difference it makes. I encourage you all to BUT OUT with me!