Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Power of place

I am writing this post from a very cozy leather chair at a Starbucks near hubby's work. Sometimes, instead of turning around and driving back home, a 25 minute drive, I like to hang out in Dallas and have some thinking time. That thinking time occasionally looks like window shopping, reading a book or working on a blog entry or comedy material. I enjoy my time away from my home, and I find myself most productive when I am surrounded by strangers and noisy coffee machines. This has a lot to do with the current state of chaos of my office/guestroom/zen room - after 4 months, it still isn't unpacked/settled. It isn't a space I want to be in right now. And that is all about to change. 

I had a breakthrough during a call last week. My coach and I talked about my bigger vision in life, which has always related to creating a space to nurture and help people heal. In previous incarnations, that looked like a rustic retreat center that offered workshops, seminars, and all sorts of activities. I envisioned myself as a Big Momma figure, feeding people good food and feeding their souls good lovin'. That vision has changed somewhat in the past few months. Looking for a way to create my big vision now (one that isn't hampered by finances and time and space), I am very drawn to the idea of starting a tea room. 

Tea. Tea has always been an important part of my life. I love the ritual of tea, the attention paid by proper tea connoisseurs to the temperature of the water, the type of teapot, the amount of steeping of the leaves, all of that. It is the penultimate of mindfulness. And then you have it, a soothing cuppa tea that calms your soul, that connects you to spirit, that grounds you. If you're lucky, you get to share that experience with someone special. I also enjoy high tea, the dainty treats and the slow lingering enjoyment of cucumber sandwiches and scones with jam and Devonshire cream. Imagine taking an hour to enjoy such niceties and connecting with your tea companions in a meaningful way. A time out from the harried world. Tea is about you. 

I'm a firm believer that when you are ready, truly ready, and you declare this to the universe, doors will open. People will come into your life to help you create your dreams. Just 2 days after I created the intention of a tearoom in my apartment, the universe sat me next to a woman at a lunch gathering who is interested in trading coaching services for her expertise as an interior designer. She is going to help me create my tearoom space. I have a very good feeling about this room - it is my intent to create a harmonious, calming and connecting space. Maybe, just maybe, I will no longer feel as though I need a Starbucks coffee house as a space to write. 

Who knows what the tea leaves will say, at the bottom of my next cup. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Walking a mile in someone else's shoes

What does it truly mean to walk a mile in someone else's shoes? It's a cliche we hear often enough. Are we to visualize someone's life experience, their past, present and future, and imagine what it must be like living life as them? Can we truly ever understand what it means to be someone else, even if just for a moment? What if their shoes looked really uncomfortable?

I recently met and was inspired by a woman who shared her ongoing journey of self discovery. Like me, she was a self-professed tomboy for most of her life, shying away from overtly pink and girly things. (I recall my first Christmas in my husband's family where, when asked what I'd like as a gift, I asked for a Swiss Army Knife, a coffee thermos and a robe that was any colour but pink.) She didn't want to be pigeonholed or defined by her gender. Not all girls want to play Barbie, cook or be wives or mothers. Some of them want to play Dungeons & Dragons or touch football. Even though she had steered clear of the "girly" inside for many years, she was curious about that aspect of her own life. A few years ago, she made a focused effort to embrace the feminine. In the process, she found herself empowered.

The journey to femininity meant wearing makeup, spending time on her hair, wearing more professional and feminine clothing to work and she learned how to stop worrying and to love the stiletto. At first it was a kitten heel, a short heel, to start. Once she had mastered that, the height of her heels began to grow. Prior to all of this, she never quite understood stiletto fetishists who insisted the skinnier and taller the heel, the better. Having embraced platform stilettos and mastering the walk, she understands. It is about empowerment. The owning of one's sensuality.

I admit, I prejudged her. Before sitting down and having our conversation, I felt she was trying to be someone she wasn't. I was trying to fully understand her efforts to be what I perceive as ultra feminine. As though somehow it was all about me needing to understand why she was who she was. Which, admittedly, is a very narcissistic perspective. I will also admit that I have snickered when I've seen women teetering on stilettos while walking down the streets of Vancouver. I think that makes me a bit of a jerk. Maybe my prejudice comes from a place of envy or insecurity. I am very uncomfortable in heels (and would teeter in my own right). I have felt judged on occasion for wearing my comfortable and ugly orthotic shoes by women who have more stylish footwear. And the unfortunate part is, when we're judging someone based on their shoes or clothes or hair, we're overlooking an opportunity to know who they are as people, to know what their story is.

So here I was, humbled by this woman who decided one day to fully embrace the feminine side of herself. She said something along the lines of, I knew it would be hard and that I would be uncomfortable sometimes, but it was something I needed to do to fully discover and embrace myself. She inspired me. It takes courage to push yourself out of your comfort zone and into an unknown place. Maybe for you, it means committing to writing a book this year, or challenging yourself to get onstage and share your life wih others. Maybe it means buying those sexy Manolos you've been looking at through the window and committing to strutting your stuff.

You may have blisters. Your feet may ache. But after you've walked a mile in someone else's shoes, you're a mile farther ahead than you were when you started.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The little things in life

How is it possible that it is mid-February already? This is my first entry for the month - where has all the time gone? I haven't been feeling that great, and as a result some days are more of a challenge than others to just get "life stuff" done, let alone goals and passion stuff done. My inner jerk has been on high alert lately, but the awesome part is I know when the jerk is present and I'm getting better at seeing through the negative messages.

For example, I baked some tea cakes this week. I didn't make them from scratch - I used a Betty Crocker white cake mix and added a teaspoon of rose essence. I made them in a special cupcake pan which makes the tops look like flowers. I made a lemon icing from scratch. But at each turn, I was super critical. "Really, Betty Crocker?" "The icing isn't sitting right, it isn't pretty enough." Yeah, my jerk is totally mean. Do you think the 12 recipients of those teacakes cared about my need for perfection? Nope. In fact, some were downright thrilled to get a Valentine's Day treat from little ol' me. Was I being particularly neurotic because one of the recipients has formal training in baking and pastry? Most likely. Comparing ourselves to others will only drive us to insanity. Comparison can sometimes inspire us to do better, but when you hear your inner jerk sabotaging your efforts, be alert. 

Breathe. Slow down. We are so unkind to ourselves. What can you do to be more kind?

For me, today is a day of being kind and showing myself some love. It was pretty miserable this morning, with dark, wet skies. After dropping Blair off at work, I went for a massage by the one person I knew in Dallas before we moved, a pen pal of 10 years, and he gave me one of the best massages of my life. Self care is important, especially when you suffer from chronic pain like I do (boo migraines). When I came out afterwards, it was gorgeous and sunny! We went for a lovely lunch, a mini tour of Dallas. I stopped by a couple of interesting stores, and now I'm enjoying some time to myself at Starbucks before I pick up hubby for dinner and a movie. This is probably one of the best Jean days I have had for a while. :)  

While I haven't blogged for the past 2 weeks, I am honouring some of the things I stated as important: I have  been social with a friend at least once a week, I'm working on my comedy, I'm discovering parts of Dallas I didn't know. I am reaching out to the deaf community where I live. I think there will be a few stickers on my calendar by the end of the week. In fact, tomorrow I weigh in for the first time at my new Weight Watchers' program. It provides structure and accountability for me, and that's something I know I need in order to be successful. It seems to be going very well so far. Yay! 

Is today's post particularly "profound"? My purpose in writing was to say that there may be some days or weeks where you aren't power-focused on your goals, but that if you continue to live in harmony with your values and intention, you'll be moving closer to those goals, sometimes without even realizing it. 

Today's little joy? There were many. And I am thankful for the little things that make me smile. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Still here...

I'm still here - I haven't been feeling too well these past two weeks and there's been a lot of life swirlyness.

I have a blog in my head for later this week, about finding inspiration in every person you meet.

Write soon, I promise. :)