Wednesday, 27 August 2014

till the cows come home.

It was a beautiful morn for a little stroll. ok so maybe the intention of the stroll was not initially about enjoying the sights and sounds however we were only a few feet out of the drive before our nature loving selves tuned into the sounds of the crickets and birds on the breeze, the butterflies and the sun shining through the trees. It was the perfect temp for it too... many days are just too flipping hot to be pushing these two in the blistering sun. 

A few days ago it felt as though fall was upon us... I had started making a list of things to love about fall (it really is my favourite time of year around these parts)... cozy sweaters, enjoying a hot beverage comfortably, enjoying a walk comfortably, the changing prairie colours... I am not really ready for summer to be over just yet (nor do I believe it is...) however the reality is the seasons will change... we change... and without change well...

Things can get pretty dull in my humble opinion. 

When it comes to change, we have a choice... and we don't. While we do get to choose how we react, we generally don't get to choose whether or not it happens. The ease of making that choice of how to react, undoubtably depends on what the change is and if it is something we are initially happy about and or in fact wanted (even if we may not realize it at the time...), or if it is something we are resistant too. Human nature finds us often suffering with change as we tend to cling to the past, even when it is something our heart NEEDS to let go of. We also tend to resist what is the change itself. Anytime we grasp or resist we suffer. Anytime we are suffering we struggle to feel comfortable, content and relaxed. We struggle to feel at ease.

It is when we feel at ease, that things start to feel easy. When we are not at ease, the body, mind and spirit are stressed. It is no secret that stress is the cause of much disease...

DIS - EASE. 

get it? :)

This also applies to everyday life. Anytime we catch ourselves wishing we were somewhere else, doing something else, with someone else, we are resistant to what is. Anytime we are fearful of losing something, someone, that the "good times won't last" so to speak, we are grasping at something that will eventually change. The only thing we can truly do to assure a happy, relatively easeful life, is to let go of our need for control of what has and will happen. We must learn to let go of the past, find contentment in the now and welcome the future as it unfolds into the present moment. 

This is no small feat. We are not programmed to be this way necessarily. Ok we are not programmed this way at all really. This is the plight of many in human existence. It is finding our way beyond this conditioning that allows us to be free...

...that allows us to just be. 

It starts with finding stillness. In the body and breath and in turn in the mind. The mind is the kind of obnoxious kid in class that can really be a jack ass by times. That kid may be a jerk on the surface, but there is a reason for it, maybe they have a rough family life, have been bullied themselves, don't get enough to eat or enough sleep to function in a reasonable manner. Whatever the reason, that "bully" is not really being itself. It needs and deserves love and compassion just like everyone else. It needs you to approach it with kindness and understanding in order to be silenced in a way that allows you to hear what the teacher is saying.

That teacher is the quiet whisper within. The voice that tells you you are perfect exactly as you are. That shows you there is a whole other world you may not have ever known if it wasn't for your ability to listen and learn...

...like really REALLY listen, because that kid can be a serious chatter box most of the time.

I'll tell you one thing, there is nothing but change happening around here these days. A moment of complete and utter joy dissolving into devastation because under the bathroom sink is NOT a place for playtime. Wanting to go and stay at the same time. Wishing little ones could be little forever and then a second later, that they would just grow up so life would feel less hectic, and then taking it back all in the same moment.

We all know that life is journey. It's easy to get caught up in the idea of there being a destination. A place where we will find happiness if we can just make it there. The thing is every moment is in fact a destination on that journey. Each one flowing into the next with no assurance there is anything more after the very one we are in right now.

I leave you here today with the photo story of our stroll. There is nothing like a bunch of cows in a field staring at you with such interest and awareness to prompt you to turn inward for a gander at yourself...

haha, ok well maybe that's just me:) 



















have a beautiful day friends. 

thanks for being.

b & the gang.

Monday, 25 August 2014

on a mindful monday

I find myself craving simplicity these days. things seem easier somehow. i am keeping this short and sweet... for reals folks...

for reals ;) 

at the expense of sounding like a broken record here..


isn't it funny how when you stop trying to do everything...

more seems to get done.

aside of doing my best to lighten up and have more fun,

each day I say to myself...


and all will feel easeful.

that is all:)

namaste.

b.





Friday, 22 August 2014

fun fitness friday // a mommy & mini workout

Hey friends :)

We sure hope you are having a fabulous Friday! Just wanted to take a minute to share one of our youtube videos that has been in editing for a while and is FINALLY live. We shot this back early in the summer on one of the few days I actually kinda sorta had a bit of a backyard workout with my trusty sidekick(s). It was so much fun and felt so good to actually get my heart pumping for the first time in forever... I was sure this would become a regular thing.

Once the days were pushing 30 plus degrees celsius the whole idea kind of fell flat truthfully, however given things are really cooling off, we're hoping to get our butts in gear a little more consistently and to actually put out some full mommy and mini (express... always express because who's got the time???) workouts.

Anyways, I'll keep the ramble short today but we sure hope you enjoy this little diddy!

As always, thanks for being!

b, f, and j


Monday, 18 August 2014

monday mommi mantra // you can only do...

It was a week ago Saturday that we returned to the west from our east coast adventures... We hadn't been home more than a half hour when hubby opened the pantry door and said "Something exploded in here... like really exploded..."

It took me a moment to register what he was saying. When I had, I envisioned of a bag of flour or sugar has busted open after a fall of a shelf.

Hubby has shut the door and is doing something else. Several minutes later,  I open it.

The floor, completely covered in at least a half inch deep pool of something dark and sticky. The walls and pretty much every item in the jam packed space, coated in the same stuff. The shelves themselves, could have nothing ever fall off them now, as everything is glued down by the sweet and syrupy substance, having dripped down the underside edges of each one, as well as the back wall. 

Truly a sight to behold. Not surprisingly I did not feel inspired to take a picture in the moment. I do my best to leave the house pretty neat and tidy so that I only have the unpacking to deal with after a trip. This was not exactly what I had expected to have to deal with after a long day of travel. 

Regardless. I had no choice. I could leave it or clean it. Considering we were in need of at least a few staple groceries, and that it sure wasn't going to go away on it's own, I needed to take care of business. Hubby scooted the kiddos off out of the way and I began the task of cleaning up the biggest mess I've had to in this mommi life so far. 

Clearly it was a bit ironic how it had nothing to do with my kiddos.

There was no way to tackle it but with slow methodic patience. Our best guess had been that it was balsamic vinegar. We were right. On the top shelf was an bone dry costco sized bottle with one side completely blown out.

I peeled items off the shelves, cleaning them as best I could, scrubbing the sticky surfaces and noting how I would definitely not forget this any time soon as I'd be finding remnants for (probably) ever. I was forced to make a plan and despite the arduous (in the jet lagged exhausted moments) task before me, I had to get it done and taking my time was the only option if I were to do a thorough job. I had to be patient, accepting of the current situation and work hard, even though it was probably the last thing I wanted to do.

As I worked, I imagined the moment of impact. Despite the fact that the bottle was exactly where it had been left, it was pretty clear there was a definitive force behind the expulsion of the contents. 

Now that it's all behind me, I really wish I had taken a picture:)

All the while I soaked, scraped and scrubbed, I searched for the message. Not much happens these days that I don't find some type of lesson in. I really believe that's the way it's suppose to be so that's the way I roll. Maybe it's not for everyone, at least to the degree it has seemed to filter into my personal everyday. All I know is that this process fosters growth and gratitude and gratitude makes everything so much better.  Simply put, once I started, it got kind of hard to stop :) 

The message was there, but a little foggy. Upon the return from any "vacation" I'm always expecting big things from myself. Sure vacation is meant to refresh and rejuvenate, so I suppose that is my reasoning to this end. That said, anyone who vacations with small children knows that while getting away for a while, (especially to visit with and have the assistance of, the extremely helping and giving family we are so blessed to have), is so very wonderful in itself, it's not entirely unusual to still feel pretty bagged and appreciative of falling into one's own bed, upon returning home. 

As much as I had been feeling optimistic and excited about some of the projects I was getting back to, I knew from experience that having high expectations of myself wasn't really fair. I could sense this was to help reinforce and support this sentiment... I was getting the point here... but my brain couldn't quite put it into words...

A couple of hours and a grocery break later, it was (almost) as if nothing but a serious tidy session had happened and interestingly, I was feeling a great sense of accomplishment. About the fact that it was finished (clearly), but also regarding how I had handled the situation in general. I noticed how both my internal and external reactions would have been very different in the past. At no point had I felt overwhelmed or particularly frustrated, despite the fact that I was exhausted and this was the last thing that I wanted to tackle at that time...

... and this was something, I found myself feeling pretty darn good about:)

Our darlin Jessy girl had spent the two weeks we were away with our dear friend Lois. We knew she had been having a great time but were anxious to see her, so once things were situated I headed out to pick her up. Sitting down for a short visit with Lois and her friend I told them the story. I commented how I had been searching for the lesson in it all... that I knew it was there but even as I told the story I still couldn't quite articulate it.

Mucho love light and gratitude to my dear friend as she put it perfectly...


THAT WAS EXACTLY IT. We know we are amazing multitaskers, as not only mother's, but as women in general. It's in our DNA. How often I find myself trying to make dinner, unload the dishwasher, amuse or feed children, change a bum, return a phone call, change over the laundry, write a blog post, research a topic, edit photographs,.. anything and everything, expecting to be able to get it all done and somehow do it mindfully??? 

Nope, not so much. 

I'm doing my best these days... to take on one task at a time as much as possible... and wouldn't you know it...

I'm feeling like I'm getting more done. 

Just saying. You know, in case you were interested in trying this for yourself if applicable :)

Oh and also in case you tend to store you balsamic vinegar in a place that could possibly become very warm (like a pantry with no a/c while you are away on vacation during a heat wave), causing it to ferment and expand and explode. According to hubby who discovered this information on google post incident, we are not the first people this has happened to and though it's unlikely we will be the last, perhaps if nothing else, this post will save you the shock of such a discovery...

... but then again, maybe you'd discover your own lesson in it now wouldn't you ??? ;)

Have an similar experience you'd like to share?? We'd love to hear it!

No giant food messes required ;)  

Hope you're having a beautiful day, wherever you are!

Namaste,

b.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

timeless change

So we're back from our east coast travels and settling back into everyday life. All in all, it was a great trip. Visiting friends and family, hanging at the beach and the in laws pool, watching the kiddos live and love it up with their grandparents, introducing west coast friends to east coast life, bouncing around from here to there, all the while doing our best to fit everything in and be as present as possible in each and every moment. Nonetheless, as always, the two weeks blew by in what felt like an instant.. and as always, even though we were sad to say "goodbye for now", it is nice to be getting back into our routine.

Despite my increasing ability to leave any expectations behind as we embark on any adventure, I had toted along my laptop just in case I had some quiet time to blog. A little pointless as I drafted this on my phone. I also tend to take a vacay from anything that finds me in front of a screen, disconnected from the people with whom I have so little time to spend day to day. Even when the boys are occupied with others I just feel as though I want to  REALLY BE there to soak it all in. After all they are only little for this oh so teeny window of time...

Nonetheless I had one particular experience I really wanted to share while it was relatively fresh...

One evening I went to a yoga class. In all honesty the fact there is a studio with such a diverse class schedule in this tiny hometown of mine, kind of blows my mind. It shouldn't really, not only is yoga everywhere, but pei itself is the perfect place for such a thing to flourish. Peaceful and beautiful and holding such a big place in my heart, I have long dreamt of holding retreats here, even before I began teaching. 

The studio space is small and bright, located in a historical building in the heart of "town" over the visitors Center. I enter and pay the lovely lady at the door the ten dollars for the class. The schedule indicates a couple will be instructing. My mother in law had given me the low down since of course, she knew who they were. A small boy in the corner on a green yoga mat watches people as the enter the room. I smile at the thought of my boys ever being in a yoga class with a bunch of adults. I am guessing he is the grandchild of the couple who are teaching. The man who will in fact lead the class approaches me as a new face as I roll out my mat, asking me if I am a visitor or local. I tell him I am both, explaining I grew up there but am just back visiting. He asks me my last name, he knows my dad... He asks what I do out west.. I tell him I am a yoga teacher, but mostly a mom:)

The class begins with a moment of gratitude, something I begin the classes I lead with as well. First thoughts are for all my boys, my family, my health. He is thankful for us being there. Apparently class attendance has been a little sparse with the beautiful beaching weather. Those who have been benefiting from this (recieving a few semi private sessions as a result) are not complaining:) Nor is the teacher, this being his first little crack of the class. Throughout he makes jokes and we all laugh. I love a funny teacher and recall how grateful I am when my students laugh at (most) of my own corny jokes during my classes. As we move through the practice I take note of the many thing I enjoy and will very likely incorporate into my own teaching/practice in my own way. Not having much opportunity to attend live classes where I live I soak up all I can when I do get the chance. 

At the end of class he comments that when there is another teacher in class you (as the teacher) "aren't sure whether to go to the bathroom of just get on with it", casually welcoming me as a fellow teacher and thanking me for my presence. Normally this might make me a little uncomfortable, yet today I find this funny, especially when the beautiful sixty something lady with the awesomely wild hair who had been practicing next to me comments that she is relieved to hear, telling me I made it all look so effortless...

I assure her, it was not.

I take this opportunity to tell the group how grateful I am to be able to practice here with them. That this is a special and rare opportunity for me. I also feel compelled to comment on how much I enjoyed the jellyfish reference as we entered our closing savasana. I realize this is unlikely to pack the same punch back on the prairie, as jellyfish are obviously not exactly something people are familiar with... although I suppose the name in itself could get the point across:)

Finding the young boy suddenly standing beside me, leaned up against the post I was practicing beside, I tell him (and whom I had pegged correctly as the grandson, six years of age) how impressed I am with his practice. Convo with his gram and himself reveal his preschool had been where his practice had actually begun and that he had been known to insist on getting out if his stroller to bust out some yoga moves when he was younger.  I chit chat with a few of the seven or eight students as we put our props away, a couple of them (probably overhearing my conversation with the teacher at the beginning of class), ask if I am so and so's daughter and if I am one of the twins.. I tell them nope, I am the oldest... I get that a lot as it's "the twins" most remember for obvious reasons. My sisters are nine years younger so I am cool with that :) 

On the way out I find myself once again in conversation with the lady who had practiced beside me...

During our short conversation she says she finds it strange how the more she practices, the more challenging it somehow seems...


I assure her this means she is doing it right :)

She tells me she feels so much better when she practices.... Better in every way... Even in ways she cannot explain. She will turn 65 this week and she says that when she practices yoga she feels as though she does not age...

"Well that is because yoga brings out that part of you that is ageless." I hear myself say.

"That is such a wonderful way to put it." she responds. "I will remember that."

We are at our vehicles, parked beside each other in the parking lot. We exchange goodbyes and blessings. As I drive away I am so very grateful for this encounter. I marvel at how the seemingly simplest of conversations with seemingly random people can have such a profound impact. I feel as calm (on this particular eve) as the sea aside which this tiny hometown of mine is nestled. Deeply connected, yet completely free. 


Namaste friends.

b.

Monday, 11 August 2014

monday mommi mantra // room to grow

First off, my apologies for the wee hiatus. We are just back from our pei summer holiday and as always it was lovely and extremely busy, with lots and lots of people to see. I had high hopes of getting a post or two up given I would have some help, in particular from the grandparents whom the kiddos had a blast hanging with, however that time was filled with some just hanging of our own for the most part. I suppose that is what vacay is suppose to be all about. Part of me also feels compelled to stay truer than true to the idea of a "break" and stay away from gadget screens as much as possible anyway. 

After all, these are pretty precious moments we get to spend with our family whom we rarely get to see so it only seems appropriate to be as present as possible during this time.

We returned home on Saturday. It was a pretty ok day of travel despite our 3:30 am wakeup call and a very bouncy Wylie who made for a pretty decent workout for the almost four hour back half of our airborne travels. Thankfully Foster (who rarely sleeps in any type of transit) decided he would sleep for the ENTIRE duration of Wylie's partying. THANK YOU ANGELS for that :)

Leaving your home for a couple of weeks, there is always a good chance it will not be quite how you left it. Some serious heat did a serious number on our grass however the garden held up pretty well thanks to some dutiful watering from our wonderful neighbours. In fact it was pretty amazing how much some of the plants had flourished while we were gone. 

Gardening has been an endless source of inspiration for me on many levels this year. I have had intended to share more of these "garden ponders" here but alas... I guess I was gardening... haha... or trying to keep tabs on the kid that can unlock one of our doors and just let himself out to wander on a whim (we should probably fix that). Anyway as I pulled weeds during my homecoming visit I got thinking about how I might rearrange things now that I could see what had established itself well, the colours that had appeared etc. While I was happy with what I had planted, I'm realizing that gardening in itself is truly an art, a process, always changing and ever evolving. It may not look exactly as I would like it too right now but I HAD BEGUN and my attempt, while perhaps not one hundred percent successful (as things rarely are), it was a great start AND a success nonetheless. Perhaps what was far more important that the success was what I had learned during my gardening adventures so far and even more so was the realization...



I had taken the time to figure out what would grow, selected plants based on what I felt drawn too, planted them with love and nourished them as best I could. Some grew like crazy and took up a lot of space, sometimes too much. Some didn't fare so well, even being the same variety as the ones that did, yet planted in a slightly different spot (and by slightly I mean in an identical bed just a few feet away.... very strange).  Some grew taller than expected, bloomed longer or not at all, some I had written off from my attempts last year (I had decided to start from scratch this year) but appeared out of no where, including outside of the beds themselves. Some I had written off shortly after I planted them yet suddenly flourished. 

Let's just say, things are getting on, but on their own terms it seems and let's just say, this is all in pretty decent alignment with what goes on throughout our lives...

Well mine anyways :)

The bit of vine in the pic above was one of those things I had written off. During my plant shopping I had picked up a beautiful rose, intended to pot it which I did. I had tucked in some vine and a bit of sage and rosemary just because, maybe not the best idea.. as the rose didn't live that long, however it was the vine that started to die off first. 

As the rose faded I noticed the vine starting to come back. I took said pic a week or two before we left and now the vine and herbs (which also hadn't been looking so hot) are thriving. The rose, not so much. I have since learned that roses probably are sometimes best off in their own space... fair enough, I guess the fact that they have all those thorns could be an indicator that they prefer to be left alone.

I sure did love it while it was around though... here's a couple of pics of the first couple of blooms..



... and a couple of pics of the last.




Grasshopper friend sure seemed to enjoy em... and having his/her pic taken :)

I just happened upon this recent blog post by "mama in bloom" yesterday which I LOVED SO MUCH (as I do the name of the blog itself).... incidentally it is a pretty perfect follow up to this theme as it spills over into the trials and tribulations of parenting, in particular the early years. I'll let you check it out for yourselves if you're interested. Much thanks to Tania and her beautiful and inspiring fam :)

Up and coming here this week... some wise words from a wonderful stranger I met in a yoga class back in my little ol hometown, more garden shots and some more fun trip pics. There is already one "just beachy" post up on luv snaps if you're into it :)

Till then,

have a beautiful day friends. 

don't forget to bloom ;)

mucho luv,

b.

Monday, 21 July 2014

monday mommi mantra // be still

It probably comes as no surprise that being still is exceptionally tough for me these days, despite my knowing just how much easier life seems when I make the time. In fact the simple art of finding stillness may just have the ability to have the greatest impact on our well being of just about anything we can do. 

We often think of stillness simply in a physical sense... Staying in one place... Taking a load off from our daily tasks. In a world of constant flux and change we are almost always doing or thinking about doing something. True stillness has not only to do with taking time out from always being on the go but with being able to set that mental to do list aside, to quiet the judgemental voice in our head, to begin to clear and open up that proverbial space, to tune into the flow of the breath and begin feel the subtle energy within that connects us all. When we feel connected to this place we feel more peaceful, more capable, more loving. We feel more at ease because we are moving in greater accordance with that which we are meant to be....

Sounds simple enough doesn't it :)


In this guest post, mama Natalya of Pilates Mommy Workout, gives us some great pointers on getting started on a meditation practice aka stillness (if we haven't already of course!). As I've mentioned, life is pretty nutso these days and finding time has been exceptionally challenging. On Friday I may have mentioned that I had formulated the plan of getting up before the kiddos to fit a little uninterrupted yoga and meditation in which being a good idea in theory,  yet as week one with this idea came to a close, the plan was yet to have been implemented.

Well friends, I am tremendously happy to report that this morning I DID IT!!! *high fives!!!* It may not have been the most energetic practice or deepest meditation of all times but it HAPPENED and now it is just shortly after 9 am and I am here writing this bringing me to my little ol list (in just a moment and in no particular order) of fabulous things that you just mind notice happening when you take the time to BE STILL...

... but first a quickie HOW TO REVIEW

1. Find a comfortable seat, lie down or just stop and BE where you are (i.e. waiting in line, sitting in traffic/on transit, feeding a baby...) Sure a quiet place free of distractions is best but that is not always possible...

2. Tune into your breath. don't try to change it, just pay attention to how it feels.

3. Witness your thoughts as they come and go and try not to judge (that just makes way for more distracting thoughts and rarely positive ones!). Simply "label" the thoughts as they come as "thinking" and once you have acknowledged them, gently let 'em go, just imagining them drifting away as you return to paying attention to your breathing.

4. Feel free to add a simply mantra to help you focus and draw on the positive and peaceful energy found within. (i.e. "be still", "just breathe", "I am enough", "I am peaceful and loving", I am patient and kind")

5. Do this for as long as and as often as you can! 

.... and btw.. you absolutely positively CAN DO THIS. It's as simple as believing you can AND making the choice to JUST TRY. 

Remember, there is no real right or wrong here, however if you follow these guidelines as best you can in a context that works for you, there a few pretty stellar perks you may just experience.... :)

1. An increase in productivity. Seriously, while taking time out may seem like something you don't have time for, I can pretty much guarantee you will get more done outside of that time... don't believe me? I guess you'll have to give it a go and see for yourself. 

2. An increase in patience. haha, ok I will be totally honest, while this is the absolute truth there is a reasonable chance (especially as a mommi or anyone who finds themselves short on patience in general for whatever reason) that you may have to throw in a moment here and there... a kind of mindful mommi maintenance program so to speak. Think of it as a daily (preferably) tune or fuel up that needs a little tweak or top up throughout the day. Mini moments of stillness can have amazing benefits as well however the ability to carve out at least ten minutes at a time can make a world of difference. First thing in the morning and/or last thing at night are optimal but as we know from this post, the most important thing to do is WHAT WE CAN. The thing is when we take the time to be still we will also experience..

3.  An increase in our ability to love (including what we do ;)). Undoubtably this practice will help us to be more loving and compassionate towards ourselves and others. The reason for this is simple. In stillness we connect to our truth, the pure loving energy that sustains us and everything in the universe. It's like opening a portal to infinite love that in turn will pour through us and out into the world. Pretty snazzy stuff isn't it?

4. An increase in our ability to connect to our purpose aka an increase in clairity. In finding stillness we are better able separate what is really important from what isn't so much. It's easy to find our mind cluttered with what seems like absolute madness by times. We struggle to sift through it all, to prioritize and purge what we don't need. Finding stillness allows us to quiet the insanity and hear the wee whisper of our true voice within. When we are able to quiet the noise and make the space to listen we often naturally begin to live in alignment with this purpose and find ourselves experiencing...

5. An increase in our overall level of peace & happiness. When we feel happier we also feel more peaceful and content with what is and seriously, whether we admit it or not, all anyone really wants in this life is to be happy not to mention the fact that happiness is contagious!

"Wisdom comes from the ability to be still. Just look and just listen. No more is needed. Being still, looking and listening, activates the non-conceptual intelligence within you. Let stillness direct your words and actions."

~Eckhart Tolle

Any questions, tips or tricks welcome friends! 

Hope you're having a beautiful Monday! 

till next time. 

be still and shine bright!

b.