Have you ever been so stuck in your head while walking somewhere, or eating, or “listening” to someone…doing anything for that matter… that you don’t even know how you managed to get to your destination, finish your plate, or hear what your friend was saying??

If you are anything like me, you have.

Ok, it just came to me! It’s kind of like having a blackout, except without the hangover. (There I said it! That’s for another post though!).

Sometimes I am A-MAZED at how in my freaking head I can be. Thoughts swirling around a million miles a minute. My face is all contorted. I’m nibbling on my lip or biting my nails or releasing these HUGE sighs that end up surprising anyone around me. My husband will ask with genuine concern, “Are you OK?”. People on the street may stop me to ask, “Are you OK?”.

crazy-mindP I N this to pinterestI don’t have a fancy name for this “state of being”. But I know it by how it feels…I’m distracted yet concentrated. I’m searching yet hungry. I’m unsettled yet comfortable.

I’m thinking. THINKING, THINKING, THINKING!
But what I really am is STUCK…in a state of being that keeps me so far removed from the awareness of what is happening around me that I miss out on whole moments of my life because I am stuck inside, interacting with no one but my thoughts.

And, let’s be honest here. When I am stuck in my thoughts, my thoughts are not the pretty thoughts that make me feel like a freakin’ rock star! No no no. They are the thoughts that fester, pick, nag, scold, insult and berate me. Hence, the contorted face and biting of nails and lips. My icky thoughts actually do become a physical manifestation and you can see it. Eew!

Where am I going with this, you may be wondering?

One day not that long ago, I found myself at my daughter’s daycare which takes about 15 minutes to walk to from our home. It’s a lovely walk, one I have done hundreds of times over the last 8 years or so (my oldest also went there). Except on this particular day, I arrived without having ANY idea which way I chose to walk. Had I chosen to walk past our favorite pizza restaurant and then cross at the fruit store where we can stop and buy fresh dates on the way home? Or was it past the farmer’s market stands by the metro and the outdoor piano?

I was so in my head that I missed it. I was so in my head that I missed the chance to “be” in my walk, my world and enjoy my time.

And so it hit me. It hit me that when we are caught up in our crazy minds (during those icky thoughts times) and living on auto-pilot, we are not aware of what is happening around us. How could we be? We retreat into a different space, a space removed and alone. A space that can be hostile and cold.

We lose all sense of our environment and the beauty, love, and warmth that surrounds us.

Since that “wake-up” moment, I have come to understand at a much deeper level how much our intention can help us to live a beautiful life.

We are faced with choices every day, all day long. When you go into auto-pilot, you are humming along with no awareness. You are unconsciously “doing”. And that’s fine for certain things in life. We don’t have to think about how to drive a car. We just do it. Right?

less-out-of-habitBut when we operate in auto-pilot mode most of the time, we become cut-off from LIFE. We are the opposite of awareness. We are the opposite of connected.

And that, my friends, is not the life I wish for you. Or me. Or my kids. Or any of us. By bringing your intention into what you do, how you choose, who you are, you are setting yourself up with a life that feels aware, connected, joyful, and empowered.

So how can you get out of your head and into your heart? How can you get out of the sticky thoughts and drop the contorted face so you can walk with peace and a smile?

By choosing to be aware. Aware of the thoughts (even if they are icky ones). Aware of the fact that you just scarfed down all that food and have no memory of enjoying it. Just start with being aware. Choose to be aware. Ask to be aware and slowly, you will be. Because all intentional and meaningful living starts with awareness.

Onwards Novel Lifers! xo

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Summer is SO here and I am SO ready for a vacation! And I am guessing you all are as well! YAY!

I am thrilled to share some little bits of awesomeness with you this month!! 

Inspiration

So I found out about this little gem of a book called The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod about a month or so ago (note: I think his website kinda sucks but the book rocks).

miracleAnd it is slowly changing my life in wonderful ways! I have always dreamt of being an early riser. Waking up to meditate in a quiet home, before everyone is awake. Having some kind of wonderful ritual to start my day. But, anyone who knows me well knows I LOVE sleeping in. I mean, I LOVE it. If it weren’t for my kids, I could easily stay in bed until late in the morning.

But this yearning to be an early riser who meditates and shit has been gnawing at me for the last few months and this wonderful book finally ignited the fire in me to give it an earnest try. 

And, folks, I am happy to report that I now set my alarm at 6am every weekday morning (while weekends do see me sleeping in a bit, I am starting to get the urge to wake up early then too!! Stay tuned!) and pop out of bed for my Spiritual Hour, as I call it. Some mornings are tougher than others because I am still shifting my bed time to earlier, but this remains a challenge for me! Anyway…

Here is what I do (not necessarily in this order):

  • meditate with this simple to use app from Deepak Chopra
  • write in my Five Minute Journal
  • Read my affirmations (a big part of what Hal discusses in his book)
  • Make my coffee and sip it in peace (not while running around make breakfast and lunches!)
  • Connect with Spirit
  • stretch, think, fart, relax and sometimes browse Pinterest.

And THIS lovely ritual is infusing me with SO MUCH ENERGY!! Seriously, I go to bed excited to wake again. Hal talks about this in his book…going to bed with the same excitement you did as a kid on Christmas Eve. Okay, okay…my excitement isn’t quite like that but it is buzzing in my body! I can literally feel it circulating!

And as a result, my days are more productive, I don’t have my afternoon slump and I am ready to rock it in my business and personal lifeI have more focus, clarity and purpose!
I am starting my day with intention, rather than waking up and going straight into “reaction’ mode with everything that needs to get done to get my family up and out the door!

If you have ever considered adding something like a morning ritual into your lifeI highly recommend this book to kickstart your desire. 

And then report back and let me know how it’s going!! And if you already have a morning ritual, SHARE it with me. I would love to hear about it!

LOVE
I am sharing this incredibly moving video about the relationship between a man and his dog. It’s about commitment and love and support and kindness and friendship and adventure and all the things that make life worth living.

I cried my face off. Like a baby. Even though it also has funny bits. 

It is SO worth watching. It’s less than 8 minutes. You will be so thankful you did. i promise. Here it is: Denali

Wishing you all a SUPERB start to summer!!

peace and love and light.

xo

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Today’s LONG OVERDUE blog is about pee. And our thoughts. But let’s get to peeing first.

If you’re like me at all, you have probably held in your pee for at least one of the following reasons:

  • It’s not convenient for me to stop what I am doing and pee in this moment (In the middle of cooking? Watching a movie? Sex? ha, just kidding!)
  • I can hold it until I get to somewhere ‘nicer” and “cleaner” (think nasty gas station bathroom. or porta potty or a porta potty at a nasty gas station! YUCK!)
  • I don’t feel like doing it “here” (daycare and school are two places that come to mind…the grossest bathrooms with all the yucky kiddos’ pee drops and who knows what else!)
  • What if I fart at the same time? The walls are pretty thin and I would be mortified if anyone heard me! (’nuff said on this one! But I am thinking of moments when the bathroom is a little too close to everyone else outside the bathroom door. I actually have a bathroom like this in my own house!)

Anyway, about a month ago I was walking to pick up my daughter at daycare and I had to pee. And then I immediately thought, “Nah, I can hold it until I get home”. Which, to put things in perspective, would have been 30 minutes from then. Not too bad, but not too soon either. I’m sure you can relate. 

And then I thought some more. And some more. And, yes, you guessed it, some more!! And then, I had an epiphany, of sorts. Here is how it went down:

Why would I deprive myself the pleasure of peeing when I really need to go? Why would I do this to myself?

Yes, yes…the reasons above are all valid and we all know we could add even more…yet, I still can’t really accept this type of sadomasochistic behaviour from myself. I mean, peeing is a primal urge and it would take all of 30 seconds to satisfy this urge and then go along my merry way.  Do I really prefer to “suffer” through the discomfort of a full bladder, navigating what then would be “an excruciatingly slow walk home” with my beautiful daughter whose only goal on her way home is to walk up every ramp, not step on the cracks in the sidewalk, step on the cracks in the sidewalk, notice the blooming flowers, beg me for an ice cream, stop at the park to play in the sand…enjoy her life!! ??

But nope…cranky-ass pee monster would surely rear her ugly head so I could do my business in my not-so-perfect-but-perfect enough toilet AT HOME and usher her on her way as quickly as possible missing out o

n a pleasant walk together. 

And let me clarify, I am NOT afraid of public toilets and have absolutely nothing against them. I love doing my business anywherewhen I really, really need to and I am sure as heck grateful for them when I find them. But I am also just as happy to whip out my ass and go where I need to.  (Hell, I even wrote a descriptive paper for a university English class titled “How to shit in the woods”…I am SO not kidding. The professor wrote on the front page, “This smells like an A” ). Anyway, I digress…
But, I admit it, there are times when I don’t take care of my business right away, as I had considered doing on the fine day in question. I hold it in. I suffer through because of these weird ideas or feelings I have about how I want the pressing pee-experience to be in that moment. (I know, weird.)

However,  I realized that there is rarely, if ever, a perfect time or place or circumstance or situation to handle something like peeing. You can’t control when you have to go…it just comes up and you feel the need. And this, my friends, is  A LOT like our thoughts. Especially our painful thoughts. 

Our painful thoughts, or the thoughts that make us not feel so good about ourselves or others or our life situation…those thoughts come and go as they please. But here’s the thing, we CAN decide how to handle them when they come. And, just like peeing, you can take care of your business right away. You have the choice to do it before you start suffering for no reason other than your own stubbornness.

Instead of making excuses like:I’m too busy to think about that/deal with that

  • I don’t have the energy to put into that
  • It doesn’t really bother me THAT much…I can tough it out
  • What if I cry?

And on and on and on the list can go.

So, my take-away from my walk home that day with my daughter’s hand in mine as we strolled leisurely home was NO MORE DENYING THE PEE! I will honour when my body tells me to pee, even when it means I will be doing my peeing in less-than-ideal circumstances. EVERY. TIME.


And so it is with my thoughts too…I will honour those sticky, painful thoughts when they come up. Not when the “right time”, “right place” or “right situation” presents itself. Because just as a full bladder make us uncomfortable and in a state of potential pain and impatience and crankiness BECAUSE I HAVE TO PEE DAMMIT!!….well, so it is with our thoughts.They linger, put pressure, cause discomfort and crankiness and impatience and all the unpleasantness that comes along with not honouring the primal urges we have to take care of our bodies. And we all know that our bodies and minds are so beautifully connected. 

So, don’t back away from the thoughts that cause you the discomfort. Notice them, look at them, find a quiet spot somewhere and honour them. And if you need help wiggling them loose, I am here. You know where to find me.

That’s it…off to pee! 🙂

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Is it really June 1st today? What happened to May?! Are you feeling like SPRING is flying by too? I’ve been so busy these days that I didn’t even make time to get a newsletter out to you last month! My apologies! 

First of all, welcome to my new subscribers! There were quite a few new inspired lovelies that signed up since my last newsletter and I am so honored to have you here!

So, let’s get to the good stuff! 

My very brief  WHOLE30 recap. (For those that are new, I challenged myself to eating WHOLE30 for 30 days in the April newsletter.)

  • I am glad I did it, for the 26 days I did it.
  • I really enjoyed my colorful breakfasts with eggs, avocado, some kind of potato or squash hash wit
    garlic, onions, greens. It was beautiful to see so much color on my plate in the morning. And yes, garlic and onions rock any time of day!
  • I rarely, if ever, felt hungry in between my 3 meals a day or deprived. And my sugar cravings are gone. 
  • I did not like how much animal protein I had to consume! In fact, this is a huge reason why I will never do this cleanse again. (Environmental reasons, humanitarian reasons…still sorting this one out.)
  • I still had digestive issues on the cleanse. Hmmm, that is still a work in progress.
  • I did feel less “puffy” but did not lose any real weight…perhaps 2 pounds.  My husband, on the other hand, lost about 10lbs. 
  • I proved to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to and that being inspired and motivated is KEY to accomplishing what I want. 
  • I certainly am more aware of my sugar and protein consumption and find I am naturally choosing to eat less sugar and incorporate more protein into my diet than I did before (but NOT to the extent I was on the cleanse!).
  • I love my naturally balanced way of eating…and I intend to stick to it but with more awareness and intentionality about how and why I am consuming what I am eating. Mindfulness in eating. YES!
  • Overall, I am happy I did it as I feel it has brought me back to myself and confirmed how I love to eat. No extremes, just good balanced eating.
  • And, finally, do I feel like I failed because I didn’t make it to 30 days? No, I don’t. And here’s why: I chose this challenge in a spirit of joy and inspiration. I was committed and engaged, until it started to feel icky for me. In my core, I knew this ultimately was not a good fit for me. And I honored that voice inside. I could have pushed myself, yup, that is true. But for what reason? Just to say that I made it to 30 days? To prove something to WHO exactly? Not myself. I had already proved to myself what I set out to do. I ditched my cravings and really tuned in to how I eat and WHY I eat what I eat. So be sure you make decisions for yourself because they hold true for you, not to impress someone else and their “vision” of what it means to be successful. I am proud of my WHOLE26. 🙂 Onwards!

Inspirations
I had the priviledge of attending TEDx Montréal Women this last weekend (I love TED talks!) While the live talks were SO inspiring and incredible, I wanted to share this one (previously recorded) by Candy Chang, an artist in New Orleans, who creates art that prompts people to think about their hopes, dreams, and secrets.

Here is her 6 minute video. I dare you not to cry! 

Give yourself permission to take 6 minutes out of your day and let yourself be moved. It’ll be worth it. I promise!

There is so much rich information on TED, so much to learn and be inspired from. When you find yourself needing a break from your work or craving some inspiration, head on over and find one of thousands of talks to get your heart pumping and, if you are anything like me, your tears flowing! Here are a two of my favorites!

https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity
https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability

Recipe
Ok people!

This recipe is so delicious and so healthy that I told my kids they could have it for breakfast. Wait until you indulge in this yumminess that is rich, filling and without one bad ingredient on the list!

Chia-Almond Chocolate Pudding Parfait  (from Against all Grain)
SERVES: 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 6 ounces pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened raw cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 medium bananas, sliced
  • 1/3 cup unsalted, natural almond butter
  • 1 cup mixed berries of choice
  • 1/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine almond milk, dates, cacao powder, chia seeds, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt in a blender. Blend until very smooth, about two minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. To assemble the parfaits: Divide the banana slices between six 8-ounce Mason jars or bowls. Spoon equal amounts of almond butter into the jars, then top with equal amounts of the chilled pudding. Top with berries and almonds and serve immediately or refrigerate covered for up to three days.

On a final note, as we head into warmer weather, longer days and summer vacations, I wish for  you that your days be filled with savoring the ordinary moments and having the presence to be able to recognize them for how extraordinary they really are. It’s a process, I know!! 🙂

blessings, love and light!
marieke xo

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A few years ago a colleague of mine recommended a fantastic book with a SUPER cheesy name: The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman. I have to admit that I rolled my eyes when I heard the title. Love Languages? Seriously?

Turns out I got a lot out of this book! It taught me that we each have a preferred language we use to COMMUNICATE our love and a preferred language for how we want to RECEIVE love as well. Huh? Who knew!

So I was very happy to see the fabulous Marie Forleo talk about it yesterday, which prompted ME to want to share it with YOU! This is juicy stuff, I promise!5-love-languages-fierce-marriage-2P I N this to pinterest

This book was eye-opening. I discovered that my own preferred LOVE language (so cheesy, I know, every time I say that phrase I kinda giggle inside!) is Words of Affirmation. I will take a sweet word from anyone as a sign of love and affection over a gift or even over quality time or hugs (or maybe even SEX!). What?! 🙂

Speak sweet nothings into my ears and I am yours, baby!

Ok, back to seriousness here. This really is an incredibly empowering thing to know about yourself AND about your loved ones! I mean, let’s face it, not having our emotional needs met can cause some real friction and discontent in our relationships that often comes from basic “miscommunication”.

An easy example to demonstrate this point comes from a time when our oldest was about 10 months old. Our marriage definitely went through some growing pains as we learned to navigate parenthood, working, lots of breastfeeding, work travels, sleep deprivation, lack of intimacy…you get my point. Well, I was feeling particularly disconnected from my husband during that time and rather unappreciated for all my work in keeping up our home and being a full-time mom. He was often away for days at a time for work-related trips and I felt pretty lonely at times. Anyway, the point of the story is this. We had a fight over the phone one night while he was in his hotel and I was home feeling sorry for myself. I insinuated that he never thought about me while he was away. And then cried myself to sleep.

Well, boy did he come through!! Big fat diamond bracelet? Nope. Bottle of perfume or a fine painting? Nope. A gift certificate for a massage? Nope, wrong again (although, THAT would have been nice!). François came home with a letter FILLED with all the reasons he loved me and how he was always thinking about me…I mean, this thing was LONG and oh so beautiful. It is, to this day, the most beautiful gift he has ever given me.

You see, when you know how your partner prefers to be “loved”, then you’ll be better able to express your love for him so he receives it in the way that makes him FEEL most loved and appreciated. Same with your kids, your parents, friends, and even colleagues! Marie Forleo, who I mentioned above, knows the LOVE languages of her entire business team so they can support each other in a way that actually resonates with each person. And I am now really looking forward to exploring this LOVE languages thing with my kiddos!!

The only bummer (yes, there is a catch!) is when your partner’s preferred language doesn’t come naturally to you. My partner loves when I do little (and sometimes big) things for him. All my home-making, cooking, etc. The little gestures throughout the day that let him know I have his back. I am thinking of him. Sometimes, I have to force myself to go the extra mile and do that little thing to make him know he is deeply loved. Not because I don’t love him. Mainly because I am also taking care of 2 little ones that need a lot of attention too. But, in the end, if I want my husband to FEEL loved then I know what to do. I have a tool that guides me. And I think that is just awesome!

ANYWAY, the point of this post is to tell you that YOU can now figure out your own LOVE language thanks to the online quiz now available on the 5 love languages site.

DO THIS QUIZ!! Have your partners do it too!! (My kiddos are next on my list!) You won’t regret it. And then share with your loved ones. Heck, you can even share it in the comments here!! I would love to hear what you discover.

This is a such a simple way to have profound insight into your LOVE language (yup, still giggling!) …knowing it can ONLY bring good things to your life. Go for it!!

love and blessings! xo

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