Boundless – My Word for 2014

This year, I have chosen Boundless as my wordThis word holds a promise of infinite possibilities and limitless potential.  It is the word that I want to serve as guide and inspiration for how I want to live, love and walk in this world this year and beyond.

boundlessIt feels like a big word and it both thrills me and scares me with the possibilities.  I am done with living my life within the boundaries and expectations that have been imposed on me and more importantly that I have imposed on myself.  This year, I challenge myself to  live life differently. Boundless.

What will you pick as your theme word for this year?

For more inspiration check out some of these sites:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

NewfoundlandCape Spear LighthouseDuring a recent trip to Newfoundland, we visited Cape Spear – a hauntingly beautiful spot on the most easterly point of North America. Eastern tip of Canada

As I stood high up on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, I was in awe of the power and beauty. It was a cold summer afternoon, the sun hidden by large grey clouds. The brisk ocean breeze carried just a hint of wetness. And as I stood at the base of the lonely lighthouse, lulled by the rhythmic sound of the waves moving across the rocks and the seagulls in the distance calling out to each other, I experienced a sense of peace and stillness. It was only when I walked along the cliff edge footpaths, closer to the ocean and watched the thunderous waves crash against the rocks that I felt the power and danger of the sea. It was both mesmerizing and terrifying.

When we finally made our way back to the car, I saw the signs warning of the danger that I had felt standing near the raging sea. Warning Dangerous coastline

 

For more examples of this week’s theme, visit WP’s Weekly Photo Challenge.

Changing Seasons – The fifth Season.

snowman

In seems like here in Canada we have five seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and the Holiday Season.  The Holiday season starts showing up somewhere in mid-October and gains momentum after Halloween.  It hits full force in early December when mall hours are extended, radio stations play holiday music 24/7 and television stations broadcast sappy holiday movies where everyone lives happily ever after.  Cookie trays and fruit cakes shows up at work and baking frenzies occur at home and Starbucks’ holiday drinks re-appear (Peppermint mocha or eggnog latte anyone?). Employers host holiday teas for their staff (and sometimes even give out bonuses). Family and friends host holiday open houses where there are more goodies and libations to enjoy (calories don’t count during the holidays).  Car roofs loaded with Christmas trees appear on the road and holiday lights light up the dark nights.  For many people, this holiday season culminates during the last weeks of December (and early January for some) with copious amounts of food and gift giving.

Of course, the  aftermath of the season (pounds, bills, broken toys and electronics) lasts so much longer – but who wants to think of those “nasties” while we’re in the throes of the holiday season.  Time enough to think of those things in the long cold nights of Winter.

So in the spirit of the holiday season, I decked out my little tree and have shopped for gifts (although I’m not finished).  I don’t bake but more than make up for my lack of baking by eating the cookies and cakes placed before me and I will not refuse an offered glass of wine or punch.  But mostly, during this holiday season, I am trying to feel the true holiday spirit in my heart and hoping for peace and joy and comfort for everyone near and far.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays….Peace and Joy to all!

This post was inspired by WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – Changing Seasons.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Solitary

Cayo Santa Maria, CubaI always enjoy the sense of solitude I experience when I’m near the ocean. Perhaps it’s the vastness of the sky and water and the apparently uninhabited coastline which all contribute to the perfect conditions for quiet contemplation.

This photo was taken in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba. The beaches on this tiny island are some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen.  The sand is white and the water is turquoise blue. Even during overcast and stormy days, the beach is spectacular.

For more posts on this theme, visit the Daily Post at WordPress – Weekly Photo Challenge.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Everyday Life

urban lifeI was standing at a downtown street corner in an urban Canadian city, waiting to cross the street during a street festival and captured this image.  I wonder about this woman’s everyday life.  Who is she? Where is she going?  I admired the confidence she exuded as she walked.  Most striking – no one around her seemed to notice her.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Wrong

Disco

Friends got together the other night for a party in honour of the Disco Divas that have passed this year – Donna Summer, Whitney Houston and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees.  It was a fabulous night and everyone came dressed in vintage disco fashions.

I loved the disco era. I remember my girl friends and I spending hours in my basement rec room, dancing to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack album, trying to imitate John Travolta and his partner’s dance steps.  When I hear the songs “Stayin Alive,” “Night Fever”, “More than a Woman” and “How Deep is Your Love” it brings me right back to those days during my early adolescence when all that mattered were friends, dancing and laughing.

John Travolta’s black shirt and white suit are iconic to that period – but some of the fashions from that period were just wrong!!.  The clothes worn in the above photograph were found in a local vintage shop.  No one under any circumstances should have ever worn a purple velvet tuxedo shirt.  Do you have any favourite disco fashion memories?

One Lovely Blog Award

A great big thank you to Karen at http://fullcupthirstyspirit.wordpress.com/ for the honour.  It was a thrill to receive this award.  As per the rules of this award, I have to:

  • share who gave me the award and link back to their blog
  • write down 7 random facts about myself
  • give the award to 15 other bloggers and let them know that they have won
  • pop the award on my blog

7 Random Facts about myself:

  • I am a first generation Canadian – my parents were both Italian immigrants.
  • I love books and shows about vampires but I just couldn’t finish reading the Twilight series because the writing was so poor.
  • Shoes are my weakness – (I don’t need to share how many pairs I own).
  • I need to make my bedroom an iPad free zone because I can spend hours reading blogs, social media sites etc.
  • I played soccer for the first time in my 40’s with a team of mostly 20 year-olds and almost died several times – no really! I bounced and rolled across the soccer field when a “child” on the other team checked me and got several soccer balls square in the face….What was I thinking?
  • I feel like I am still a 20-something year old except when I have difficulty getting out of my chair, or bed, or the car because my body creaks and I pass a mirror and realize I have to visit my hairstylist more often to cover the shocking patch of grey hair on the top of my head.
  • My guilty pleasure – watching The Young and the Restless, which I watched for over 35 years.

The bloggers I’m passing on this award to:

http://onethousandsingledays.com/  – a great writer with an incredible life story

http://getwritedowntoit.wordpress.com/ – funny irreverent view of life

http://enjoylifeforonce.wordpress.com/ – inspiring teachings about mindfulness and living life fully

http://wheresmybackpack.com/ – travel inspiration

http://suellewellyn2011.wordpress.com/ – beautiful photos and travel inspiration

http://shortstoriesfromlife.wordpress.com/ – wonderful life stories

http://nomadgrad.com/ – Hilary is simply inspiring, a great writer and adventurer

http://raisingmyrainbow.com/ – we should all be inspired by CJ’s family

http://mimokhairphotography.com/ – fabulous street photography

http://jumpforjoyphotoproject.wordpress.com/ – because it makes me smile

http://chocolatesandraspberries.com/ – fashion inspiration

http://singlein2012.wordpress.com/ – honest personal journal

http://juliachristineglass.com/ 

http://janfanakapan.wordpress.com/

Choose Wellness

I hope others enjoy these blogs as much as I have.

Sunday morning walk in the woods

Butterfly

Sunday morning walks with MOO and our friend A were initially started as a health and weight loss strategy.  Good goals but ultimately these walks have become much more.  These walks have become about connection.   Connection to my friends and family who walk with me, connection to mother earth and all its’ beauty and ultimately connection to myself and my hopes and desires.  Today, walking with my camera helped me practice the art of mindfulness and gave me the opportunity to connect to and capture these simple moments of beauty.

Deer

Happy Canada Day!

Mindfulness Meditation: Watching my loud, messy, wise mind.

Being mindful is hard work and this meditation thing is even harder.  Every class I take inspires me and reminds me of the benefits of meditation and I think I have generally learned to become more mindful, more present in my daily life.  I pause more often to just feel the sun warming me, the wind refreshing me. I more often hear the noises, music and the silence that surrounds me.  I more often notice the texture, colour, smell and taste of food (especially sea salt and dark chocolate covered caramel – yum).   And I am more aware of my thoughts and feelings.  But a consistent meditation practice has repeatedly eluded me.  So I enrolled in another mindfulness meditation course to motivate and inspire my practice.

My wonderful Buddhist meditation teacher Marco Mascarin reminded me to anchor my practice with breath (follow the breath as I sit quietly) and to approach the practice with curiosity and to simply observe my thoughts without judgment.

Teacher: Settle into your chair. Plant your feet firmly on the ground, elongate the spine, rest your hands in your lap.  Close your eyes.  Follow your breath.

Me: Okay, follow my breath. Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Okay, this is working.  I’m following my breath.  I’m meditating.  Oh…My heart is beating pretty strongly. I never noticed that it beats this strongly.  Am I supposed to feel it this strongly?  I don’t think this is normal…. breathe in, breathe out, breathe in …. My heart is still beating pretty strongly.  Is there something wrong with my heart.  Thank goodness that my doctor booked that  EKG for me later this week for that other problem. No I’m sure its fine.  These are just thoughts, observe the thoughts, follow the breath….

What did Marco say to remember … oh yeah….the body is like a mountain, the breath is like the wind and the mind is like space.   The mind is like space, the mind is like space, breathe.

What’s that noise outside the room? It sounds like a cart being pushed through the lobby.  It think it’s the caterer’s cart. I wonder what they’re serving for our break. Maybe something with chocolate.  Don’t think about food, you’re supposed to be meditating. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out,..mind like space…observe the thoughts and let them float away on the clouds….

Oh Oh….I think I’m getting another hot flash.  Oh sh*#! Not now.  Okay, what am I supposed to do.  Just notice.  I’m noticing that the heat is starting in my abdomen and chest and rising to my head.  My head feels like’s going to explode.  Thank goodness everyone else has their eyes closed they can’t see the sweat running down my face.  Can I strip off my clothes mindfully.  Would anyone notice if I stripped down to my bra and panties. Don’t strip. Don’t strip! DON’T STRIP! Just observe the hot flash. It will pass.  Sure it will pass after my head has exploded and my brains are spread all over the other people meditating.  My teachers won’t like that….No judgment.  Simply approach thoughts with curiosity.  Follow the breath. Okay I didn’t strip and I think my hot flash is subsiding. This is good. This is progress, I’m still meditating.  Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out….

This would make a good blog post.  Hmmm… what would the title be.  No no no…don’t think about this now.  I’m meditating now.  My mind is like space. Calling the post mindfulness meditation would be boring.  But what else can I call it?  Hmm…Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out….I really like this idea for a blog post.  Maybe I can call it my messy mind but that sounds judgmental. We’re not supposed to judge, just observe.  Maybe ‘messy’ doesn’t have to be negative.  Messy is just a descriptor.  It isn’t negative is it?  Oh oh, Remember.  I’m meditating… Watch my thoughts.  Follow my breath…. Boy these thoughts take up a lot of space in my head… I know, I can call this “Mindfulness Meditation: Watching my loud, messy wise mind.”  I think that’s a good title…Breathe in… breathe out….

Teacher:  Slowly bring yourself back to the room and when you are ready slowly open your eyes.

Me:  Wow, I just meditated for 15 minutes. This is good.  I can do this tomorrow…..