Tag Archives: love

Portrait of Lotte

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A time-lapsed video of one man’s daughter from birth to Age 14 – all in only 4 minutes. As parents, we don’t need a reminder that changes in our children happen fast. Very often, far too fast. I thought this was a beautiful video and its existence is a testament to one father’s great love for his child. The importance and relevance of her development and evolution shines through. Well done!

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…and I go to sleep counting my blessings.

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▶ White Christmas Count your Blessings – YouTube.

As I lay me down to sleep, I peep cautiously out of one eye to see if my son has his eyes closed yet. He used to be infamous for his poor sleep, but he is 5 and a half now. All grown up and a great sleeper. He has placed himself so that his head is on the same pillow as mine and his nose is only 2 inches away, his breath warm on my chin. His eyes are closed but I know his breathing patterns and he is not asleep yet, or at least not deep enough for me to sneak away.

I have time to let my mind wander and so it will. I think about this week of holidays, family time and celebration. I have nothing to complain about. I have no wants. No needs. My biggest problem this week is embarrassing at best: deciding whether to switch from an iphone to a Samsung. Seriously pathetic.

So I let my mind wander to gratitude, where I know I can always come away feeling refreshed and light. To reach out and embrace my children. To have them want to cuddle and play with me. To have a husband who is engaged, honest, and fun to be with. To have a home that is warm and safe. To go to work and use my skills to help others. These are my Christmas gifts. This is my joy. I allow the soft hush of this realization to resonate and bring a peace to my mind.

Christmas as we know it today has become a reminder of what I do not need. I give thanks for all the marketing and lights and bells and whistles as they blare out a message: “If you are not enough, then we can provide. We have everything you need!” And I laugh at the ridiculousness of the idea. Didn’t we grow up watching the Grinch learn this very lesson every single year, trying to stuff joy and love into bags and steal it? So then, even if we know it in our hearts to be true, we may not be ready to become it. To live it. To allow the message to seep in, take root and grow, changing us permanently as it thrives.

I remember the smile on the Grinch and his heart swelling in anticipation. I lay there and count my blessings as I count my son’s tiny breaths. One by one, smiling as they come.

CB

Filling the Void

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Today is Black Friday. A day of great deals. Fantastic shopping. A wonderfully cheap way to fill your life full of stuff. Stuff you likely don’t need. Stuff you would almost always be able to survive without. What I would really like to see is a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale for things that really mattered. 50% off a good hug! Save $30 on 30 minutes of meaningful conversation! B.O.G.O. pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks if you bring in a grandparent! A Half-price sleigh-ride up to visit my father before Christmas. Get today’s Groupon! – The chance to have all my immediately family in the same room for Christmas dinner with no arguments! (okay, that was pushing it). But seriously, this year I don’t want anymore stuff. I want people and talking and visits and joy.

This season has historically been consistent at making me nostalgic and this year is no exception. As I write out names on Christmas cards, I am remembering what has been lost and what has been gained. For the gains I am forever thankful. Yet, important people are missing and their vacancy leaves this void that I dance around every day. Like a dent in the Gyproc of the wall in the hallway. I know it is there. I see it very day and yet I look away to deal with other pressing matters.

So what can I fill this void with? Errands and tasks, work and more work. Stuff and more stuff. If I keep busy enough, any voids will recede and becomes less. But I don’t want to look away anymore. I want to see this year. I want to expose the flaws and examine them in full, blinding light. What needs to be done? What needs to be fixed? How do I make it whole? I believe I must fill this space with people. My people. The positive, bright twinkling lights of my friends and family. I know this is the truth but yet somehow I tend to get lost in the fray of everyday living. What are my excuses? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours!

Tasks, errands and work. Ah the almighty dollar! We work to make money to survive, right? For some this is absolutely true. Yet for others, work becomes a barrier to actually living the life they long for. Is there ever enough? Do we not just stretch that much further beyond our means once we obtain enough? I have blogged before about searching for years to find someone to share a life with and then spending every day separated from them while we are at work desperately trying to afford this ‘dream’ life together. Then we create little people and we end up scheduling their little lives until again we have lost each other. In a flash, my life is almost over and I can only ask for one thing. More time.

But how do we get time if it can’t be found on eBay or Amazon? Surely it is too difficult to obtain. A chunk of time for a steal of a deal! So let me tell you a secret I have learned about time this year. It can be shifted. A little to the left or a wee nudge to the right is all it takes. Make a window and emblazon it with a gold label bearing such authority that you cannot ignore its importance. ‘LIFE’ ‘TIME’ or ‘LOVE’ ! Take your pick of mine or choose your own, after all it is YOUR life. Shift your meetings and your readings and your shopping and your appointments until you have a void. And then fill that void with something big. Someone awesome. Fill it with memories that will always be with you. Because that big screen TV or that awesome pair of boots won’t be with you forever. Trust me, they are not there with when you go and even if they are, you will no longer care about them.

So I put it to you on this day ear-marked for great shopping. Write down your list before you get started. What do you really want this year for you? What do you need down to the core of your soul to survive? Who is missing that you can find? Take a few minutes and decide how you will fill the void. Happy shopping!

CB

 

“Balance and fall prevention for Seniors”

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Any style, any time. Photo: artandsoulcanada.com

Any style, any time.
Photo: artandsoulcanada.com

I am back in the dance studio again. There are not many places in this world that I have this reaction to. When I walk into a dance studio, I feel alive. I feel nervous, light, eager, whole and centered. It doesn’t matter what kind of class it is. Dance is dance. The expression of what I feel through my body, be it celebratory, heart-breaking or passionate. It is life.

My return to the studio is taking place in an adult contemporary class. Our weekly class routine consists of an intense, mommy-chub-busting warm up followed by jumps and turns across the floor and then choreography. I couldn’t pick a favorite moment if I tried.

I am, however, experiencing the disappointment of a new inability to do endless amounts of turns across the floor. I used to be able to keep going forever. ‘Turn and turn and, turn-and-turn-and-turn and… you know the type. Spotting the wall. Crisp and perfect.

So imagine my great annoyance to find some bizarre spinning sensation at the end of the room to greet me. Holy crap! I have to fight to stay upright. Kind of like a good night out that was side-swiped by a wayward friend pushing the tequila shots. The happy moment is gone and WHAMO!  You’re left trying to keep it together and not embarrass yourself. The only saving grace in my situation was that I was apparently not alone. The other ‘adult’ dancers were feeling it too. Being all ladies and all mothers we pondered: Is this some cruel postpartum phenomenon or is it non-gender biased?

A detail from an anecdote of my husband’s glimmers in my mind. Something about a ride at the local fair that he took our 5-year-old on and almost tossed his lunch with all the spinning. So maybe this isn’t just a female affliction? 

I used our great accomplice Google to search this new, adult-onset dizziness and was greeted by a website with the heading “Balance and Fall Prevention for Seniors.” Oh nice. Right. Well I suppose that is the extreme case of what I am experiencing. Although I am far from a senior just yet.  But that heading does get me thinking about the mind and the body disconnection that begin as we age or are stricken with a disability.

I can’t help but think that if I were to practice enough, doing turns again and again, that this might improve. Isn’t there some inner-ear muscle that I can pump to give me super-spinning powers again? But that’s very unlikely. And so , I am left with an experience that is reminiscent of old days, yet subtly changed forever. But I am not swayed. Not even an inch. My physical being may not be as pristine, but my mental strength has never been so tenacious. In the realm of dance, particularly contemporary, emotional maturity can be fortifying. At age 14, my heart was relatively unclouded. It had not yet experienced great love and fear, disappointment and shame. I had not yet known immense joy or sadness.

How my heart feels when I dance Source: balletnews.co.uk Photo by Jason Trozer. Northern Ballet dancer Hannah Bateman

How my heart feels when I dance
Source: balletnews.co.uk
Photo by Jason Trozer. Northern Ballet dancer Hannah Bateman

So while I may battle with small challenges of the physical, my heart brings more power to the floor than ever before. A tiny fleck of gray on my canvas, hidden by otherwise radiant color. True art must come from the heart and as long as my body is willing I will write it a love letter every week to remind it… “Dear Body, Keep up! There is so much more to come”.

CB

Dear Momma,

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Dear Momma, 

I love it when you look at me. I love to see your face. When you hold my hand to walk down the street, I feel strong and safe and happy. 

But sometimes Momma, you make me sad.

The times you walk ahead without me. I can see you but you can not see me. What if I fall?  Will you see me then? Will you know? Will I be alone?

I love you most in the world Momma. If I could I would never let you go.

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My son just started kindergarten and I have a newly widened social circle. With that becomes new experiences, some good, some bad. Of the things that I noticed, one was a habit that a few parents have when they pick up their children from school. They collect them from their class and then proceed to turn their back and walk in front of them to their vehicles or homes. They seem to expect the children to just follow them like ducklings. Survival of the fittest?

So, I am really interested in opinion on this subject. Are parents just distracted and get ahead of their kids without realizing it? Do you really trust them to just follow you? (I am referring to young ones here…like ages 3-6). Do you have such disinterest in your children that you don’t want to see there faces and speak to them up close? Are you not aware of the myriad of teachable moments that can occur when you walk with your children?

Of course, we see this behaviour in many animals: ducks, horses and elephants to name a few. But aren’t we different? We have an awareness of our own mortality that sets us apart from animals. So I am curious about this behaviour. What drives it? What reinforces it? To me, it seems to disregard the child. A turning away with disinterest.

Either way it makes me sad. So if I feel that way, I would imagine the children in question are as much or more disheartened by the practice.

CB

Pride – In the Name of Love

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Hold on tight, or better yet….let go. You are worthy of this and so much more.

Hold on tight, or better yet….let go. You are worthy of this and so much more.

It seems like it takes an entire lifetime to break some emotional and behavioural patterns. Even when I think I have one beat, it rears its ugly head merely a week later. This time around it is pride that has tripped me up yet again. ( I am defining pride as a sense of dignity or value in this post, not as the satisfaction of achievement.) To keep a sense of my own value or worth is essential. What am I if I am not worthy? I would be unworthy… and I have come very far in 20 years to a place of knowing that I am worthy of love. I am enough. This is me. Take it or leave it baby.

So to place myself out there, vulnerable and exposed is still so very challenging. Less so with friends, acquaintances or strangers since I am sure now of who I am. Interestingly, it is so much more challenging to speak from my heart with the people that mean the most to me. Why? Because to lose them, to lose their love, would be crushing. I could not bear it. I fear I would never recover.

I can hear the words that I want to say. I repeat them in my head again and again, hoping desperately that the innervation of my vocal cords, tongue and jaw will just take command and spill out what I cannot. Around and around they swirl like a mantra and just as I feel like I will overcome it the bricks from the wall that I thought I had slain fly together from out of nowhere, lodging together, tight at the seams and like that… it is done. The block is back. Frack. We’re back to this. *sigh*. Maybe next time I will be strong enough.

So what is it that I am so incapable of saying? What terrifies me so much that it seals my lips tight? Admitting that I need someone. Admitting that I love someone so much that to be without them would leave me lost. I live in fear of full celebration of the joys of love, simply because if I acknowledge what I have, it is that much more painful to lose it.

So there it is. Simply put but undeniably complicated. How many of us have great things in our lives? Do you fully embrace and celebrate them, or do you also hold back? How many of us have walked away from amazing opportunities because we feel that if we commit entirely and put ourselves ‘out there’ that there will be so much more to lose? You may not even recognize that you are making the decision to hold back. It can be instinct. Habit. Self-protection.

How do we get there? How do we push through the fear of loss of our sense of worth in those relationships that we hold so dear? I can only see a path of practice taking me to my ultimate goal. The only way to create new neural pathways and thus new behaviours is to do the work. SO back to the front lines I go, battling demons whose familiarity is stifling. Yet I brandish new hope against them, fighting every day for what is mine.

CB

Cleaning house – Love on the run!

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I was at work the other day and marvelling at the sparkly rings on a co-workers fingers. I asked her how she got them to look so great and got an appropriate answer. She cleaned them! I looked down at my own band and engagement ring and thought, “Good God!”. It has been over 5 years since I have cleaned my rings. No wonder they look so dull and lifeless!!

Well…if that isn’t a metaphor for relationships smacking me right in the face, then I don’t what is! Relationships take work….consistent, small efforts and attempts at maintenence to keep them functional and happy. If you let 5 years go by, you will look up and find a roomate. No sparkle. No zip. No little flutters in your chest just by looking at them.

If you have children, then you know exactly what I mean. You have likely lost all your couple time to spending great family moments together.  Don’t get me wrong! Family time is amazing and essential but so is couple time. You two were the foundation. A strong family cannot stand on shaky ground!

American business philosopher Jim Rohn refers to this as ‘tending your garden’ in his book ‘Twelve Pillars’. If left  to itself, the ‘garden’ will be run over by weeds. A relationship that gets a little attention every day will flourish.

SO what do we do to keep the fire alive (so to speak)? I have a few suggestions but I would LOVE to hear yours in the comments below! Let’s share our tips on keeping love long-lasting and fresh in our hectic lives.

  1. Touch each other often – This goes hand in hand with my attempts at living life  authentically by working on connection and listening but goes one step further. It is really about moving connection to the physical level. Just by touching an arm, a hand, brushing against each other while you make P,B & J sandwiches (ah, the romance!) and you will be surprised at the energy it creates throughout the day.
  2. Make the time – Put down the remote, put down the broom and back away from the iPad. I know it is hard because we are all so tired out and want to veg out on autopilot, but you need to set a time for you both to be together. Get a sitter or keep the sacred post-bedtime hour to yourselves. An hour a day is a tiny commitment for the love of your life.
  3. Share your dreams, or just your ice cream –What are your big goals? Where do you want to be in 10 years. What flavor of Menchie’s fro-yo did you have today? What did you have for lunch? The point is…just talk to each other! Keep the conversation going…keep the connection. If you don’t look interested, you probably aren’t. Pop out for a ‘quickie’ to get dessert and hold hands while you ponder preschool options. You will never regret taking time for each other. ‘Discipline weighs ounces, regret weighs tons’ – Jim Rohn