February 2018

It’s Now or Never!

Colleen and Michael Rock Success_comes

The woman in this picture is Colleen Sillito. I met Colleen in junior high; we ran track together. In October of 2015, Colleen was killed in her driveway by an ex-boyfriend. The world lost an artist, a musician, a loving, altruistic, kind, funny, insightful, mother of five, and lover of one of the most amazing men I’ve ever met, Michael Cameron. I’d not been in contact with Colleen for years when she died, but through Michael I came to know her as an adult and to appreciate her belief that one should live with no regrets so that, at the end of the day, whenever that is, there are no “what ifs?” to haunt us.

Maybe it is because I am just one year and one month from turning 50, but my own mortality is suddenly very present in my mind. I find myself thinking about all the things I still want to do. It’s not that I haven’t done things; I finished bucket list #1 in 2010. However, I’ve long preached to my students and to others that everyone has a purpose. I believe that our passions direct us to our gifts and our gifts direct us to our purposes. So I know there are more things to do–that I’m meant to do– and I’m on the hunt for them.

One of my gifts, simple though it may seem, is that I am a little less likely than the average bear to let an idea pass through my mind and slip away unnoticed. That is not to say that all of my ideas are good ones; they are not, of course. But I am a little more likely to say, “let’s try this” than others. What this means is that I listen to  my gut and follow its lead more often than not. Lately, my gut has been talking nonstop and encouraging me to take on some new challenges. I’m a bit overwhelmed, to tell the truth, by the number of ideas that are flooding my mind, all of which are exciting to me. My life feels like a huge adventure that is about to unfold and I am both excited and nervous. Those two emotions are a powerful combination! They make fecund terrain for moments of metamorphoses.

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One of the reasons I started this blog was so I could share the ideas and possibilities that I’m pondering and exploring. For example, becoming a wedding officiant, working on a life coaching course with my friend and mentor Kelley Moore of  See Your Possibilities, and finding opportunities for additional streams of income that I can earn from home to support my horse showing habit and passion. As the song goes, “This is my life. It’s now or never. I ain’t going to live forever. I just want to live while I’m alive.” So I’m alive and I’m living and I’m ready to see–no, I’m ready to decide– what today and tomorrow and the rest of the future holds.

What about you?  Has your “now or never” shown up and begged to be acknowledged? Are you ignoring it or paying close attention? And are you ready to join me in exploring the next stage of this crazy journey we’re on?

First Cup

So here it goes–my first blog post, or letter from the coffee shop. I’ve had a couple of other blogs before, but I didn’t keep them going.  This one is different. It is “set” in the framework of a coffee-house. I LOVE coffee houses. I’m talking about ones like Central Perk on Friends or, my very favorite of all time, Rhino, which is in Shreveport, Louisiana, a mere 90 minutes from my house. Heck, I might as well give them an unsolicited plug and post a link because this place is definitely worth visiting. It’s cosy, the various coffee drinks are awesome, and it simply invites lingering for long periods of time. Until about 14 months ago, there was no such place in the town where I live–a college town, if you can believe it, with no real coffee-house. Crazy!

I don’t know why I am so enamored of coffee houses. I guess it is because they speak comfort to me and I’m a creature of comfort. Homey spaces suit my introverted nature perfectly and so I seek them out. I love the smell of coffee and just the feeling of a big cup or mug of strong, black coffee in my hand drops my blood pressure by many points I am sure.

The time I spend in such spaces is part of my self-care. I’m big on self-care. What is more important? If I don’t put my oxygen mask on, I’m no good to anyone else. So, a cup of something warm and comforting, a book or notebook, and a pen in a weloming space are the best medicine for me when life gets crazy. I hope you enjoy reading my letters from the coffee shop. 

I appreciate you. 

Why I Love Coffee, Sunsets, Sunrises, and Mornings

I grew up in a small town, Port Elgin, on the shores of Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada. Legend has it that National Geographic once declared Port Elgin’s sunsets as the second best outside of Hawaii. Most people from the town claim this honor though I have yet to meet anyone who has ever laid eyes on the article. It hardly matters, though. The town’s sunsets are unbelievably stunning. Even locals turn out in droves on the beach in the summer to stroll on the breakwalls and watch the sunset. I think one should never miss a sunset. It’s not like you can open a drawer and pull one out any time you want.

But sunrises…they’re pretty special too. I am a morning person and the best part of the morning is watching the sun rise. Lately, my daily routine changed drastically. My significant other (s.o. hereafter) has been away for most of the month staying with one of his sons while his ex-wife was with their youngest child in Mexico at Hope4Cancer, which is an alternative treatment facility. While he’s been gone I have been waking up at 3:00–wide eyed and ready to go.

Normally I get up at 4;00 to attend a 5:00 a.m. Crossfit class in town. So getting up early isn’t exactly foreign to me. Getting up at 3:00, however, seems a bit ridiculous. Still, there doesn’t seem much point in fighting it so I use the time to do things that get lost in the evening or put off when I have tomorrowitis. The floor gets an extra sweep, an extra load of laundry makes its way into the machine, I prep extra thoroughly for my classes, and so on. 

It turns out that I like getting up that early. It feels like finding a few extra hours in the day. The only problem is that I am pooped by 2:00 p.m. That’s an easy fix if I remember to go to bed early.

As a person who has lived with depression for some time, I love waking up excited about the day, feeling eager to get out of bed and start living. Sunrises are such fantastic moments of optimism. They’re about new beginnings and the unknown and freshness. Getting up super early and witnessing the sunrise with a huge mug of coffee in hand is kind of like having a secret meeting with a friend who shows up each morning to remind me that it’s a new day with no mistakes in it yet.

I’ve missed my s.o. while he’s been away. At the same time, I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to reacquaint myself with the quietness of the “before everyone else is awake” part of the day.

Such opportunities for quiet reflection and solitude are so rare. Where do you find yours?