Choose Discovery Through Pain.....


"Pain shapes a woman into a warrior." - R.H. Sin

It's a sunny Dad's Day and I'm lounging in the sunshine on the back deck, thinking how much Dad would have loved this day. It's the perfect day for a road trip to the lake, taking the back roads, in search of the sandy beaches of Lake Huron. Instead of being at the lake, I'm on my deck, reading quite a variety of material...everything from the Summer 2018 Issue of Magnolia Journal to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Joanna Gaines writes about 'A Time to be Playful' and the importance of stepping outside of ones comfort zone, to be curious, to choose discovery. If there was one thing my Dad was was curious. We could never take the same route twice on our road trips and he never cared that it took an extra few minutes to get somewhere, as long as we took the scenic route. Joanna writes about something similar in this issue of Magnolia as well (I don't want to give it all away, but let's just say Chip loves a good 'scenic route' too).

Mark Manson writes about happiness coming from solving problems. He states, "Don't hope for a life without problems. Instead, hope for a life full of good problems."

"Our problems birth our happiness."

Perhaps one of my favourite lines yet in the book states, "What determines your success isn't, 'What do you want to enjoy?' The relevant question is, 'What pain do you want to sustain?' The path to happiness is a path full of shit-heaps and shame."

I never would have thought that by happy accident, I'd be able to draw a comparison between these two VERY different sets of reading material, but....I sure did...and reminded myself of a very valuable lesson along the way.

Let's use the analogy of learning to drive a standard vehicle for instance. My Dad, the oh so patient man that he was, taught me how to drive a standard shortly after I turned 16. Talk about stepping outside my comfort zone, choosing discovery and the 'birth of problems'. I honestly, to this day, don't know how I didn't end up dropping the transmission right out of the truck as it shuddered and shook across the field Dad was teaching me the art of 'driving a stick' in. Yes...a field...not the road....a field. Through a few tears and frustrated comments in a raised tone (both by yours truly), Dad remained calm, cool and collected, guiding me through this unknown activity to a word of discovery that is driving a manual transmission vehicle. To this day, I still get nervous when I get behind the wheel of a vehicle with a stick shift, but, I quickly think back to those days with Dad and his soothing tone and coaching and away I go. This was a 'good problem' to have (learning how to drive a standard) and yes, it has allowed me a great deal of happiness, even with the 'sustained pain' of the first time I stall after not having driven one for a while.

This may be a fairly 'simple' analogy, but as Mr. Manson also states, "Who you are is defined by what you're willing to struggle for." "Our struggles determine our successes." These two sentences bring some pretty hefty 'AH HA' moments to mind for me....

What does success truly mean to me and how much pain and struggle am I willing to bring into my life and muddle through (and potentially sustain) in order to achieve that success? A new challenge or goal can be a very scary and daunting thing to face, but again, if I truly do want it, I must be prepared for a certain amount (and sometimes a lot) of pain. Sometimes life events occur that are out of our control, such as the passing of a loved one, and all the pain and struggle that goes along with that and how we maneuver through that situation, can in fact lead us to happiness again, along with many lessons learned and a deeper sense of resilience to face the next unknown or struggle. "To be happy we need something to solve. Happiness is therefore a form of action; it's an activity, not something passively bestowed upon you." Our happiness needs to include the process to our desired outcome, not just the outcome. At times, the process can seem far from happy and we will experience pain, but again, the pain is part of the process and we must embrace that pain to reach out desired outcome.

I couldn't agree more with this by Mr. Manson..."Our problems birth our happiness, along with slightly better, slightly upgraded problems. See: it's a never-ending upward spiral. And if you think at any point you're allowed to stop climbing, I'm afraid you're missing the point. Because the joy is in the climb itself."

Today was a day filled with mixed emotions, "ah ha' moments, great reading and some key take aways to help me move forward.

First and foremost, choose discovery and keep climbing. As I get older, I see myself trending towards the known and comfortable....I'm not doing myself any favours by doing that because secondly, in order to continue on the ever evolving journey of happiness, I must be willing to experience and embrace pain, to continue to learn and grow and better myself. I'm prepared to 'struggle' for many things, but one thing I have realized over the past few years, what I struggle for or through, had to be of the utmost importance to me and not anyone else. I must put myself and my needs first in these 'struggles' to truly reap the benefits of the outcome. 

I cannot recommend both of these reads enough, though for very different, but yet similar reasons. I hope you can find some time this week or in the weeks to come to pick up a book or magazine that inspires you like these have inspired me.

I'll leave you with of my favourite quotes about the formation of a warrior...

"The women whom I love and admire for their strength and grace, did not get that way because shit worked out. They got that way because shit went wrong and they handled it. They handled it in a thousand different ways, on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Those women are my superheroes." Elizabeth Gilbert






5 Things That Make Me Happy!

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What makes you happy?! How do you get the most out of your life!?

I made my list and these are 5 simple things that I am already doing that make me the most happy in my day-to-day living (and thankfully, I didn't have to do too much adjusting):

1. Get Outdoors

2. Spend Time with Gal Pals..and Guy Pals

3. Get Active

  • I like to mix this with being outdoors as often as possible. Whether it's hitting the slopes, taking to the trails for a hike, walking Charlie or hitting the links for a round of golf, I really enjoy being active. Being active is also another way to spend time with friends. We have an annual Ski Bunny Weekend that lets us get together, get caught up and get active all in one weekend. Getting more active is something I do need to adjust....I need to add more activity into my life. I'm going to be starting a new exercise class (that I can't wait to try) and I have been walking in the evenings with the goal of walking 5km per day as often as possible (with the end goal of jogging 5km at least 3 times per week by my birthday).

4. Try Something New

  • Whether it's a new restaurant, a new exercise class or a new recipe, I truly believe that being open to trying new things really does allow for ever evolving happiness. It's so easy to get stuck in a rut so when you find yourself feeling like that, why not grab a gal pal and try that new resto in town (like I did by heading to the Bread Bar in Guelph) or challenge yourself with a different workout. I appreciate that change can be difficult, but think of these things as new experiences, new adventures and you just never know what new activity, food, person etc you may fall in love with!

5. Always Have Fresh Flowers In Your Home

  • Something as simple as fresh flowers (whether it be the $10 grocery store bouquet or a $60 bunch from a local flower shop) always brings a smile to my face as I walk in the door after a days work or when I wake up to them in the morning. It's a simple and relatively inexpensive way (ie. $10/wk) to bring colour and cheer into your home.

These are all things that bring happiness to my life, but as we all know, sometimes life gets away from us and these things somehow get moved down on the priorities list (which in turn can have unhappy consequences). In order to ensure what makes you happy is ever present in your life, this is one of my favourite things to do to always keep reminding myself of this:

  • Put it in your calendar!! Yes, schedule those weekend plans with friends well in advance. This gives you something to look forward to and ensures it happens. The same goes for things like workouts/physical activity. It's so easy to come home at the end of the day, plop on the couch and call it a night. If I have something written in my calendar, it holds me accountable to it and I'm MUCH more likely to get my butt off the couch and go for that walk. 

I recommend making this list of 5 'things' (or 10 things) for all aspects of your life (ie. your career, your family, life in general etc) and see how these lists either flow together or compliment each other. Being happy doesn't have to take a lot of money or be difficult. It just takes time to let yourself realize what these 'things' are that get you to your happy place and sustaining them so you maintain that level of happiness you deserve!


Promises to Myself!

I truly do Believe this.

As many wonderful days that my life has had in the past 35 years, I really do think that some of the best days are yet to come.

I also Believe that we create the lives we lead...they just don't happen.

We create our happiness, our successes, our fun....and we also create our sadness, our failures and the not so fun moments. We need to find a balance....happiness and success are what we strive for but in order to really appreciate and experience happiness, we need to also experience sadness and failure as we learn from these and in turn, we therefore increase and maintain the positives in our lives.

My promises to myself for 2015 (not resolutions) include a lot of things I'm already doing fairly well, but also some that I want to improve on. If I had to choose a word for 2015 that will keep me focuses on these promises, it would have to be BELIEVE! This word has been pivotal in my life over the past few years (heck, I have it tattooed on my foot) and it sure has gotten me through some tough times but has also reaffirmed my thoughts and feelings in the great times.

For 2015, I Believe.......

For 2015, I Promise myself.....

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Again, some of these promises I am already doing and want to continue, while there are some I want to improve on and also add into the mix.

Some I would like to improve on are:

  • Eat better.
  • Drink Water (I realllly need to increase my water intake).
  • Talk Less. Listen More.
  • Experience Life. (to me, this means finding balance between Needs vs Wants; living more fully with fewer `things` and having more experiences that result in amazing memories!)

Some I want to do more of are:

  • Read books.
  • Adventure.
  • Feel deeper.

And of course..... BE HAPPY! Like I mentioned above, I Believe we create our own Happiness. Don`t get me wrong....I`m uber happy and have very few concerns with life at the moment...but...(and this is a good but)....I want more! More Happiness! I want more and am willing to do what it takes to make this happen....

I honestly think that for me, simplifying life will lead to even more happiness. This is something I`ll be `testing`through 2015....Simple things like eating better, listening more, going on adventures can only add positives to my life, without adding any type of complication or negativity. Let`s call it a `back to basics`approach.

With this approach, along with Believing that happiness can and will be created through how I choose to live my life, getting back to basics, in every aspect of being, is something I am really looking forward to! I can`t help but think (and Believe) that through Simplicity and identifying Needs vs Wants, life will almost automatically improve in a number of ways (ie. emotional, health, financial etc).

Create that life you have always wish existed for you.... The best days of our lives truly are still ahead of us....

Cheers to 2015! Cheers to Promises to Myself! Cheers to Believing! Cheers to Simplicity!