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






What's On Your Heart?

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I keep going back to last months Magnolia magazine for many reasons, but I keep being drawn to one article in particular, the one titled "On Mentoring - Generational Wisdom".

We all need a mentor or mentors in our lives and this article articulates why. Its doesn't have to be the 'big things', but the small gestures offered between both the mentor and 'mentoree' that help each individual grow and mature to be the best they can be. The relationship between these two gentlemen in the article really does seem to be a 'once in a lifetime' experience and from their words, it truly resonates how much they mean to each other. 

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Have you ever had a first meeting like Poppa describes above? I've been lucky enough to have had a handful of these and for every person that this has occurred with, I'm still friends with and look up to and admire them. You can tell from his words just how important taking on a role of being a mentor has been in his life and after decades of support and daily conversations, I can only imagine how special the bond is between these two men. Jerry uses words such as 'encouragement' and 'priceless' to describe their relationship and you can tangibly feel/sense how much he looks forward to those 8am conversations...

Every word of this article hit home to me and the warmth and genuine respect for the human relationship warmed my heart...but.... one phrase really, really stuck out and I'm going to begin to use it in my everyday life, as I feel it is so important on so many levels and for so many reasons....

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"What's on your heart for the day ahead?"


He doesn't ask "what's on your mind?", but instead, "what's on your heart?". This warms my heart and soul to the core as it's probably one of the most important questions we can ask those we care about to truly 'check in' and get a gauge on where both their mind and heart stands for the day ahead. It pushes the respondent to 'dig deep' and potentially bring difficult or challenging feelings to the surface that could be a huge barrier for their day and even weeks ahead. I realize that this isn't a question we can just ask anyone, at least I would feel more comfortable asking this to someone I had a more established relationship with, but with that being said, I would feel comfortable asking someone I didn't quite as well if I sensed the person I was in conversation with was struggling with their day and was having difficulties finding the words to explain their thoughts/feelings. Again, it wouldn't be in every situation like that that I may come across...I'd have to 'go with my gut'...but it's a phrase that could also help build or take a relationship to the next level, as it's a question that requires some true soul searching and self awareness and being able to open up to the person asking you this requires a level of trust and understanding you would not find in every relationship in your life.

We're coming into a time of year that can be emotionally and mentally challenging for a number of people for a number of reasons. Loved ones and those we care about (including ourselves) can find the hustle and bustle and sentiment of the Christmas season to be too much at times and when we sense that occurring, why not offer to go get a coffee, ask that person about their day and dive into 'what's on their heart' at that moment. 

I truly believe that the words 'mentor' and 'friend' can be used interchangeably as both terms show a level of caring towards the other person in the relationship, for their overall well being and growth. This holiday season, why not challenge yourself to be that 'priceless' person and invest time in those you hold close to your heart and at the same time, if you feel you need a little extra encouragement and support, don't be afraid to tell someone close to you, what's on your heart too....