Fear not

What is it they say? “The only thing to fear is fear itself”…
Ironically, fear is one of the biggest causes of failure. Failing to live life to its fullest, failing to try new things, failing to pursue dreams, or to love, even failing at the simple concept of being content/happy… We sometimes allow fear to stop us in our tracks, to paralyze us. And yet, by not risking what we fear, we risk not getting whatever it is that we allow fear to stop us from experiencing.

Fear less pursuit of passion

Fear has a useful place, but it’s generally an overactive instinct. Yes, we can better protect ourselves from life-threatening situations when we listen to our fears. But what place does that really have in trying new things that will allow for growth? It prevents us from learning and developing if we let it stop us from experiencing things with unknown outcomes.

I have been through a lot of painful experiences in my personal, family and work lives. But listening to my fears would only have served to stop me from expanding my knowledge and the depth of feeling that life can bring us.

I have learned a lot about living in the moment and the biggest fear I have today is that I will have regrets. There are few choices I regret making and experiencing. However, I have a few that I regret not making, or having said no to.

One of the biggest dreams I have had is to be self-employed. I have explored it so many times and ways, and I have even taken a few steps toward this dream. What has stopped me, is the fear of failing. Here I am failing to pursue my dreams, because I am afraid it won’t workout. Yet, if I never take the plunge, it never will work.

So, once again I began the process of evaluating my dreams, goals and current situation. As usual I have come to the same conclusion. I will never know until I try if I have it in me to make a life doing what I love. I’ve yet to figure out what steps I am able to take towards my dream, but I know that I will never change where I am at, if I keep doing what I am doing.

I have been soaking up resources that encourage the creative spirit, that provide tools for moving forward, and yet here I sit. Not quite capable of stepping outside the box…

There are reminders everywhere around me that life is short, that we have no idea what tomorrow will bring, or if it will come at all: Memories of my mother whose life ended far too early; Stories of lives changed abruptly because of apocalyptic wildfires.

We have right now, this moment – to live. And I want to live with intention. I want to spend everyday knowing that what I am making the time for is valuable to me. That I am doing what I love or moving towards those things that matter to me in the actions that I take everyday…

Can you say the same?

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I ain’t Settling

Something I can’t stop asking myself… what if? what if this is not my intended path? what if all of this is just a stepping stone? what if I am holding myself back? what if I never find out? what if I am just having a case of the grass is greener? what if I wait it out?
Then I wonder… will I ever? Will I ever feel like I know? Will I ever stop wondering? Will I ever be satisfied?
How do I know? I could go with the feeling of restless, annoyance, exasperation… or I could be patient and see what happens. Maybe it will all sort itself out, if I just wait… But I have never believed in fate happening TO you. I have always believed in making your own fate.
I am faced, yet again with the same questions. And in my mind, if it keeps coming up, then I have been making the wrong choice.
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It really doesn’t matter what aspect of life I look at. Work, recreation, family, love, always the same is true – life is too short to settle, and only one person can make my dreams come true.

I ain’t Settling… ;)

 

I hope you know who you are.

Who am I to say that I know? I don’t know today from tomorrow, or even yesterday most of the time. One day bleeding into the next while I trudge along trying to live in the moment but feeling much more like I’m barely surviving.

What does my life consist of? Work, mom’s taxi service duty, cooking, cleaning, attempting to organize our home piece by piece, a bunch of text messages, the odd phone call, a little social media networking (far removed from more recent days’ activities, much less time than I’d like connecting with my girlies, and a few really great moments with someone special… I’m not complaining.

It’s not a bad life. I’m just tired. And honestly, I look forward to the day that I am actually looking for something to do… photography, reading and writing have all taken a backseat, even my social media presence is limited. I am not running. And I am not involved in any community efforts.

Those who know me well, know that the mere fact that I am not making time for even one of my passions is bordering on reason for concern. While I’m in no need of an intervention (yet) I do need to find time to slow down. There are no boxes left in my living room. Most of the pictures are hung on the walls. My bedroom is almost clear of packages to sort through. The kitchen is nearly complete. My office/hobby room must be next on the list.  If I don’t find the time/space to focus on my passions, I’m going to become that whiny complainer inside me that I despise.

For the sake of my children, co-workers, friends, family, and hunny, I cannot allow that side of me to surface. At least not when I know what vibrant, fun and enlightening experiences come my way when in the right mindset.

Every person comes into our life for a reason. Every experience, good or “bad” has a lesson to be learned. I truly believe this. Right now I have opportunities. Each and every one of us do. How I choose to respond to those opportunities IS ultimately a choice.

Right now, I want to knock down the walls I’ve been building and start fresh. Rather than build walls, I want to strengthen the foundation and use it to create a bridge to new horizons.

There is so much yet to be explored, experienced, learned… I want to go in new directions while living it, and sharing that life in partnership… with my children, my family, and most importantly, my love. I hope you know who you are.

 

Sharpening life’s images

I have always struggled with just letting stuff happen. I am a thinker, an analyzer and a planner. I love new adventures. The occasional spontaneous leap of faith is fun. However, I am more comfortable knowing the plan, the goal and the way I hope to get there. It can be likened to a photographer sharpening life’s images.

To me it’s the difference between taking a trip packed for every possibility and having every option available to me, and taking nothing but my absolute necessities with me and having to make the best of what is possible. Both scenarios can be a lot of fun yet they yield entirely different experiences.
On the journey of life, I prefer to have most of my experiences happen with some semblance of preparedness, and a handful of unpredictable adventures thrown in for variety.
It’s not that I think everything can or should be planned ahead, but I like to know that I considered most possibilities so that I don’t have to say no to something simply because I wasn’t prepared.
I realize that some times my need to analyze and discuss brings some chapters to a close rather abruptly. I could likely have taken the ride a bit longer if I’d been able to go with the flow more… but the truth is, I prefer the longer lasting, greater depth, long term experiences in life. I just like taking them in varying directions over time.
I can be intense. I am passionate to the point of no return, about nearly everything my life touches.
So while I have been sitting back and waiting for life to show me what is in store, resisting my urge to analyze and prepare, taking things day by day in order to cope with the uncertainty of what is now… I want more than anything to be myself, to have just one aspect of my life that I can at least attempt to be prepared for.
Holding back may be allowing me space to get through each day unscathed, but it has a deadening effect as well. Things feel less poignant, less vibrant, a little soft. I’m ready to take some of the sharpness back. To feel with my whole self. To see every shade and level of colour. If I give of my heart and soul without caution, will it be worth the risk?
Love Where You Live, live where you are

Love Where You Live, live where you are

Life is short

Well, my writing keeps getting stalled and then something else comes along to write about. I’m going nowhere fast and the motivation for today’s post is about exactly that. Living life to the fullest – now. Making sure that I take my life where I want it to go.

 

I can’t believe the number of reminders I’ve received in recent months and days of just how short life can be. While still reeling from the loss of my mother six months ago tomorrow. At just 59, after a short illness with cancer, her life was too short. I have been trying to do what I need to to make my life count. To be able to say confidently at any given time that if today is to be the day that the book of my life comes to an End I did all that I could to live the life that I wish to. Will I be happy with what I have done with my life to date?

 

Yesterday, after having the opportunity to give back to an event that has brought me a lot of great memories, I reflected on the new memories made, and the tragic loss of a participant. For the first time in the history of the Cabot Trail Relay, on the final km of the final leg of the 25th anniversary running, we lost a runner. He was an experienced runner who had raced the Cabot Trail almost as many years as it has been running.

 

The crew and organizing committee as well as the running community are all mourning with his family. Remembering that he was a runner, but also a man, husband, father, brother, son, friend…

 

Later today I was delivered more news. This time a life has not been lost, but changed in the blink of an eye, with those oh so dreadful words “you have Cancer”. 27 years old, with cancer that has metastasized to her back, causing a fracture of the sacrum. 27 years old.

 

It’s news like that of my friend’s; like the loss of Steve Dunn, a 58 year old living a healthy active life; like losing my mom far too early that have caused me to pause and really reflect on life, my dreams and aspirations, and the impact I have had.

 

Do you take the time to do this? I don’t do it often enough. Nor have I taken it seriously enough until the last few months. Big changes are ahead, and it’s a stormy, rough sea I’ll be sailing for a while. In the end I will be certain I have pursued the life I truly wish to be living. Ultimately, that is what really matters.

 

 

 

DO right now. That which is most important.

Have you ever thought about what you want from life? Have you ever REALLY thought about it?

What is MOST important to you. If you had to make sacrifices in your life dreams, what could you absolutely NOT miss?

Since my loved one was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I’ve found that my priorities have become all the more clear to me. What have I identified as being the MOST important? Family.

I’ll bet if you took a real hard look at your own, you’d say the same.

Why is that even when we KNOW our greatest priorities, we rarely treat them as such?

How many of us are guilty of letting life get in the way?

Remember that old saying? “Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?… When it comes to relationships of any value to you, it’s more like: “never put off until tomorrow what you value today…”

I’ve been completing some projects that are really important, but just hadn’t gotten done. Have been making some decisions that were being put off and most importantly, have been putting the most important people and activities to the top of my priority list. It is so unfortunate that it takes the circumstances of a loved ones’ sudden terminal illness to wake up. Don’t let that be you.

Do today, right now, what is important. Don’t put off the things that you most value in life.

Tell your loved ones how much you care about them. Give hugs. Talk about the important stuff. Most of all make the time to have no regrets.

Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at ceilidho at ceilidhontherun dot com, or use my contact form!

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Losing control & finding your balance

In the face of uncontrollable challenges balance comes in managing that which can be.

Until recently life was very demanding but manageable. It has since reached my limit with another uncontrollable and emotionally charged journey. My balance came first in recognizing my limits and taking steps to prevent breaching them. A leave from work has allowed me the time I had previously struggled to find to take care of me.

I assured my doctor that the time would be spent wisely, making it a priority to nurture myself while working through all of life’s obligations and desires as a mother, spouse, sister, daughter, homemaker and friend.

When a loved one has a chronic illness and becomes a closer integral part of your immediate nucleus things can and do change drastically. When living arrangements accommodate that there is additional change. Add that to life’s everyday challenges and then another loved one becomes suddenly and seriously ill. It can seem impossible to cope.

We recently faced our loved one’s diagnosis of cancer. Our lives have turned upside down in so many ways, while we grasp at every sense of normalcy that we can. It is too easy to become consumed with the illness, too easy to forget that we are still here together … we must make this our time, now.

Those of you who have been there know how truly it does change your perspective. Life becomes precious. Life becomes finite. Life becomes its meaning. We must experience life with our eyes wide open, with all of our senses receiving and our minds fully aware.

How do you balance life when it creeps out of your control?

From Drop Box

I don’t have the answers. I can only do what feels right for me.

In an attempt to prevent chronic pain from escalating too severely I am pursuing a better daily routine of activity. Each day I try to include something physical, from yoga to fitness classes, to walking (perhaps even a swim or a bike ride). Each day I make time to read and/or write. I have some other projects that I try to fit in once in a while like photography/editing and scrapbooking. It is never enough. But I do my best.

I am watching what I eat, talking with family and friends, and trying to keep my family focused on a healthy balance of living while also trying to fight the devastating effects of this awful disease.

It’s a natural tendency to fall back into the despair, the fear, and the pain… Back into the unfairness of it all. We have to consciously choose to take cancer off the table at times and simply live.

For the benefit of all we must make it a priority to live life.

Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at ceilidho at ceilidhontherun dot com, or use my contact form!

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OK, universe, it’s my time now!

It seems as if every time things begin to settle down and reach a tolerable pace, the universe throws more stuff at me to see just how much I can handle.

When I finished my degree I went from full-time employment, full-time parenting and part-time studies, to “just” part-time employment and full-time parenting. I thought I had it made, time for me, time for my projects, time to hopefully build on a plan to eventually be independently employed. At first I enjoyed the luxury of having time to catch up on household things with a quiet house. I enjoyed being able to meet my children’s bus at home 2 days/week. I enjoyed having time for my writing and my photo-post-processing. I had a great routine going and was looking for a way to build some income into things.

Then I had an opportunity for some short-term part-time employment in an office I love (and knew from my practical experience while completing my degree) doing work that I truly enjoy. As this was winding down I began planning what I would do with my extra time again.

Then the federal election was called and I was once again working two part-time jobs, while additionally volunteering on two different campaigns whenever I could find the time. I loved the experience and involved my family as much as possible. When that came to an end, it was time to get back to my short-lived routine of 3 days/week working outside the home and 2 days/week of having the house to myself for a few hours while the girls were in school. Or so I thought.

My sister returned to Nova Scotia just as we’d long been wishing for since her multi/complex diagnoses over the last four years. After a couple of weeks she moved in with our family. We were thrilled. We (she & I) began the complicated process of getting new doctors, specialists and income assistance established. Most days off have been spent running around or, finally, having some much needed sister-time. My own projects continued to be neglected. We put our house on the market and began hunting for just the right property that would accommodate an in-law suite for my sister, whose medical needs have made it imperative that she have support close by for those just-in-case moments that happen far more frequently than anyone would like.

As summer approached the appointments began to slow down a little. There is still much work to be done, but things were beginning to feel “relaxed”. (If you can call constantly making improvements to the house to make it more sell-able, while also having to prep it for viewings 1-3 times/week, relaxed. 😉 ) Just when the house projects had thinned out and I decided to take a breather and spend a little time on my own neglected projects, my sister became sick. An infection progressed into more and we found ourselves at the emergency room most of the night and proceeding day when she was, at last, admitted. Activity had picked up on our house almost exactly at the same time. While I sat in the ER we negotiated and accepted an offer on our house, then spent time back and forth between the hospital and viewings of potential new homes. The closing date was already looming just 4 ½ weeks away. We managed to find and negotiate an offer on a great house with everything we need, and a closing date of just 2 days prior to the closing of the house that we must vacate! Phew!

In the meantime my sister was still in hospital and I was supporting her through more challenges. Most days I stopped in twice/day, some days I spent most of the day with her waiting on specialists’ to report new information. Finally, she was discharged.

We now have less than three weeks until our move. There is much to do, including sending the girls off to school, recently registered at their new school which will mean driving them everyday until we are in the house on their new bus route.

Two weeks ago I was regretting summer coming to an end because of the crappy weather we had for most of it. Now I am wishing my favourite time of the year away, hoping that when October comes the universe will finally see fit to give me a bit of a break.

Right after I do a little extra part-time work for my “other” employer… 😉

A perfect storm?

Sometimes it takes a perfect storm, a molten lava volcanic eruption, an implosion of unrelated-yet-ever-so-connected details, to make us appreciate how good we have it.

Our starting point, the point we reflect back on, is often one of sheer happiness. A feeling of wholeness, of being complete. As time goes by we become complacent in our happy-ever-after lives, we accept gifts as simply being, we take for granted that all will remain, and over time little annoyances become big obstacles. We start to notice more and more of what isn’t working, and over-look all that is right. It doesn’t take much once we reach this point to set-off a chain reaction. The little stuff gets bigger, the big stuff insurmountable, and we blow.

If we’re lucky, we don’t step over the line, to the point of no-return. If we’re lucky, we can learn something from it. We can re-gain appreciation for the right stuff. The stuff we realize that we don’t want to, nor are we able to even fathom the thought of, living without. We can take a few steps backwards, or perhaps simply start over. We can re-energize ourselves with all that we know is right in our world, and re-focus.

From Drop Box

It happens to the best of us, it happens to the rest of us, it happens … to all of us. Sometimes it’s a new job, school, a place of residence. Sometimes it’s a relationship, a friendship, a romance. Sometimes is simply a state of being. We live, we love, we ___??? What I do know is that if the anticipation of loss accentuates the desire to make it better… If it yields an internal reaction that is strong enough. Intense enough to generate physical reactions. It’s worth looking deep within and taking stock. Just what is lost? Or could be? Just what can be renewed, revived, re-lived? Is it worth losing? Is it time to move on? Or is this simply the rebirth, regeneration, revitalizing inspiration needed to take it to the next level?

As cliché as it may be, we often need that push to move us in the right direction. It opens our ears to listen, it opens our eyes to see what is in front of us, it opens our minds to consider more. And then we must choose. Do we go on? Do we build something bigger and better? Can we weather the storm better next time around if we do?

If I’ve made the right choices leading up to this moment, in most cases the answer will be clear and obvious and right. If I haven’t, I may have another storm to ride out sooner, rather than later.

How do you weather the storms? What do you do to make every experience a part of the journey?

I’m a Mommy Blogger? really?

My children have changed my life. There is never any doubt about this. Of course, it has happened in the most obvious ways – I get woken in the middle of the night, I require childcare arrangements before I can make my child-free activity plans, my home is cluttered with toys and items strewn about where they left them…

But I tend to talk about how they changed my life in more obtuse ways. I used to be very controlling. Now some might argue I still am, but I know otherwise. 😉 Becoming a mother has meant that eventually I started to let go of that control, little bit by little bit. At first I totally bucked it, and everything that my ex-husband did that was counter to what I wanted to control became a much larger problem. After we split up, I was forced to let go even more. I *could* attempt to control the way things work when they are not at home with me, when they are at their dad’s on weekends and vacations, but to what end? While I have mostly let go. (I’ll admit to lapsing a few times and making a big issue out of something I deemed worthwhile). I’m not saying it was easy, but it has gotten easier.

My children have also helped me to get better at setting all work aside and just being. We will take days and do nothing but spend time together as a family. Of course, being a mom has brought about much work that forces me to not be so care-free, but I value the time spent simply living life, so much more, especially when I do it with the people who I care about most in my life.

They have also given me a much greater appreciation for the ability to care so deeply for another person that you are willing to sacrifice anything for their protection.

Many people define themselves as a parent first, a person/woman/man/other identity second. I have done the same on many occasions. And depending upon the circumstances, I sometimes still do today. When it comes right down to it, being a good mom is the most critical part of being me today. But something being a mother has taught me, is that I need to be ME, first. I can’t be the best mother/spouse/friend/etc. I can be, if I don’t allow myself time to nurture my being.

It is through this need to take care of myself that I re-started a lot of activities that I love. I started running through a need for self-care during a critical time in my (unofficially, still – but that’s another story) former marriage. I went back to school, as a single parent, to improve my chances at a meaningful career. I re-started my hobby with photography when I graduated from University recently. I started writing again because I realized that the exercise of writing once was an integral part of my being. It is because of my children that I had the motivation to be a better me.

So, it is ironic to me, that most people would refer to me as a mommy blogger. While I do occasionally write about my experiences as a mom, or about my children; and while I AM a mother I do not think of myself as a mommy blogger. I blog because writing allows me to ground myself. I write of the many things that I value. I write as an exercise in separating my identity from my outward responsibilities. I think of myself as a blogger, yes; as a mother, without doubt; but as a mommy blogger? I just don’t think it fits.

Do we identify ourselves as mommy nurses, mommy doctors, mommy bus drivers, mommy teachers, mommy police officers, etc.? Generally the mommy descriptor only applies if it is integral to the work we do. Sure I’ve blogged about being a mom. But I also have blogged about running, fundraising for a cause, photography, Nova Scotia, Halifax, poverty… the list goes on. I don’t think anyone would define me as a running blogger (I once blogged only about my efforts at fitness, so at that time it may have applied); or a photography blogger (by any stretch). If I were to define my blogging it would be about life, and perhaps leaning on the edge towards social change.

When I blog I am hoping to connect with people from all walks of life. People who care about life. People who want life to be better for generations to come. This applies to mothers, to be certain. But it also applies to fathers, grandparents, aunts & uncles, friends, caregivers, children, and on and on and on…

Yes, I am a mother. Yes, I am a blogger. Must they be one and the same?

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