I did make one goal so far for 2017...
It’s more of a social experiment.
The thought came when I did NOT send a Christmas letter. You know, the update of happenings, life events, and such...
I love getting Christmas letters. I love to hear what everyone is doing, how everyone is growing etc. etc. etc. It’s a first person account of what is happening in your life.
I needed and wanted something more, I wanted interaction. I wanted to be face to face to share our year, a living ‘Christmas Letter’ you could call it. I started to think of the people that I cared about and I had not spoken to or seen for a long time because LIFE got in the way. I sent some messages and had coffee and lunch with two very dear friends. It was wonderful!
Now Christmas is over but its never too late to connect.
I realized this is a tough time of year for a lot of people including me.
Yes, truth bomb...I do not like cloudy dark days no matter what the season. I do a LOT of self care this time of year to keep me going and upbeat but still sometimes that is not enough.
I do not share the historic details of depression and family addictions that permeated most of my growing up years but I am ever so aware of them right around the holiday season and into the first three months of a new year. Those events are not a crutch but I sometimes need to keep them near so I can learn and grow from them. They are in the past and I want to always be moving forward.
So now I seek out sunshine and the warmth of friends and neighbours. I'm sure this thought can resonate with anyone who feels they get pulled in every direction but when you work from home, the walls can close in and meaningful human to human interactions and conversations don't always happen...now it’s a text, a message…and if you are lucky a real phone conversation.
My goal for 2017 - to use social media to be ‘social able’.
Yes, person to person.
"A social interaction is an exchange between two or more individuals and is a building block of society. "
How we communicate is changing. I watched an interesting video by Simon Sinek who nailed it for me. Although I am far from a Millennial, I see lots of truth In what Simon says about Social Media.
Take the time to watch it and understand how our own habits and interactions are truly missing something…
I want to connect to the folks I am connected too.
I want to hear how you are doing. I want to hear about your family, your kids, your pets, your adventures, your renovations, what ever it is that is occupying your life and making you get up every morning.
So here goes…
Who will read this?
Who wants to make the time?
Lets get together and then you do the same with others you know.
If you live in the fine City I do, lets have coffee.
We pick a date and put it on the calendar, even if its months in advance.
It’s kind of like a group interaction, but with less people, and
I don’t drink coffee, but the act of going for coffee is socialable.
If there is physical distance between us, we can Facetime, Zoom, or use another method of video conversation…I will drink tea on my end and you can have a coffee if you like.
Who wants to join me with a simple goal for 2017?
If no one responds, I will know that you are all too busy…carry on and give me a LIKE so I can superficially feel better.
A Winter Present
Everyone needs a good snow storm.
There is something magical when the sky opens up and brings with it a fury that lasts for days.
In our neck of the woods we had been enjoying a beautiful, no snow on the ground, dry road, above freezing kind of November and parts of December. Uncharacteristic for these parts...
When you are known for your hardy nature just by geography, we were beginning to feel like winter frauds.
We were becoming comfortable...
Until last Tuesday.
Winter storm warning.
No big deal.
Our nature is to persevere and with that comes great compassion for our family, our neighbours and total strangers. For the most part, people are nicer, more helpful and more friendlier...and the weather gives them another conversation to have with total strangers.
Drive times to work become badges of honour. Hours of shoveling are challenges to conquer. Grocery shopping becomes last ditch attempts to fend for our families.
Random acts of kindness are rampant when Mother Nature turns on us.
We dig out our neighbours, we drive kids to school. We push out busses and vehicles all in the name of showing we will not be beat.
And that's when our BEing Present project becomes a lesson for everyone without them even knowing. So while in between curses thrown by some at the misfortune they have been dealt, others slow down and become grateful for the very small details in their lives.
We pause to reflect how grateful we are for a house and the means to stay warm when so many in our city do not.
We are grateful for the ability to get where we need to or just stay put because we want to.
We put the comfort in comfort food.
We embrace warm hugs.
We wrap ourselves up with loved ones.
We seek homemade peppermint hot chocolate, marshmallows are optional.
We hear the loud crisp sounds of snow under foot and see the breath that freezes our words. We are ever so thankful for Command Start...
Through it all, we reflect on the moments that make up our lives.
Take the time to think about who you love, what you love, and what truly brings joy to you and your family.
Appreciate the small stuff and you will see how amazing life really is.
This time last year, I started a family project.
A project that had one thing in mind.
To be present.
A project that was about being greatful for everything we are in this world, not about what we have. Because even if we have 'nothing', we still are...thinking breathing, loving, giving...
So the best gift is the realization of all of those glorious things.
Does this sound like a gift you can give yourself? Your loved ones?
Please join me over the month of December as we work on BEing Present.
Thirty one days of documenting the moments that we view differently than we did before. An opportunity to bring joy back into the season with the awareness of our own 'presence' within ourselves.
It can be a picture, a thought, a statement, a quote that represents the moment you were being "present".
If you are a Facebook user, this is the perfect 'present' to share and tag a friend. Tell them you were thinking of them and invite them to Be Present.
If you are an Instagram user, I invite you to follow me as my family 'presents' -@selfignition4u
You can use #bepresentfordecember2016 to follow and post.
Please feel free to join in! Have some fun, bring your family or just creep along on our latest adventure.
See you soon!
Want some insight into the project from last year? read on...
Being Present 12/3/2015
Are you up for it?
I recently read a comment that stated in any one given moment you cannot do two things at once. Before all the multi-taskers turn away, keep reading.
You cannot sit and stand in the same moment. You cannot be sad and happy in the same moment. It's like looking through a video camera when your child scores a goal. You're there. You saw it. You recorded it and replayed it. But were you truly there in the moment to witness that one event with all your being?
So here's a Christmas gift that has no cost, no shopping, no wrapping, no searching store to store, no borders, no currency exchange, no UPS delivery people.
I invite you into our family for the month of December and all you have to do is BE PRESENT.
Thirty one days of being present.
Just Being Present in the moment.
A community of being present not giving presents.
All you have to do is become mindful of the moments. Day to day moments take on wonderful meaning because of the way we now view them.
Even the mundane can be glorious! A simple drive to the grocery store become an opportunity to enjoy the lights and sounds of your neighborhood. Turn off the music and enjoy the moment. An opportunity to just be.
Washing dishes...a job I love to hate...
My moment to enjoy hot water... My moment to be thankful that my family and I shared another meal together. A moment to converse with the person holding the dish towel...
For some, putting devices and phones away will awaken them to a whole new world around them...
Just BE PRESENT.
I am enough.
How many of us discount these three simple words? This is my life goal.
Life is not a straight line, it is a meandering path full of detours and pit stops. It's progress over perfection.
My latest detour is one of finding balance in all areas of my life.
Finding balance, creating balance, enjoying balance and being present for every moment. Being happy with the moments in life are what create a happy life.
Happiness has nothing to do with stretch marks and dimples. Happiness has nothing to do with battle scars and negative self image.
Happiness is about being truly okay with who you are along your journey.
So what does a picture in a bikini have to do with being happy?
Nothing and everything.
For those that zoom in and critique, life is not a destination but a journey and I am happy about the journey because of the way I feel.
I am happy about how I look, because I do not fear judgement.
I am happy because I get to work with fabulous amazing people.
I am happy because I am on the beach.
I am happy because this suit was on sale.
I am happy because I am enough.
There is only one contest to prep for right now.
It's called life.
There is no photographer.
There is no photoshopping.
There is just me.
Being joyful in my existence.
Do I work at it? Yes. Daily.
Is it perfection? No.
I'm completely okay with that.
My lifestyle is not about desperation and deprivation. It is about the tiny little decisions I make again and again, day in and day out.
My lifestyle is not about negativity, it is about being good enough.
It's about finding the balance and it's about being mindful of tomorrow...
The crazy thing is, I get paid to make people feel the same! I help people wear whatever they want. I help people feel fabulous in their own skin.
When you feed the body our great super food nutrition, people begin to feel great. When you feed the body our great super food nutrition, you awaken the mind, body and the spirit.
When you invite the easy in, things get easy.
So, I invite you to take a look at what the happy people around you are doing, it's never too late to make a decision for tomorrow.
A simple picture on social media got me thinking....
Over 25 years ago there were many young women breaking societal norms and finding themselves attracted to the "gentleman's game"...
Now, in 2016, that doesn't seem odd...Girls are now playing high school hockey, rugby, they are wrestlers and boxers...Back then the thought of females playing rugger was fresh.
There was something about the sport of Rugby that created a different inner dialogue about being strong and powerful and female all at the same time.
My time on the rugby field was a major part of my development as a young woman finding her way in the world. My mentors were women who were positive and like minded. They were fun seekers and the game provided a different type of camaraderie. The strength of the team was more important than the strength of one.
As a coach, it allowed me to share that vision with a group of amazing young women. Back then, at the ripe old age of 19, I was given the task to begin a program in the most unlikely of places...A private school for girls. The stereotypes surrounding these particular young women were even greater...But thats the great thing about breaking down barriers, its about changing our thoughts.
We assembled the dancers, the badminton players, the track runners, to name just a few...We assembled the non athletes and girls who wanted to be active, but maybe had not found their place in the sporting world. We assembled the small and spindly and the tall and full figured...The big and the small, we had it all.
Those young women gave it their all. They were keen as anyone. They were ready to learn, they were ready to play, and they were ready to win.
Looking back, I wish I could have sat at the dining room tables, discussing the games with their parents.
"Yes Mom, I am a hooker..."
I knew what my parents thought, and I wasn't much older than these young high school girls that were now in my charge.
One team grew to two teams. Athletes mentoring athletes. Players coaching players. Women empowering women. Rugby players coaching rugby players.
As I look back, some of those same principles have guided me in many of my adventures. It is about being able to express strength and power in a different way. It is about being strong and confident in whatever we choose to do. Its about feeling good inside about a job well done.
Its about kicking ass and taking names.
This is for all the rugby women who shaped my life -
Take off your skirt and hit someone.
Thank you to the Hopkins Women's Rugby Club for their inspiration and permission to share some of their photos. You can see the rest of them at https://www.facebook.com/HopkinsWomensRugbyClub/
This is not about 'selfies', that's a whole other story...
This is a story of camera fear to photo shoots, and why every one should have at least one professional photo shoot taken in their lifetime.
My first memory of a ‘professional photo’ comes from the early 80's.
I think my mother had a coupon, or maybe it was one of those gas station promos where you get a free studio photo taken with ten fill ups….
I can picture it now, straw bales, fake fence and bad lighting. All I can recall is feeling super uncomfortable, awkward and geeky. Maybe that was just teenage angst but either way, yuck.
Anyways, you'll never see those pictures because they deserve to be posted on "Family Photos Gone Bad."
And...My sister would kill me.
So instead of leaving my children mother less, those pictures stay hidden.
Bad memory = dislike for future pictures.
So, how is it that a girl who's willing to wear an outfit that would fit into a Ziploc bag, NOT want to do a photo shoot?
Having a photo shoot made me the lone subject. Being IN a photo is different than being the SUBJECT of the photo.
Standing in front of the camera made me feel uncomfortable.
Uncomfortable in the way others would judge me.
The last thing I wanted to do, was step in front of the ‘loaded gun’ of a camera lens. In the back of my mind, the comfy image of myself would turn to shrapnel when the photo revealed that I looked nothing like what I perceived or expected. The image looking back at me, was not what I see in the mirror every morning. Worse yet, maybe it would reveal something I didn’t want the world to know.
Ah ha moment...
It's not about the pictures. I was judging myself.
All these thoughts and perceptions came rolling back in...
"I saw her yesterday, she didn't look like that."
"I saw her last week, and she was all sweaty and hair a mess!"
So how did I go from the uncomfortable to the comfortable?
It's not about being perfect. It's about being perfectly happy in that moment.
It's about the photographer making you feel comfortable enough to see the real you!
I realized that photos are not just about appearances. They are not about ego.
They can be whatever we want them to be.
They are about celebrations and milestones. They are about feeling our best. They are time markers and memory triggers. They can be the quiet solitude and the gut bursting laughs and giggles. They can be about capturing FABULOUS moments in our life.
They become sacred over time. A picture may not be able to capture all of our unique awesomeness but it can be close. Why not put yourself in the best light and capture the sparkle that is you!
My journey to wellness is not a secret.
But a photo shoot is about marking the journey - the mind, body, spirit and more!
Our latest adventure with all things empowering ends with a big finale and an opportunity to Strut Your Stuff! The photo shoot is something we won't forget.
It’s about feeling good and celebrating this time in our life. It’s about marking that time so that we may look back and remember and celebrate all over again.
What do Smarties and The X files have in common?
One of the things we strive for is creating positive daily habits, and a positive daily mindset. Choices play a huge factor in creating success.
So what does that have in common with eating junk and sitting in front of the idiot box?
Well, I don't do either very often...I am not able to keep up with the Kardashians and I have no use for reality tv...I have no clue who the newest bachelor is, nor do I care. Do I feel like I have been deprived of solid evening entertainment? Nope. I removed that from my life because I found other things to occupy my time. The only time you'll see me in front of the tv is probably watching sports or a movie with the family.
So Jodian, get to the point.
I needed to dial it BACK. I needed to allow myself to sit and enjoy the down time of my life. Maybe even in front of the tv....and that it would be okay.
I needed to give myself permission first. Giving myself the permission has been the difficult part. So here goes...
In our new program, Strut Your Stuff 2016, we take our clients through sixteen weeks. Everything from nutrition to the final reveal Celebration with all the bells and whistles!
One of the first things we require is a Pledge to ourselves. It is personal. It is authentic and most of all it's positive. Then we have to make it real by posting to our clients for all to see..that's when it becomes real.
My pledge is for me.
My pledge is to live a lifestyle that is 90 % dialed in, rather than 100%. This will further be known as the 90/10 rule.
Sounds silly when we preach being disciplined and how that gets us results. Its all about the choices we make.
But for me and my journey to an IDFA Figure Pro, the journey had become borderline excessive to the point where I would not give myself permission for many detours.
Many things that I removed from my life will not return. It just doesn't serve me anymore....Now I'm still training because working out and being healthy is a non negotiable, but I have no show date chosen. So how do I keep my body in great shape but allow myself the opportunities to have a more relaxed lifestyle if I choose?
You create action steps to get them done. My actions steps towards my 10% are scheduled for Monday nights.
Where do the Smarties fit in?
For me, its the permission.
Health comes in many ways and creating successful action steps brings about change. For me it will be Mondays nights watching Scully and Mulder kick some alien ass.
I may eat some Smarties while I watch.
I may not.
But I have given myself permission to do so, if I choose.
As our Be Present Project comes to an end, I am reminded what this month has brought. It began as an idea.
Here was my holiday inspiration. ⤵️
Could I complete the list?
Could I expand on the list?
Number one on the list was easy to do because I didn't need to spend any money. I just needed to be present.
I once read, "If you are always racing to the moments what happens to the moment you are in?"
Present meant focusing in on what was important at that moment, setting aside the technology, and no mom multitasking!
Just enjoy the moment for what it was. Great joy can be found in the day-to-day actions and it's those moments that create the story of our lives. Some days I do not think about that enough.
I'll admit, I had to be reminded a couple of times to be present....
"Mom, get off your phone I need you to be present."
If you're going to talk the talk walk the walk.
So check it off.
1. Be present ✔️
2. Wrap someone in a hug ✔️
This was an easy one. Everyone needs hugs:)
Number three, send peace.
Hmm.....what exactly did that look like?
Being at peace felt like knowing your family was taken care of, so how could we as a family take care of others?
First, it was a donation to a local charity. We fitted 120 pairs of winter boots to families in our great city.
Second, going through closets and donating boots and coats and gently used clothing items directly to people in need. We found a group here in Winnipeg that is so thankful for those items because many people are coming to our city from far-off lands ill-equipped to handle a Manitoba winter.
Mosaic Newcomer Family Resource Network.
3. Send peace✔️
Number four was donate food.
I needed a face. A real live person to receive. I found him. He name was Ron. You can find him most days at the corner of Meadowood and Dakota. He is always thankful.
The end of the month was Christmas hamper delivery time.
With a carload of kids we made our way across town.
With no where to park, we stopped right in the middle of the unplowed street.
We trudged through knee high snow to get to the side door to make our delivery.
We got yelled at for blocking the street.
It's amazing how people change their attitude towards you when you walk right up to their window and tell them you are just spreading Christmas cheer to those who need it :)
Number five, make love.
Um, okay ;)
Don't wait till the holiday season for this.
5. Make love ✔️
Number six, be the light.
Well, what does that mean?
I took it to mean me. Be the light. For myself and my family and for those I come in contact. Appreciate every day we are given.
As 2016 fast approaches, what changes will you make for yourself and those around you?
Ever had one of those ‘on again, off again’ relationships?
You get together. You break up.
You get together. You break up… again
Maybe history is bound to repeat itself.
Over and over again…
Maybe instead of resisting, I should accept that he belongs in my life.
I met Jake almost three years ago.
We became quick 'Frenemies', friends and enemies at the same time.
We had been forced together. It was one of those blind date things. The powers that be felt that a good match we would make.
We were not.
It started out bad from the get go! What made it worse, was that unfortunately I saw him all the time. He was at the same gym as I and I couldn’t help but run into him almost daily. MY place of solitude, and he was in it.
We eventually had to start working together on a regular basis and I was not happy about that!
Silent and strong...Somehow, he could always pull out the best parts of me and make me better, even though I disliked every second of our time together.
Eventually I would grow to have him in my life... We were getting along really well. THEN, just when I felt like I was comfortable in our relationship, he was gone…
When I did see him, he was distant. At the gym, I would see him periodically, but no interaction. I would smile and wave to be polite but that was it. He eventually faded from my memory.
“Hello.” he said.
That was a couple of weeks ago. I hadn't seen him in so long and OUT OF THE BLUE, there he is.
After almost a year, he re appears and says "Hello."
He had missed me and wants to spend some time together.
Well, I had to pull up the big girl panties and face him straight on!
I was MAD!
I told him what I truly thought of him! He just stood there motionless like my words didn't matter!
I tried to ignore him and put him off but he would just wait in the background till everyone was almost gone and then call me out. I tried to ignore him but he kept showing up. He started to be there on a regular basis. I hated how he had a way of getting under my skin.
I had my reservations about spending any time with him, but starting over in a relationship with someone you know well, does have its advantages. That uncomfortable ‘getting to know you’ time period isn’t there. You can sometimes jump in and pick up where you left off.
Not with Jake.
We started at the beginning again. I had to revisit all the uncomfortable awkward moments. No easy going! Ever competing against each other, always trying to one up the other with our accomplishments...
I did tell him I would beat him again just like in the past...
When that happens, I am sure he will move on just like before.
If you see him, tell him he has nothing on me. Jacob's Ladder - if you haven't met him, you should. He will grow on you.
I love him and hate him at the same time.
I wore my Sad Sweater yesterday.
Yes, you read that correctly.
I figured if I was to Be Present for the month of December, why should it only be during moments of joy. That wouldn't be truthful or authentic to what life sometimes gives us, no matter how many positive vibes we send out to the universe. So I decided to share whatever came my way. Good or bad.
This particular piece of clothing was named 'the Sad Sweater' because I only wore it on sad occasions. It never came out of the closet for any other reason. I could not bring myself to wear it out any other time.
I never went out looking to purchase a sweater for such an occasion, this particular sweater just happened to be the one I chose. It may not look like much but it's a beautiful sweater. I feel secure and protected in this sweater like nothing can get in. It's my armour for when I need to battle Sadness. When the battle is complete, I fold it away and hope it doesn't need to come out anytime soon.
How odd that a piece of clothing can bring about feelings of security and protection?
But my goal for this month and my wish for our family these days is to Be Present in the moments. During these days of Being PRESENT, I have been examining my thoughts and feelings in new ways. Making sure that I truly feel the moments happening in my life.
All of the moments, the good and the not so good.
So, that brings me back to the sweater...
My coat of armour...
As vulnerable as I feel on the outside, I am protected on the inside.
"What an interesting thought" I said to my Self. (I am rightfully able to refer to myself as Self after all...)
If we can only have one feeling in any one moment, I get to choose what those feeling are. I can recognize it for what it is and accept those feelings. I can examine those feelings. I can feel those feelings.
I can ignore those feelings and put them away in the back of my mind which I have become quite proficient at in the past. How many times do we put those thoughts and feelings away only to discover that they are always there lingering?
Today was different.
I put on the Sad Sweater, and in that particular moment I was okay with my feelings. Because this was a sad time and if I accepted my feelings and my thoughts, I would be able to move past that moment.
I wore the sweater and was complimented on how beautiful it was.
When I mentioned that this was my Sad Sweater, what a shame I thought that I had relinquished to wearing it only for sad occasions. But like any moment that I have, I examined the thought in a different way and changed that thought.
It was no longer the Sad Sweater but a special uniform to recognize the moments that this sweater and I had shared. The special people that it stood for. The fond memories it carried only for them.
How special I thought. Something only for them. At the end of the day, I lovingly folded it up and put it in its special place in the closet. It is now the Special Sweater because that is what BEing Present felt like.