Tuesday, July 22, 2014

summer reading and a big dose of introspection

As usual for summer, I have been doing a lot of reading.  Some fiction, lots of non-fiction--both for personal interest and personal development (as a part of my professional development).  Personal development is an area of interest, but is crucial as a part of my professional leadership development (I know, right?!  Makes you want to live my life...).  One of the quirky side effects of that much personal development reading (and watching TEDtalks) is an incredible amount of introspection.  Which has the potential to be a little..."crazy making".  I put that in quotation marks because I'm fairly certain that's not the clinical term :)

The introspection has led me to be currently rereading "Eat Pray Love".  And although I love it, I do think maybe Elizabeth Gilbert is a little nuts.  Or was.  And I totally mean that in a good way.  Next up on the list is to reread "The Happiness Project".  Gretchen Rubin is another woman who I think is slightly nuts.  In a totally good way.  Both books seem very much like very driven women have succumbed to their woo-woo side and embark on a journey to fix what's missing from their lives.  Or not missing.  Whatever.  Either way, both books are a personal journey of looking to improve their lives.  Or social-emotional state.  

Because I also love the work of Glennon Doyle Melton, which you can find at www.momastery.com and because she says she has been so influenced by Dr Brene´ Brown, I watched her TEDtalks this morning (give me a break, I'm kicking coffee and am too tender from my chiro appt yesterday to do any exercise, I needed to take my mind off of it).  You can find them here:

All I can say is wow.  Shame and vulnerability are really at the root of all of the stuff.  You know, the stuff that gets in the way.  Of everything.  Shame prohibits vulnerability.  Without vulnerability there is no compassion, empathy or joy.  Doesn't that really just sum it all up?  Without joy, how do you find happiness, or what I think people (women?!) are really searching for--contentment?  

But, how do you really let go of shame?  And I'm not talking about shame that you did something horrible and should be punished or anything, I'm talking about the shame that so many of us feel.  Which is maybe more aptly described as "should".  You know what I mean--I should exercise more, I should work longer hours, I should spend more time with my children, I should bake cookies and make jam, and grow my own organic veggies and have hens to lay eggs and volunteer and cook everyday and not watch tv and do yoga and not drink so much wine.  The shoulds.  The ones that I think in some part of her soul, every human with 2 X chromosomes feels every single fricking day of life on earth.  It occurs to me that those with XY chromosomes might too, but that's a little outside my area of expertise.

Glennon talks about the capes she would wear--addiction, bulimia, drug use.  BB (because we're so tight I have nicknamed her BB) talks about other "capes" (cloaks?  whatever) of perfectionism, judgement, overeating--whatever it is that you use to prevent you from being vulnerable, because of shame. Any of this sounding familiar to anyone?  It all hits a little too close to home for comfort.  

The unease, the discomfort.  The discontent.  It's all there.  The cloak of keeping the game face on so that it looks like I have my s*** together.  

It's raw, and it's uncomfortable.  But there it is.

And in that vein, I have added the words evolution and perspective to the name of my blog.  Because that's really what it is.  And it's really not about fitness or lack thereof anymore.  Because I'm not so sure that anyone really gives a rat's a** about whether I'm running or kickboxing or doing yoga.  But when I write about other stuff, people comment.  Which is really good for my dopamine and seratonin levels :)  More about that in Simon Sinek's book, "Start With Why".  There's a TEDtalk for that too.

And to link all of this back to professional development?!  Start with why (that's easy, the kids), think about what their biology dictates for success, help them move past the shame (yeah, we do it to them--report cards?!) and move into vulnerability so that they can learn.  I truly believe that without acceptance and an absence of shame, they won't learn.  Same with teachers (and admin!).  

And there you have it.  Full circle.  What BB calls a "spiritual awakening".  I'm not sure about that, but it's certainly fodder to ruminate upon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Ahhhhh, summer!  The long awaited, much needed break.  Week one as always catching up on a multitude of appointments.  Week two some more appointments and really trying to unwind.  The downside of having time to think, is that all the detritus of the mind that normally is shoved aside comes bubbling to the surface and insists on being tended to.....summer is a process :)

A colleague/friend invited me to do a gratitude challenge on Facebook.  3 things, 3 days, nominate 3 people everyday of the challenge.  It's inspiring to think of all the things for which I am grateful. Some are Facebook worthy, and some are better tucked away for personal contemplation only.  Not everyone needs to have the full experience of the recesses of my mind.  In that vein, the challenge has inspired me to actually write down 3 things a day for which I am grateful.  And since it's for my own benefit only, I won't need to hide the crazy!

Operation kick coffee is progressing.  Not always well, but it's progressing.  I'm almost ready for the next step--one cup in the morning.  *gulp*. It doesn't sound like much, but I am a coffee lover.  Through and through.  I'm working on convincing myself that I am actually a green tea lover.  As long as I can kick the habit before the return to school, I will be happy.  Baby steps.

Today is another rainy day, with some intermittent sunshine day.  Which is having a negative impact on my walking everyday with or without the dog.  I don't mind walking in a light rain (not so the dog), but the downpour we got caught in yesterday doesn't do much for me.  We sought refuge under a big leafy tree and waited for the rain to ease so we could return home.  But as we were standing under the tree, it occurred to me that if there was thunder, lightning follows.  And standing under a tree is something akin to standing on top of a hill with a metal rod extended above your head.  Maybe we'll just wait for a nicer day.  Luckily my lightning rod theory wasn't tested.  And my theory that someone would notice it was pouring and would come looking for us to rescue us from the weather was thoroughly disproven.  Honestly, what good is having kids with driver's licenses?!

So, looking for some sunshiny hot weather, so I can enjoy the beach and really get my mind and body in better shape for the upcoming school year.  Rain is good, but I'm ready for some sun.  Fingers crossed for beautiful weather the week we are renting the cottage, and for the rest of our vacation time.

The positive about rainy days, is that there is time for organizing and cleaning the clutter.  Clutter in my space causes anxiety, and I get nothing done.  Except temper tantrums.  Not exactly productive.  It maybe says something about me, the amount of satisfaction gained from organizing?  On today's list? Kid's coat closet.  God help me.

How are you spending your rainy days?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

I have to say, this is a strange Easter chez Bolyea.  Seamus is in Scotland for a high school rugby trip.  It's weird when your chicks aren't all home for at least part of a holiday weekend.  And I'm sick, to boot.  Just a bad cold, but irritating for someone who NEVER gets colds (thank you Dr Tara!).  I'm chalking it up to a combination of spring allergies, walking with cold wind on my face (sinus pain!) and a year's worth of stress making the perfect conditions for a spring cold.

I feel like I haven't written in sooooo long.  But I did, I just didn't press the publish button.  I mean really, who wants to read a mess of stress and woes?!  It has been an extremely challenging year personally and professionally.  It's a school year I will be glad to see the back of--not because of the people, just because of circumstances.  I am tired.   A week in beautiful Cuba did a world of good, but alas a week's worth of holiday bliss is easily undone once reality sets in again.  I'm just incredibly grateful to have had a holiday.

I know it's just the situation, but I feel stuck.  In many ways.  There aren't enough hours in a day or week, and when I find the hours I'm so done I can't get motivated to accomplish anything.  It will pass, I know it will, but it's not a great feeling, that huge wall I feel like I'm looking up at.  How depressing is that?!  If this is what I write when I'm feeling in a better place mentally....ugh!!

On a much more positive note, when in Cuba (my new favourite place on the planet), we went on a catamaran trip and got to interact with a dolphin.  Beautiful memory.  Pepe's skin was so smooth, such an amazing creature.  I've decided that I'd like to become a dolphin trainer (maybe in my next life...).  Bucket list item.  So in that vein, I've decided to finally take riding lessons this summer and indulge in another bucket list item.  I started asking my parents for a horse when I was four years old.  I never did get that horse, but I did make sure my kids all know how to ride.  Now it's my turn.  Life is short, and it's important to do things you've always wanted to do--sooner rather than later.  I don't think I can keep a horse in my backyard, but you never know ;)

Also on the list:  more running, more yoga and more time in nature.  That includes ocean, sun and sand.

Spring is the time for new beginnings.  I'm taking it to heart.  It's time to let the "stuff" go and fix what's wrong in my world.

Namaste and Happy Easter xxoo

Monday, February 17, 2014

February blahs

Anyone else sick of snow?  Here in my part of Southwestern Ontario we have had the biggest wallop of a winter in recent memory.  Utter craziness.  I cannot wait for spring.  Today is a relatively mild day for this winter....only -13 Celsius.  Yep, that is mild for this year.  But it is sunny, definitely a plus.  So..flipping..tired..of..cold..and..snow..

So, we have decided that we are going to head to somewhere hot for a week to recharge.  We think Cuba.  Hot sunny beach.  It's calling my name.  I need to recharge my batteries.  Winter, school and life are seriously kicking my butt.

I've been reading a Susan Sly book, which is giving me many bright moments of thought, but also giving me cause to ponder aspects of my personality and life.  I know in my heart of hearts that there are changes I need to make for my own wellbeing, but it's really hard to change part of who you are.  She speaks a lot of developing an awareness of what you attract in your life.  And how to change it.  There are some things that I attract (pattern of behaviour?!) that I'd really like to leave behind.  Because in truth, if you don't leave it behind you don't create room to attract the really good stuff.  BUT, that can cause pain.  I'm working through coming to terms with what is sure to be a sharp pain, but hopefully not that long-lasting.  Sort of like ripping off a bandage.  Fast and immediate as opposed to long, drawn out heartache. 

Growth is an interesting thing.  I know there's going to be some pain, but then I look at some of the new things and friends change is bringing into my life.  It's a process.

In the meantime of being sick of snow and pondering the changes that I think are necessary, I express my gratitude for all that I have.  Especially family, friends and health.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Blizzard 2014

We have been experiencing a Canadian blizzard!  Today every road in our county and all of the neighbouring counties are closed.  ALL schools in several boards are closed, and we have been stuck inside for two days.  Temperatures are -21 C, but feels like -34 C.  Baby it's cold outside!  Even the factories and other businesses are closed because of the weather....good because no one can get there to work.  Rick was as excited as a little kid to get a snow day today :)

Chase is making very quick trips outside, and demonstrates that yes, she can pee while standing on only two opposing feet!  Can't say I would want to have to go outside!  You can't tell from the pictures, but you can't even see into the field behind the house, and by times when there are gusts the houses across the street are obscured by a wall of snow.

So grateful for a snug house, having my family safe at home and NOT having to keep a wood stove going!  

Sadly, my daughter just found out that a well known elderly gentleman from our town has passed away today.  Literally everyone knew him, and our small town won't be quite the same without him.  

Stay warm and stay inside, off the roads.  Can I just say that I am looking forward to summer and beach weather!?

Friday, January 3, 2014

we all have our issues....

As I've been reading blog posts of bloggers I follow, or blogs I peruse from time to time, I'm struck by the number of people who have all written about being glad to see the end of 2013.  When you notice it on all social media platforms, it becomes a disturbing trend.  What was with 2013?  So many people all over the continent, all experiencing some degree of angst/despair/misfortune over the past year.  I wonder why.  I wonder why we only find out at the end of the old year/beginning of the new year?  

I know the answer--because we all keep our issues to ourselves.  Some things we can't hide, like the death of a family member or a significant illness.  But those aren't the only things that add up to feelings of relief to see the passing of a year.  There are many hidden causes for those feelings.  Unseen health issues, mental health issues, work stress, family stress, unseen health issues of family and friends, financial woes, trauma of any description, death of someone we love...the list is really endless.

So as a part of my balanced year, I am wishing for good health for myself, family and friends.  No more financial issues, health problems, grief, unmanageable work stress, relationship problems.  I wish everyone peace and well-being.  I wish for people to feel supported through everything they are experiencing, and remind myself to remain aware that what may seem a trifling to outsiders, may just be the proverbial straw on the camel's back for someone else.  

Before anyone thinks I've lost my mind and turned into Pollyanna, I want to say that I know that life issues are unavoidable.  Most of all my greatest wish is for people to have the resilience and fortitude to withstand any of the crap life throws in the path for them.  Because life will.  Please keep in mind (self...I'm talking to you....) that it's not some karmic trick designed to make you miserable.  It's life.  

I'm trying really hard to give myself and others the gift of compassion and empathy.  And to not be so wrapped up in my own stuff that I'm blind to the troubles of others.  If we could all just get a little better at that, we would all be able to get over those hurdles (self...this one is for you again...).

If you are one of those that had a crappy 2013, I'm cheering you on for a fantastic 2014.  If you had a great 2013, I'm still cheering you on.  Life is too short and too precious to not enjoy it....at least most of the time (self.....are you listening?).

I'm taking the weekend to wallow before going back to work on Monday.  My head is NOT back in the game yet, and it's not going to be before Monday morning.  Because that's one of the gifts I am giving myself in 2014.  Permission to really rest my brain.  To take down time and thoroughly enjoy it, so that I'm able to be in the game at my best.  I'm working on it.  It will continue to be  a work in progress.  (Did you pay attention to that, self?)

Happy weekend.  And happy 2014.