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Today as I was walking back from dropping the kids off at school, I was surprised by many things.
First, an industrious squirrel had seemingly taken one of our cobs of Indian corn off the deck and lodged it between a table and the side of the house on our back deck. I laughed as I had just yesterday found a different cob of corn precariously jammed in our car's back rear wheel well. I felt a little sorry for the squirrel as I'm sure they had assumed they "scored" when they found such a huge prize, but alas it was too huge to move or hide.
Laughing to myself as I often do, I had a big smile on my face as I took off my dog Chi-Ba's leash.
Just then I caught sight of a woman passing by on her bike. I didn't know her, but she waved at me and said "I love your sign, it makes my day every day"
Last summer when we poured concrete my beloved partner asked if we should put a 2x4 in the concrete at the front of the house. When my eyebrows perked, he finished by saying "in case you want to do something creative there". I always love how Phil sets me up for creativity, one of the many things he does to leave the space to let me be me. I took that space and blossomed in it, creating a sign so I could write things when they came to me. I always thought it was fun to be able to express myself whenever I was internally prompted.
Little did I know the impact it had and continues to have on people!! People walk by all the time, they love the sign. In the summer when we're sitting on our porch you can hear people start discussions based on it, or laugh at it, or start singing (if a lyric sparked their soul).
Today the sign reads:
"Your attention can change someone's day"
Fitting for the day I say, for that sign changed my day by hearing how it changes someone else's.
Never forget the impact you can have on your world by just purely shining who you are!!
Clients often talk about my "special gift", like it's something I was lucky enough to be "given", or "born with", that nobody else has.
I definitely agree that we are all unique and different, but I want to make clear that we are ALL gifted . That gift?
The ability to focus our ATTENTION to ANYTHING we choose.
That's right, we all have this gift and we get to choose how to use it.
The other day I wanted to learn how to operate a puppet I just got. There was so much lead up to the creation and delivery of this puppet, I was sooooooo excited to play with it! After a brief stint of fumbling with the rods and making really funny faces (so I'm told), I realized I had never actually paid attention to how puppeteers operated puppets?........ How many times had I enjoyed "Fraggle Rock" or "The Muppets" as a kid, without ever caring to know what happened behind the scenes, and how the puppeteers made them 'perform'. Such small precise movements that brought playful life into otherwise lifeless, colourful felt, and foam. Truth be told, (and I'm pretty sure I share the same view with so many other kids) that although I knew they were just puppets in my mind, it was much more exciting to think they were actually LIVING and REAL characters. That when the show was over, they went back to their foam families to eat foam food and have foam poops before bed just like everyone else right?!
No surprise that years later I want a puppet. So I can bring this same enchanting idea alive for my book Peanut Butter and Flying Taco. What better way to insert imagination than superimposing yourself onto a cute lovable rabbit with a funny sense of humour!
I turned on my handy tablet, taking a second to be amazed with technology. The fact that this vast sea of wisdom is now available at our fingertips within seconds is truly amazing. A reality our kids will know only as a "norm".
Ten minutes later I used my new found "you tube" accumulated wisdom to play with my puppet in a brand new way! It came to life literally in my hands. Needless to say, there was a lot of laughing and talking to myself involved in the whole experience.
The magic of our attention is so basic and ever present that we seem to forget how amazing it is.
Think of it...... as soon as you bring your attention to something, it already changes it, just by being noticed. Whether it's listening to a friend, deciding to learn something new, or stepping into an altogether different perspective of something. You've heard the old driving adage that says "where your eyes go, you naturally steer towards". That's truly the same in life, we just forget we're behind the wheel sometimes, and that we have full control to take command back from the autopilot.
I don't try to control my world, there are oh so many dynamics at work there. But when I trust in being able to shift my attention, I know my world shifts. I learn and grow, AND fun stuff always happens, when I take back the wheel.
Last Wednesday, as I was on my daily journey to work I was stopped when a dog ran in front of me and into traffic. I stopped and watched, thinking maybe it was afraid of my longboard, the sound of those wheels on pavement can drive a dog crazy, that I know. But instead it sized me up and continued out into traffic. Luckily the only car nearby was paying attention and stopped while the owner scooped up the little escapee. I breathed deeply, without realizing I must have stopped for I don't know how long before that.
It was the first little blip in the day that brought my awareness to being grateful to be alive, as well as the gratitude of having an amazing dog that I knew was safe at home. As well as the gratitude to not have had to witness a dog get hit by a car. I've been there before, always a traumatic situation for everyone involved of course.
I continued on my journey on my longboard, and just as I was crossing the street, a couple was also crossing in the middle of the crosswalk leaving very little room to hit the clear gradient of the sidewalk ramp. I thought I had enough space (you can tell where this is going I know), but alas my rear right wheel caught the lip of the curb and I bit it hard forward onto my hands and right knee. I don't know if I flipped, but I could feel all my ultimate frisbee instincts kick in on high gear like I was laying out for a disc. Not near as pretty though I must say. And as my backpack re-established itself on my back and I realized what had happened a plethora of what I would have to call instincts jumped in all at the same time.
1. Retrieve board
This was number one priority it seemed once survival was quickly acknowledged as NOT being at stake. I checked for cars first, then grabbed my board as it was slowly teasing it's way into the intersection. As I think back, I'm sure everyone in traffic was watching what was going on and there was no doubt that the board was missed in the ingredient list of this surprise accident recipe.
2. Stay cool and act like nothing happened and everything is OK
After I grabbed my board I cooly dropped it onto the ground, stepped back on it and rode as if this happened all the time. Responding with a smile and a thumbs up to the woman in her car asking out her window if I was OK.
This response always floors me when I look at it after the fact (the only time I seem to have access to it) How quickly it comes into play, like it's been pre-programmed to such a great degree that I have no control over it. Like being vulnerable in front of people is somehow not allowed? I see this in kids (mine and others) all the time, and try to encourage their ability to accept help and give themselves time to feel. And here I was just tucking it away.
3. Hold on till it's safe
I knew I was but a couple of yards from work. There, there I could make some noise, cry if I needed to, let my body go through it's 'shakes', it's pain, I could acknowledge it fully and safely. Alone. There I could listen to my body and do whatever it needed me to, I promised it I would give it that space if it could just hold on for a little while longer....
4. The release
I arrived at work, turned everything on, got everything ready to be "normal". I look back at this now and find it funny that I didn't just listen to my body's needs right away. Maybe I needed to know I had no more responsibility to do other stuff, so it could have my full attention? Or maybe a part of me just wanted to believe everything was normal still. Regardless of the reason, when all was prepared for the day, alone at work I gave my body full permission to just feel and express whatever it wanted.
I was then able to surrender to what my whole body needed. I laid down and asked my body what vibration it needed and then I made that sound, then the next, and the next. Feeling better with every full exhale. Inviting in the next sound until the resonance 'felt' less discordant and more smooth.
With the love and attention I gave myself, as well as Arnika, trammel, laser, a Phil massage and Kinesiotape application it felt much better for the weekend of Ultimate I had planned since last year (thank the Gods). And again, on the fields I took a hit to the chest that rocked me, but I kept playing. That hit I still feel, that hit I didn't let myself feel at the time, because it felt more important to keep playing, to keep going like nothing happened.
I'm learning, we all are. I'm constantly acknowledging and laughing about the parts of me that respond in ways I'm not necessarily proud of, but know are a part of me. Pre-programmed importance that I may not have consciously chosen, but is inherently engrained in my instinctive responses. The most important thing I've come to realize? That it can't stop there.
I ACTUALLY LEARN BY EMBRACING AND LOVING THOSE PARTS OF ME THAT I STRUGGLE TO LOVE AND RELATE TO.
That seems to be the most powerful learning adventure of them all. It's on that journey that I keep growing, and loving and learning to BE ME more.
Hope you enjoyed the share. If you're inspired, share more of you with your world too!!
As a kid I was told I was "growing up too fast". But apart from needing new shoes often, and desperately wanting to be old enough to stay up late like adults did, it didn't really register.
I know now that that's because I had no point of reference. Because I was changing, learning and growing so much I was hurdling over my own progress constantly.
Now, as I watch my kids on their first week back to school, and I observe the virtual forest of pictures of my friends' kids in the same situation..... NOW, and only now is the surreal reality of the time and space continuum REALLY registering.
"How are you feeling about going back to school?" I ask the kids. Both of my kids responses...... "Nervous-ited".
My seven year old daughter helpfully explained to me that this was a combination of 'nervous' and 'excited'. While my nine year old son rolled his eyes, having obviously thought it preposterous to have to explain the obvious. (insert here: eyes rolling backwards and look of exasperation that only a kid can pull off well)
As I walked them to school that first day I could feel lots of emotions surface in me as well.
1. Nervous-ited for them (I remember and can easily step into that 'first day' experience in my memory)
Man I'm glad I don't have to do THAT again. A whirlwind of uncertainty, unknown and excitement all at once! But without the wealth of experience to support it. In fact, if life was like a bank account, these experiences are some of the first important fundamental investment deposits. They will one day draw from these experiences to remind themselves of their unique fortitude in times of uncertainty. All we can do as parents is be present to support them and mirror their experiences back to them when it helps to see things differently.
2. I was sad and almost teary taking a picture of them on their first day. It's one of those times that you let yourself slow down enough in a moment and be fully conscious to the plain and obvious fact: that this present moment will fly by and be a far away memory in what will later seem like a blink of the eye. A time to take a breathe and be grateful to be alive and experiencing whatever you're experiencing, because it means you are here to experience it.
3. Well you didn't think I was going to forget to mention the jubilation of being without constant responsibility did you?! I felt like skipping the whole way home! I didn't. But I'm pretty sure the smile on my face was a telling one, and between those smiles ........ a wide array of different cheerful whistling tunes....... yep, every parent around understood what that excitement was all about. (A disclaimer for the parents who's kids are struggling of course. Or, the 'Kindie separation virgins' who are having their first taste of separation from their kids. I remember that one, but for those of you in that situation you'll have to believe me when I say "It gets better/different")
I love my kids more than words could ever possibly express. I am also aware that they learn well from a diverse array of experiences, people, situations and dynamics. I love watching them go off on adventures that I know I'll probably know nothing about (because as you may know it can be torturous trying to extract info from some kids)
It's the beginning of new routines and rituals, the luxury of having space and time away from my beloved children. Space and time that will be no doubt juggled with ease and efficiency at times, and at other times pure relaxation or chaos.
Welcome to September everyone!!
May you let yourself acknowledge all the many feelings that come up in the ocean of possibilities, only to remember that you are that ocean, the sailboat, and the sky. You get to choose your response to this adventure that is life. Happy juggling!
On the way to Algonquin park for our family's annual family canoe trip last week I stumbled over (an endless tripping really) the most simple of connections....
That deep bond between a kid and their beloved stuffed animal.
I used to love to collect and play with my stuffed animals as a kid, and I'm sure most of us had some sort of connection with a toy of some sort from our childhood... But it seems that as an adult I had forgotten how important that bond can be.
Well it was on our drive to Algonquin that I was requested to do the preventative measures of sewing the ears back onto Hayden's beloved "Peanut Butter", his very favourite stuffed rabbit. They were getting loose you see, and Hayden being the cautious guy he is, didn't want them to possibly fall off, especially when we were going on an epic canoeing adventure.
I got out my sewing kit, and it was with great reluctance and through sad eyes in the car that he finally passed him to me. At that moment it struck me..... I could feel just what a big moment this was for him. I acknowledged his fears and promised him Peanut Butter would be feeling better in no time once I was done. I felt like a doctor going into surgery. A little job I didn't think anything of when I grabbed my sewing kit, had become a highly trusted role that I would have to hold the deepest space of love for. I made sure to check in with Hayden several times throughout the procedure, about how he wanted Peanut Butter's ears to stand, etc. Then...... once all was knotted and in place Peanut Butter was back to his beloved kid.
Sometimes it's the little stuff that is the biggest. The smile on Hayden's face when he was re-united with his best friend post-surgery was absolutely priceless AND warmed the deepest parts of my heart.
Oh the lessons kids show us, I am truly AND continuously grateful.
-Jules (aka rabbit plastic surgeon)
Here's Jules Hare talking about the fun that she had playing at Luna Market. We took a bunch of modelling clay and set up a table on a Friday night in front of Kitchener City Hall. All kinds of characters dropped by to play. We met a bunch of new friends. Thank you.
MAKING DECORATIONS FOR LUNA MARKET
Here's part of the Peanut Butter and Flying Taco creative team playing together and making pictures for our Luna Market imagination station. We're looking forward to seeing lots of you on Friday. We've collected some character making supplies and we're ready to hang out and see what imagination has to show us.
How often do we truly allow ourselves to BE.
Present. In the moment.
Slow down time, stand still in space, and just BE.
If it only takes a small fraction of time, why do we spend so much time NOT just BE-ING?
Just imagine.......If you're body was like a super computer with vast amounts of information streaming through it constantly. Now, imagine that you were unknowingly judging and categorizing all the downloads.
What if you just let go of control completely for just a little while, and allowed everything to download and synchronize naturally?
In a moment, I challenge you to take three big deep breaths and just let yourself be present with you, in a place of no expectations, no judgement and no rules.
Let time and space re-organize themselves around you for a change.
Ready?! .............3 ......2 ......1
Close your eyes and breathe.
Take a second now to just notice what you noticed,
let go of judgement.
(no rules, if nothing feels different that's great too)
Keep up the great PLAYING and BE-ING
The word ‘empowerment’ officially means; to give power or authority to something or someone.
Now…. think about your day….how often do you give power and/or authority to people or situations outside of yourself?
Maybe you get on the bus and ‘give power’ to the driver to get you to your destination safely.
Or maybe it’s a teacher at school, or your manager.
Sometimes the empowerment is very obvious and clear and other times you don’t even realize you’re doing it.
So much time in our day is spend noticing things AROUND us, What if we spent more time shifting the focus inwards.
Putting attention on our own
The ones deep inside
The ones that are easy, and come naturally when…..
We’re not trying! And we truly listen to our hearts…….
You don’t have to be able to jump over tall buildings, or shoot lasers out of your eyes to trust in the fact that you’re unique. You just have to believe in yourself and connect with your heart, your own access point to your INFINITE POTENTIAL.
Spend time trusting and playing with what makes you YOU.
The best part is….using your ‘super powers’ doesn’t take the power away from anyone else. In fact, it inspires others to connect and believe in their own ‘SUPER powers’ (when they’re ready).
That’s right, YOU trusting and believing in YOU will spark a world of inner power potential in everyone!!
So empower your SUPER SELF today!
And then keep on BE-ING YOU more!
Your SUPER POWERS are there to guide you, why stand in their way?!
Giving power back to play, one big kid at a time,