Practical Magic for Soul Liberation

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Sometimes it's serious, sometimes it's silly, but it's always the truth.

Mostly, I share my stories and the wisdom gained from my own journey, in hopes that it helps you on yours.

Be Careful What You Wish For
(Our Boring Summer - The Epilogue)

make a wish

Yep, it’s September!  Back to school and all the rest of it.  Except for this time, it feels a little (or a lot) different around here.

Back in June, I wrote about how we planned on having a boring summer, free of major commitments or big plans.  One where aside from regular work duties, we did a whole lot of whatever we felt like, whenever we felt like it.  One where our kids would have to find ways to occupy themselves without constantly being shuttled to day camps or other activities.

When we decided to do this, it was mostly because we were spent.  We needed a break from several years worth of juggling too many commitments and having too much on our plates.  We just couldn’t fathom another summer that felt like an extension of the busy-ness of the rest of the year.  And although we’d already taken some steps to say no to a lot of things that wanted our time and attention, it just wasn’t enough.  Once you get a taste of that kind of liberation, you want more.  Also, with me working at home, it didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense to us (financially or otherwise) to send our kids off to camps all summer.

It turns out that we got a lot more than we bargained for.  Sure we got more down time than we’ve ever had.  Which was the point.  But what we weren’t expecting is that the last few months have been kind of like hitting the re-set button for our family in so many ways.  We never anticipated it, but we’re all feeling pretty damn good about it right now.

Here's what happened...

Things I Learned In The Last 24 Hours

NukaCola.3

Proof of hand stenciled logo before it disappeared. 
No, I wouldn't win Cake Wars, but it was there.

You ever notice how sometimes days or weeks go by and everything is status quo?  Just rolling along and minding your own business.  One foot in front of the other and all that.  Then one day, BAM!  The universe starts throwing all kinds of flotsam and jetsam in your path to see if you’re paying attention?  To see if you aren’t just wandering through life half asleep?

Well that just happened to me…. Again.  I say again, because it happens to me more often than I’d like.  But the point is, it just happened.  Sometimes it’s o.k., sometimes it sucks and sometimes I don’t get the joke (the universe has a weird sense of humour).  But if nothing else, when these wake-up calls happen, I usually learn a ton, or remember stuff I had forgotten.

To illustrate, here are some things that were ‘brought to my attention’ in the last 24 hours...

Here We Go Again!

afterstorm

I got the call just after 3:30 a few Tuesdays ago. I’m not sure if it’s because on some level I was expecting the other shoe to drop, or because around here, we are no strangers to upheaval and surprises of the, ‘not always warm fuzzy’ variety, but my reaction was underwhelming. Bordering on nonchalant even.

“I just got let go,” he said.

Pause while the thought, “So this is how it’s gonna be eh universe?” runs through my head.

“Wow. I’m really sorry. Are you o.k.?”

His reaction, equally as underwhelming, “Yeah, I’m fine actually. Maybe a little surprised, but really o.k. I’ll stop at the grocery store on the way home and I’ll fill you in more when I get there.”

When we hung up, deep breath, long exhale, and out loud this time, “Well then, here we go again I guess.”

Another life change. Another new beginning.

What Introverts Want the Rest of You to Know


What Introverts Want the Rest of You to Know - Lara Newell-Barrette, Life coach e-courses Small Town Big Life,

There are many people in my life that have known me since I was a kid, and I bet it surprises a lot of them when I profess to being an introvert. In fact, when I first started realizing this about myself several years ago, it kinda surprised me too! If you want to split hairs, I may actually fall under the definition of ‘ambivert’, which is a new term used to describe people who fall somewhere in the middle of the introvert/extrovert scale. Nevertheless, I have some major introvert tendencies and the older I get, the more they seem to take hold.

I’ve talked to a lot of introverts over the last while. It seems that I’m increasingly drawn to fellow introverts and that a lot of these people are ‘my tribe’. When you lean more towards the extrovert end of the scale, or you don’t recognize your own introvert tendencies, it can be hard to understand introverts. They can seem kind of aloof, disconnected, uncaring, too serious, quirky or even downright weird. Most of that is really not the case at all (except maybe the quirky/weird part).

In fact, the more introverts I connect with, the more I realize how totally misunderstood a lot of us folk are. So in an effort to bridge the gap and foster human relations just a little, I figured I would dedicate this post to offering up a list of things that those of us who are more introvert than extrovert, want the rest of you to know. Of course, I can’t speak for all introvert-type people, but based on my own experience and conversations with others who lean towards introversion, these are some pretty common traits.

So Many Deep Breaths &
What Do You People Think I Do Around Here All Day?

yogafingercropped


Today I am teetering on the edge of an all out adult temper tantrum. I can feel it bubbling up every time someone asks me a question, needs help, or bolts into the room spewing a random thought. Like, do you really have to say ALL the things that are in your head out loud?

Every time I hear a knock at the door, the phone ring, or my notifications go off, I am one step closer to losing it. If one more person needs a piece of me today, if one more distraction or interruption happens, I fear, it won’t be pretty.

So many deep breaths. So, so many. I keep reminding myself that I love working from home. Which I do. I love it so hard I could marry it. Except I’m already happily married, and except on those occasions when I have been trying for days to get something accomplished and I just can’t seem to scrape together 10 measly fucking minutes of uninterrupted time. Like today. Or yesterday for that matter.

A Message From The Fireflies

firefliesroad

I live in Northern Ontario where we are fortunate enough to enjoy being surrounded by nature. When I was a kid in the summer, we spent a lot of time outdoors because you have to capitalize on the few months of summer that we get. Our summer vacations were spent mostly at camp (what some of you call the cottage/lake house/cabin depending on where you live). Our cousins had a camp just down the road and we were constantly going back and forth at all hours.

At night, when we walked the dirt road, we would see fireflies flickering everywhere. There were no street lights of course, just some camps on one side, and a whole lot of forest on the other. It was dark. Really dark. So seeing the fireflies always made me feel safe. They were a glimmer of light in the pitch black night. Sometimes, we would even catch them in jars and use them as our own personal flashlights for awhile, before releasing them back to nature.

As the years passed, the fireflies disappeared. It was disappointing, but eventually, I got used to not seeing them anymore. Apparently, so did a lot of other people. Those of us who grew up being fascinated by fireflies, resigned ourselves to the fact that our kids would likely not experience the same magic on a summer’s night.  Fireflies, also called lighting bugs, are found all over the world and according to my google search, this decline in sightings has occurred everywhere. The culprits are thought to be development and light pollution.

Almost 40 years later, I have my own camp and my sister has one down the road. So again, cousins spend many a summer day and night going between one camp and the other. And this year, something really cool is happening....

How To Keep Your Relationship Thriving After 21 Years

Freedom

Tomorrow is our Anniversary. We’ve been married for 21 years. As you may know if you’ve been around here for awhile, we got engaged after dating for exactly 29 days. We married the year after and the rest, as they say, is history.

21 years, two kids and a WHOLE lot of crazy shit later, our relationship is still thriving. In fact, it’s more solid and sacred than ever. We’re in it for the long haul and although every day isn’t perfect, we seem to have this whole marriage/committed relationship thing figured out.

There’s a whole lot of relationship advice out there already, and I don’t claim to be an expert (like not even a little), but I can share what’s worked for us and maybe it’ll work for you too.

(Editor’s note: Although I wrote this post, Sean read and approved every word. Cause like I said, we kind of have this whole thing figured out pretty well.)

Summer Reads For Kids

From My Bookworms to Yours

book stack.cropped

Our family reads a lot.  In fact, I’m pretty sure we spend more money on books in this house than almost anything else that isn’t a total necessity.  Actually, scratch that… books ARE a necessity in our world. I would rather buy books than just about anything…except maybe food.  We do buy a lot of our books because there are certain ones we like to own for re-reading, or we pass them on to family and friends.  Sometimes, when we run out of shelf space, we do a bit of a de-cluttering and donate books to the library or other places so other folks can enjoy them.  But really, there’s no need to spend oodles of cash on books.  You can find tons of great reads at your local library and we do that sometimes too.

I love that our kids are bookworms.  I think it’s because they’ve grown up in a house full of books, where it’s been our routine since they were born, to read to them at night.  Sean and I alternate between kids.  One night he reads to Evan and I read to Marley, the next night we switch.  Very few things interfere with that routine except sometimes weekends, special occasions, or a rare night out.  If one of us is away for the evening, the remaining parent and two kids will crawl into bed and read together.  Then everyone goes off to their own rooms and reads some more.  When it’s time for lights out, we often hear appeals of, 'Just one more chapter, pleeeeeaaase" Or, "But I HAVE to know what happens next!" There have even been tears when we finish a particularly good book or series, because as Evan says, “When it’s over, you kinda feel like you’re losing people you care about.”

Nightly reading has become such a part of our family routine, that I can’t even imagine how I’ll cope when the day comes that they decide they no longer want mom or dad to read to them.  I had no trouble sending them off to kindergarten, and I suspect I’ll deal with the transition to high school just fine too…but the thought of them not wanting me to read to them anymore, gets me a little choked up. Sniff.

I Think I Found My Niche &
The Experts Aren't Gonna Like It

egg smiles


I’ve been reading a lot of stuff lately that talks about the importance of finding your niche in business. In fact, in my line of work, that’s like rule #1. The experts all tell you, if you want to establish an online presence, attract readers to your blog, students to your courses, clients to your practice, or just generally be successful at what you do, you have to have a niche (“a specialized segment of the market, for a particular product or service”). Sounds serious right? Experts are always so serious.

These experts also want to give you a ton of advice as to how you should go about finding your niche. You know, ‘best practices’ and all. It makes me want to either nod off or run screaming when I hear people start blathering on about stuff like, ‘your ideal client profile or better yet, ‘avatar’, social media target strategy, call to action, Google/Facebook/Instagram analytics, conversion rates, search engine optimization, blah, blah, blah....  Hell, it took me forever to even realize that my blog would loosely be categorized as a 'lifestyle blog'.  Who knew?

Seriously people! Who talks like that in real life? Not me, and you know why? Because I’m a normal fucking human being (well, relatively speaking), and normal humans don’t talk like that! At least not the ones I know. Sheesh!

We Plan To Have A Boring Summer 

            and I Can't Wait!

feet in grass

Remember when you were a kid and you looked really forward to summer?  You couldn’t wait for the bell to ring on that last day of school so you could run out those doors and spend two whole months doing whatever the heck you felt like.  The world was your oyster!  No commitments, no homework, just hanging with your friends and doing whatever you were in the mood to do.  Sometimes that meant doing absolutely nothing.   Sometimes...  it even meant being bored.

As adults, most of us would do just about anything to have one day of boredom to look forward to.  The work doesn’t end just because it’s summer.  In fact, depending on your circumstance, it could be an even busier time for you.  These days, with both parents working, or single parents having to do it all on their own, and fewer people having family close by who are willing or able to help out with kids, it can be downright chaotic.  Summer camps need booking well in advance to ensure you get a spot, not to mention the added cost of putting your kids in these programs or finding and paying for child care, if your kids aren’t old enough to be home alone. 

Even when families do have holidays, there is so much emphasis on having to do something special with that precious ‘quality time’.  All the planning, expense, packing, travelling, sight seeing, visiting, etc. can be super stressful.  We can end up feeling like we need a holiday to recover from our holiday!