Imagine, Work, Enjoy.

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Don’t we all have some neatly folded fantasies in a hidden drawer somewhere? There are dreams like skinny jeans that we keep working towards, we keep trying them on.

If you are of the persuasion that what you put in is what you get out… If you believe in the law of attraction… If you could fathom that we manifest our own lives through our thought life… then you may realize how important it is to dream. To spend real time and energy focusing in on the specifics of desires and aims in life. How they will feel, taste and smell.

How clearly can you see what you want? 

What future reward drives your present work? 

A few months ago, I made a collage of four pictures of things I wanted, along with the goals that I needed to achieve in order to splurge on these rewards. Last week, I hit the first of the four. I reached 200 followers between my two blogs. (THANK YOU!) For this, I’m treating myself to a tie dye hoodie from the Mod Sun merch store. It’s a happy, colourful purchase to remind me of positivity and perseverance that pays off.

It’s a small thing, but it illustrates a clear desire , followed by the work to achieve it. There are other- more significant- rewards.

The feeling of waking up refreshed and energized after you start taking care of your health.

The pride that swells in your chest when you take another step towards your dream job.

The sound of the steel lock clicking as you open the door to your first home.

The taste of a lovingly prepared meal.

The simple contentment of being in the company of good friends who took a long time to find. 

These are all examples of things that you imagine, work to create and then enjoy.

Imagine. Work. Enjoy. 

What can your mind come up with? What outcome inspires you to wake up in the morning and get to work? Are you enjoying the process of your progress towards your dreams? 

If you are interested in learning more about manifesting what you want through visualization and action, pick up Mod Sun’s book “Did I Ever Wake Up?” or watch “The Secret.” Both are resources that I’ve used on more than one occasion and thoroughly enjoyed.

Filling a Blank Page

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Happy New Year! 

If you happened to read my last post, you’ll know Christmas was difficult. I found out afterwards that we lost not one, but two beautiful souls on Christmas eve. I am very thankful for a boyfriend who kept my head on straight at this time. It would be easy to allow the tragedy of loss to continue to affect me and bring me down. It is harder to choose joy, to choose to direct my focus to the silver linings.

There is an infinite amount of possibility in this world. To learn, to grow, to expand your mind and your life. I know so many people are annoyed with #newyearnewyou, or the commercialism attached to self-improvement targeted at January resolution makers. And I don’t believe you need a new year to make changes in your life. However, I like to see each year that rolls in as another opportunity for exploration and recreation. It’s a blank page, it’s a fresh slate, it’s another chance and we’re still around to seize it and make the life we want and be people that are kind and passionate and awesome. You can choose to see it this way or not.

This is what has filled the first moments of my blank page, 2015.

(photo cred to Mauricio Rojas Gramal)
10906180_10152562114751485_6611097625260861927_nAt the bar… we missed the countdown due to somebody falling asleep (most definitely not me)…. but we came for a drink and new years hugs at work before last call. (photo cred to Mauricio Rojas Gramal)

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Great crew to be working with on New Years! Nobody came in for dinner in my section, I didn’t serve a single beer! It was fun regardless getting ready for the party and sitting around talking with these wonderful people. 1484289_10152461247922554_6013748579192249050_n

Aw…  (photo cred to Patrick Lizotte)10704173_10152464212917554_5619597058783903926_n

We’re gross. (photo cred to Patrick Lizotte)10917903_10152464212997554_3573233975682388871_n

What happens on Skype stays on skype is most definitely stored for embarrassment on my blog or your wedding day slideshow. My sister back home is the best medicine.

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Today I’m happy. Christmas and the days following held a lot of sadness and grief, but the wind is changing. Today I felt ready to plan and dream again. I’m proud of who I am and where I’m at and anticipating wonderful adventures in 2015. This is my content, confident, nothing’s perfect but everything is alright face.

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Happy New Years everyone!

Christmas

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What an interesting Christmas.

The first in my 22 years on this planet that I am not in my little living room of my BC home.

The first without my parents. My dad is back in BC. My mom is in Ontario as her sister just passed on Christmas Eve. Though I never lived close to my aunt, I have very fond memories of all the times I spent with her growing up. She was the sweetest lady, and my heart breaks for my mom who has lost a sister. I don’t want to think of the days when I lose my two sisters.

There’s so much I have to be grateful for. However, these blessings are grandly juxtaposed with a homesick stomach, an aching heart and sporadically flooding eyes.

I’ve been up for 5 hours now, it’s Christmas morning. I went to bed before any of the kids; I was done with the day.

So, naturally, I woke up at 1 am.

It’s 7 am now. It’s a white Christmas, but we won’t see more than darkness outside for another 2 hours. The kids are up and excited to go downstairs to their stockings. I am already tired, but happy to have company now at least. Some coffee should remedy this for the time being.

I’ll keep hope for this coming year and everything that it holds. I will stay thankful and continue to work hard to get to where I want to be. I won’t take people for granted. I will say I love you more often. I will take every opportunity to do my best, to give my best, to give my all.

Merry Christmas all.

Be Present

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In an attempt to clear up some space on my hard drive, I’ve been sifting through old files. I’ve found a lot of pictures and writing that I forgot about from the past couple years. Some fun stuff, and some that I rather I hadn’t have found, given the times weren’t as rosy as they might have appeared to onlookers. Nonetheless, I like to reflect on what I’ve learned and experienced through things I’ve captured and written.

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Lately, I’ve been focusing on living by the 4 agreements. A principle laid out in a book I’ve not read, yet feel it is very useful for living a good life. The 4 agreements being…

Be impeccable with your word. Don’t make assumptions. Don’t take anything personally. Always do your best. 

Along with the practice of those things, being mindful and present as much as possible has been a game changer for me. In my digital digging tonight I came across a song I wrote last year that talks about the negative impact living according to your past (which you cannot change) or future (which you cannot predict) has on your present health and happiness.

“Can’t breathe—can’t breathe

The wind is too strong on these seas

Can’t sleep—can’t sleep

For flashback or forward

Both betray my peace”

Whether you are too focused on your past mistakes (or the mistakes of others in your past) or your eyes can only envision an ideal, future life situation that you haven’t attained… you will be robbed of your peace. You will be robbed of the joy of connecting both in relationships and to yourself. I was. For so long I was.

The idea of self and being present is so interesting to me. For one, I accept that I am unable to see myself as others see me. Even in the mirror, a reflection can easily be changed with lighting and angles and state of mind. I can look myself in the eye, and still only see a perspective of myself.

If I look in the mirror and see my failures, that affects my perspective as well. Or, I could look in the mirror and think of my potential for the future that I have to look forward too. Both scenarios don’t allow me to know my present self, or engage in my present world with peace and mindfulness.

“It’s your imperfections that make you perfect.” 

My boyfriend said this to me a couple weeks ago. Maybe it’s a little corny. Maybe we were talking about my legs that I hadn’t shaved. Regardless, it’s a perspective I’ve never been able to adapt on my own. The thought that in this moment, I’m my best self– the only self I have, the self I should be thankful for– had never crossed my mind. There was always something to be regretting or something better to be looking forward to.

What obstacles prevent you from living in the moment? How could you align your mindset with an attitude of thankfulness for the precise moment you are in? What benefits do you lose out on because you are looking forwards or backwards too much? What distractions could you eliminate that take you out of the moment?

I hope this was a helpful read for someone. I know as I practice being present I feel less anxiety, less fear… more love and more gratitude. Life is never perfect, but you’ll gain nothing by trying to fix something that is past or trying to reach something that isn’t here yet.

Do your best. Be yourself. Allow yourself to think only of the current conversation or task you are in.

Enjoy the moment. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Bliss and Chaos

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A whole month has slipped by without a single peep from me on here!

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Life is full right now- blissfully and chaotically so. The days are full of laughter, tears, new people, fresh challenges, a different job and my continual exposure to the particularities of living in a small community. I let people go and reconnected with others… I am discovering who I am in this moment in time and place in the world.

“It’s all what you make it, and you’ll make it through.” 

I haven’t been as diligent with the goals that I set for myself as I would like. In all honesty though, I’ve learned more about myself in 3 months away than I ever could have back in my West Coast comfort bubble. It’s a trade-off that I don’t feel bad about. Relationally, mentally and emotionally I’ve been challenged to change my way of thinking, reacting and problem-solving.

For me, connecting with people here has been the biggest blessing. I’ve lived the past couple years most of my life worried about making lots of friends and fitting in. Being popular and all the rest of that garbage. Having a fresh start and knowing no one’s opinion of me matters more than my own, made all the difference. I’ve been here a short time, but already I have many people who have opened up about significant parts of their life, and allowed me to do the same with them.

It’s like the saying goes- the days are long but the years are short. Hindsight comparisons of your prior and present self reveal how each little thing we do changes us.

As I was drawing in my sketch book I came across something I had scrawled on a random page.

“YOU MAKE YOU.”

My life is a constant striving for the ideal and for interesting experiences and people. I really believe that you create your own reality and that your present is a culmination of each choice you’ve made and experience you’ve had to this point. I want to make my life a magical, beautiful thing.

I’m working on it.

Are you? Do you agree that you can control how your life plays out? What used to be important, and what is important to you now?

“Whatever you do, do it good.”

I’m not done making mistakes and taking chances.

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“NOTHING GREAT IS CREATED SUDDENLY.” It was just a kitschy plaque I saw at the grocery store, but it stopped me in the aisle. If you read my blog here regularly, you know I am passionate about constantly improving and about following your dreams.

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When I was introduced to secular music for the first time, I was very influenced by Jason Mraz’s early albums like Waiting for my Rocket, Selections for Friends, and Mr. A-Z. His lyrical prowess was unlike anything I’d encountered in my sheltered musical experience. His flow, storytelling and impressive range in vocal skills made Mraz one of my favourites and remains so to this day.

I’ve been in my new home for two months (a 3,555 km move from the West Coast to an arctic island). Just before I got here I downloaded a bunch of Ed Sheeran’s stuff. Immediately, I experienced the same love of his mastery of words and sounds to tell stories. I might be late to the Sheeran party, but if you look at my iTunes you will see many of his songs show 27-35 plays (and that’s not counting any of the plays on my phone, only my computer). I listen to his stuff one at a time on repeat. There are several songs that have hit me with chills or brought me to tears on the very first listen. There have been songs that have spun me backwards and made me deal with things in my past. There are songs that give me total hope for my creative future.

Why do I love these guys?

They have lived.

I heard Take it Back for the first time today while I was out running errands. I set it up for repeat. I went and bought a coffee and walked down the rocks of the beach over faded yellow ropes and discarded seal skins to the very edge where I could feel the wind hit my face and I was as close as I could be to the water. Me and my black coffee, I closed my eyes and I could feel it all. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It just hits me. I was not discouraged by how inadequate I feel in comparison to his song writing. I feel inspired and I know the more I listen to people who are great, the closer I will get to creating something worthy of further inspiring others.

But it’s not just practice. It’s living. My favourite artists have taken chances, had rough times, had great times, they’ve gone to the university of life and that appeals to me so much. I’m 5th child after a doctor, nurse, teacher and business man. Both my parents have worked at a university. I just want to go places and meet people and keep saying yes. I’m done three years of uni, but it’s hard to think of going back when I have so much I want to do outside of expensive books and minds that are learning so much but reach the world and have no idea what they are passionate about or value. They wrap themselves in their degree and face the world, find someone who likes what they’re wearing and take a safe job to pay for their new condo and pay for the normal life they have always been expected to live.

I don’t know if I can take this route. 

I want to make more mistakes. Learn more through the people I meet. I want to get lost. I want to stay up all night talking to strangers.  I want to buy a ticket and leave with no luggage. I want to write and sing and draw everything I see. I want to extend my heart to those in need. I want to drive until I run out of gas. I want to busk. I want to photograph things that no one but me sees. I want to notice the small details of the world and bring attention to them through art and music. 

For me, there would be nothing worse than turning 30 and feeling like I settled. I am 8 years away from 30. Jason Mraz is 37, Ed Sheeran is 23. I don’t necessarily aspire to fame, but I aspire to create big things. Important or at least meaningful things. Music, writing, art, maybe movies. I want to make stuff that touches people and changes them. That makes them think, like my favourite songs, books and films have made me reconsider my assumptions.

Back to the quote I found in the grocery store at the beginning.

I found extreme joy and hope in this quote. “Nothing great is created suddenly.” There’s no pressure. It’s up to me to remain driven and focused, but I can rest in the fact that I’m on a journey that can lead to greatness with each choice I make. I can achieve what I desire with time and hustle.

What choices do you wish you made? Is it really too late to make them now? What’s holding you back from taking the risks that could change your life?

Here’s the full quote: 

“Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig. I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” -Epictetus

What is the proverbial fig in your life? Are you rushing too much in hopes of ripening it faster? How are you developing your passions and skills to harvest a sweet fig at the end of your hard work?

Before Sunrise (1995)

Film, Thoughts

I re-watched what I might venture to name my favourite movie last night. Before Sunrise follows the meeting of two young strangers on a train. They spend a night walking and talking through Vienna. Their conversations are honest and equally hopeful and skeptical. They ask the questions we have all felt inside, but perhaps not voiced. It’s a philosophical look at life and love through the eyes of two young adults who make a chance connection. 

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Here are some of my favourite quotes from the movie: 

On parental influences…

“I could never get very excited about other people’s ambitions for my life.” -Jesse 

On the death of the young…

“Now I’m ten years older, and she’s still 13, I guess.”-Celine

On the magic inside of us… 

“Everything we know is stardust. So don’t forget, you are stardust!” -Palm Reader

On God…

“If there was any kind of God, he wouldn’t be in anyone. Not in you, or me… but just in the little space in between.” -Celine

On dancing… 

“I like the idea of dancing being a common function in life: something everyone participates in.” -Celine

On life as a process and journey… 

“It’s nearly impossible to succeed… but who cares, really? The answer must be in the attempt.” -Celine

On time… 

“Everything is so finite. That’s what makes our time and specific moments so important.” -Jesse 

Apart from the piercing conversation, I love the simple cinematography. It in no way detracts from the dialogue (which is what I believe to be the best part of this film, without question). Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy take this beautiful screenplay and really own it. I could watch it over and over again. 

This movie was followed up with two sequels, Before Sunset (2004) and Before Midnight (2012), (using Hawke and Delpy again) both equally as open about the real issues that come up when you’ve chosen someone to love. 

If you decide to watch this movie, go into it with an open mind, a notebook and a quiet environment. Every time I watch it, I find myself with more thoughts and questions. I find more quotes that penetrate my heart and cause me to examine the way I view the world. 

“Bye.”

“Goodbye.”

“Au Revoir.”

“Later.”

-Celine/Jesse

To See

Love, Thoughts

I remember the words of my art teacher in my first year of university. 

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The landscape here in Iqaluit is amazing. The tundra rolls as far as you can see, lichen-covered rocks jutting out everywhere, explosions of purple arctic fireweed (which, I am going to try to make tea with!). 

I’m grateful for those words, and those lessons. Even more so since having aged and experienced a few more years in my life, progressed in my mental clarity… I feel like I see more. The light is a little brighter to me, the flowers more fluid and the changing terrain more enticing for exploration. Even the litter which can be found in crevices and nooks along the tundra is interesting for my eyes to cross. 

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Outside my house, there is a lot of construction going on, as new houses are being built around ours. As it was Sunday today, there was nobody on the lot, and as I walked back from a little adventure on the tundra, I noticed this shadow on some of the heavy equipment. A heart shadow. 

Maybe most would walk right past it.

But my eyes are ready and my brain is receptive to everything. 

So what are you missing in your hurry, in your worry? We’re all in such a rush, that nothing is in focus. What opportunities have you missed because of an inability to recognize them as such?

What a gift it is to see, let’s make the most of it. 

To hear more about my move up to Baffin Island, check out my vlog about Moving to Northern Canada. 

peace, 

J.

Know Thyself

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After 30 minutes of unsuccessfully attempting to sleep (thanks, coffee), I started writing…

I like black socks over white socks, and I know nothing about the Red Sox… or any other sports team for that matter, though I like to watch sports and have played most of them at some point.

I love to be active, but also enjoy movies and TV. My favourite actors are: Tom Hanks, Robin Williams and Ethan Hawke. Good Morning Vietnam, Before Sunrise and Spirited Away are a few of my favourite films.

I can’t pass up a chance to see a band play live and I count the few concerts I’ve been to as highlights in my life. I’ve seen Ray Lamontagne, City and Colour, The Lumineers (2x). As well as a slew of Christian bands at conferences and coffee shop performances from my youth group days. On my list to see: John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Kings of Leon, Cake, Muse, Young the Giant, Metric, and Mod Sun among many others. I plan to go to Coachella, Sasquatch, Squamish Music Festival and the New Orleans Jazz Festival.

I like to be surprised but I hate to be unprepared.

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If you have dreams or want to hear about mine, I could probably talk to you for hours. I love to spend time with people, but mostly those who are closest to me… I also need me time, every day, to feel sane. Time to write, take care of myself, check things off my endless to-do lists, exercise.

I am terrible at going to bed at a decent hour and just as lousy at getting up early. My snooze button and I are in a seriously committed relationship. Once I fall asleep, I’m good, but I hate to call an end to the day, and find my most productive hours are in the middle of the night when people are asleep. Then I can hear myself think… that, or listen to Harry Potter audio books while I get work done.

I’ve tried to be vegan, vegetarian, paleo… I’m always reading about the best foods, diet, and lifestyle to be my best. Currently, I’m working on eating vegan about 80% of the time. That’s a good start for me, and I feel good about making less of an impact on the environment and contributing less to the inhumane slaughtering of animals and the wasteful practices of mass food production. I’m not an extremist; I will happily listen to anyone’s food philosophy as I’m still forming my own.

I love to people watch and the audio version of people watching- otherwise known as eavesdropping. I’m inspired by the snippets of other people’s lives that I catch at the grocery store, restaurants, in the street.

I want to make a difference in this life. Even if I am not remembered by many, I want at least one person to say when I am gone that their life would not have been what it was without something I did for them or said to them.

I like to sing. A lot. I don’t usually share this with people. As a perfectionist who has been near many people who I consider to be great singers, it’s always been difficult to step out in this area for me.

My eyes look brown, but they have a ring of green on the outside. My mom has brown eyes and my dad has green. It makes me happy that I got some of both.

I struggled with low self-esteem all of my teenage years. I always felt out of place because I compared myself to others… my skin wasn’t as clear, my clothes weren’t as expensive, I wasn’t excelling in the areas I thought I ought to… all silly reasons. My 21st year has been by far the best, and I feel like I am more confident and comfortable with myself than ever.

I will always be a dreamer.

I have a bad habit of mumbling comments and jokes when I am not sure of their laughter value.

I’m overly analytical, and I don’t mind. It makes me a good critical thinker and problem solver.

I love peppermint and hate spearmint.

Looking at photographs from middle school and high school makes me cringe. Then laugh. My favourite pictures of myself are either from my childhood- my mom took a lot of me and my siblings- and from various trips (California, Florida, Ottawa, France, Italy) I’ve taken over the years. Two things that make me happiest are being with family, and travelling to new places.

My favourite flowers are sunflowers and peonies.

Pizza is almost a guaranteed mood-booster in my books. In my opinion, pineapple and olives have no place on pizza.

I’m a gemini and I have come to appreciate and even seek out the dualism that is ever present in life. I’m adaptable and ever changing. I can be impulsive, but rarely act without thinking… Rather, I think a lot then act quickly so as not to lose my nerve. I think there are always (at least) two sides to every story. I am a good listener.

I am a free-spirit. I am passionate. Never apathetic. I feel with my whole being.

I need sun in my life, summer is my favourite season. I like running in the rain.

These are the things that make me who I am. There are many more experiences, qualities and preferences that I haven’t listed obviously, but these are the first to come to mind. The journey of self discovery is an exciting one. With it, the discovery of my place in the world around me, is just as fun.

Do you know yourself? What makes you unique? What dreams and ambitions do you hold close? What are you passionate about? 

 

♪ Midweek Jams: MAGIC! Rude ♪

Music, Thoughts

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Our choices are incredibly powerful! We don’t get to choose the family we are born into, but we get to choose our friends, and who we love. Are the people around you positive? Are they uplifting you? Do they support you? Are you in mutually beneficial relationships that involve give and take, compromise and appreciation?

This song caught my attention on the radio, and I recently looked up the music video and fell in love even more.

Choosing who you love and who you let into your life can have huge implications on who you become. They say you are the average of the 5 people you hang out with most. You need people who support you, who aren’t afraid to give you some constructive criticism and disagree with you, people to have fun with, people to grow with. You may not find all of these things in every relationship. However, there are a ton of people in the world; you don’t need to waste your time being dragged down by those who constantly put you down, pressure you to be someone you are not, or look for ways to sabotage you.

“I’m gonna marry her anyway..”

There’s something about this song that I just love. The video makes me really happy, the way the guy dances. But I love that he knows what he wants, and he isn’t letting the disapproval of the dad change what he’s made up his mind to do. I don’t see it as an issue of disrespect of that coveted parental blessing, but rather as an act of freedom and love and choosing who you want in your life. I think it is beautiful.