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One of my favourite months of the year is at its conclusion, making way for my birthday month. I think it’s because I was born under the dynamic, dramatic Leo sign that I still get silly-excited about the approach of my birthday. I don’t usually plan any extravagant celebrations, preferring instead to spend the day with my family. I look upon birthdays as the start of a new personal year, with new possibilities and potential.

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July is another exciting month, with two personal reasons for celebration: our anniversary and our eldest son’s birthday. Over the past month, I have explored my idea of balance at work and at home and revisited my manifesto of personal high standards.

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I nudged myself out of my comfort zone and humbly (and literally) fell before my old foe: Fear. My first indoor skydiving experience reminded me to treat myself with compassion and befriend that shadow self, allowing myself to re-frame my experience and pave a more positive road into future stories.

With the help of my children, I reconnected with my own inner child through colouring books on a rainy day. Rainy days always inspire me, transporting me back into my childhood and bringing with them cozy memories of overcast days that warmed my heart.

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And of course, we took advantage of the beautiful summer sunshine and enjoyed the beach, leading into a serendipitous beach-hopping and treasure-finding journey.

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To celebrate the start of August, we are headed back to the beach.

What are your highlights from the month of July? I hope you’re enjoying a great season, whether you’re soaking in the summer sunshine or cozying up to the cooler winter weather in the southern hemisphere.

You can connect with us on our journey by signing up to our newsletter (on the right-hand side of this page). I would also love for you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and tsu in-between blog editions.

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I woke up this morning with Madonna’s ‘Rain’ playing in my head.

 

It’s 32 degrees in Toronto today. With the humidity in the air, it feels more like 38 degrees. Although I don’t want to complain about the long-awaited summer, at this point, I think it’s fair to say that we need a break from the heat. The west coast especially needs some rain after the long draught. I must issue a disclaimer here to say that I am a person who thoroughly enjoys rainy weather. I am inspired by rainy weather as some of my fondest memories are of events that occurred on overcast days. Here are a few of those rainy childhood memories. One of these was written several months ago for a writing class; I wrote the other two earlier today:

 

I am alive in October, ready to record the rise in the wind. It’s because of the leaves and their candy colours, inviting me into the damp days of my childhood, walking under a giant umbrella with my mom, beautiful and elegant in her high-heeled boots and a wool coat. Even amidst the grey wet streets, the leaves seem to sparkle out at me, making me feel cozy inside my dirty pink puffy jacket. The wind and rain of October bring with them a sense of comfort, the comfort of my mom’s warm hand inside her sleek leather glove, holding mine, hidden in a knitted wool mitten. For once, we don’t rush to get me to school in the early morning. Instead, we stroll along the street and we smile. October is the warmest month in my calendar.

My grandmother and I run down the neighbourhood street, holding hands and giggling, enjoying the cooling rainy shower after a stifling hot day. I am spending the lazy summer days on the balcony of her second-storey apartment, seated in a soft-backed chair with my feet resting on a stool before me, eating peaches so ripe that the sweet nectar runs down my chin, the bright yellow juice stains spreading across the bodice of my new white dress. On the balcony’s ledge, even Babushka’s lavender bell flowers appear sleepy in spite of their effort to stay bright and cheerful. She waters them every morning and evening, caressing them tenderly with her soft, graceful hands that have so much love to give. In the evening, the breeze picks up suddenly while Babushka and I are out for a walk in the neighbourhood, stopping to admire the fragrant, bright flowers that adorn the front yards of street-level apartments of the high-rise apartment buildings. She tells me the air smells like rain. Moments later, a tiny drop lands on the tip of my nose, as if in confirmation and mischievous warning of the inevitable. And then we run, skipping over puddles on our way to the nearest overhang in front of an entrance to an apartment building. The sandals on our feet are soggy, our toes quickly starting to slip. We hold hands to support each other, and through the rolling laughter, I forget that I am running with a woman who is some 50 years older than me. I am running with a pretty fairy, as light as feather, pulling me gently by the hand. I imagine we are floating through the air, our feet pedalling above the cooling asphalt. Breathlessly, she laughs and tells me how much she loves rainy weather. I smile back at her mischievous eyes and we pause for a moment before starting to run again, our laughter echoing through the street.

The school bell rings and I sigh in relief, picking up my backpack and umbrella, quietly slipping out of the classroom and through the school’s front gate, crowded with other children awaiting their rides. I look forward to walking home alone through a park of towering Eucalyptus trees. It’s my usual daily route to walk with several friends on our way to and from school. In the rain, however, I know I will be alone with the sound of wet drops tapping on my umbrella and my rubber boots splashing in puddles. I politely decline my friend’s father’s offer for me to join my friend and her brother in the backseat of the car for a lift home, and without stopping to consider the puzzled expressions on their faces, I turn away to escape into my own experience. I crave solitary soggy walks, followed by changing into a cozy sweater at home, then sitting down by the window with a book and a mug of steaming tea.

How do you feel about rain? Does it inspire you? Does it bring out feelings of melancholy? Does it make you want to put on yellow rubber boots and go dancing through puddles? Leave a comment to share your story with me!

 

Thank you for sharing this edition with other rain-lovers. 

Balance

I have been writing about adventure and spontaneity. Lest you think that the adjectives ‘adventurous’ and ‘spontaneous’ can easily be used to describe me on a regular basis, I thought I would offer some perspective on balance.

Do we make ourselves too busy? Do we choose busy lives for ourselves? Perhaps, in some cases, that is true. Many people are not able to sit still for longer than 10 minutes without being able to keep their minds or hands occupied. However, that is not the type of busy lifestyle to which I am referring. I am after a balance that allows me to focus fully on everything I undertake, at my ‘9 to 5’ job, at home with my family, and in the yoga studio. That kind of balance means that some days are extremely busy (there, I used that word), but we can choose to make the opportunity to rest in-between the meetings and tasks on our ‘to do’ list. There are days when I go through the motions or work fast to tackle the never-ending list. And then, I remind myself to slow down.

On most days, I have a packed schedule. Yet, I do not normally feel busy or overwhelmed. Every day, I practise compartmentalizing, giving my full attention to the task before me — still, meditation continues to be a challenge some days. Life inevitably moves at a fast pace. I used to resist that pace, worrying that I would become too caught up in the current. I now know the value of choice. I have a choice to spend a Sunday afternoon cleaning my home, as I did today. At other times, I set aside my responsibilities, clear up my schedule and live up to the adjectives that many use to describe me: calm, peaceful, and adventurous. Beneath this exterior, I flow with the sway, shake and wobble that dances within me. Life is turbulent, ebbing and carrying us with the rumbling current. Perhaps it might be time to learn to float on the dancing, swaying waters.

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Sixteen years ago, on July 17th, we went on our first date. I was 16; he was 19. By our second date, four days later, it was clear to us both that we were quickly falling for each other as we strolled through a west-end neighbourhood. Seven years later, on July 22nd, we exchanged our official vows in a landmark Toronto wedding location just down the street from where we first enjoyed getting to know each other, listening to each other’s stories, fascinated by our differences and wondering about common personality traits. Now, 16 years later, we celebrate nine years of marriage and 16 years of deep connection.

 

The story we share feels older than its 16 years. Our history reaches farther back, in a strange, transcendental way that feels comforting and familiar. Throughout that time, we have faced challenges sprinkled among the highlights, the pivotal moments that allowed us to grow closer together while growing up as individuals. I once wondered whether we have much in common. Now, I know that we grew into our own potential with each other’s help, supporting each other along the way, and never missing an opportunity to embark on adventures.

 

I debated with myself back and forth about whether I should publish the following list. My hesitation was twofold: the list contains personal information; I don’t want to make the impression that I am trying to educate anyone through what might sound like fail-proof success tips. Every person, couple, and marriage is different. Other couples’ circumstances may be very different from ours. This list is simply to highlight what has been working for us, based on our own opinions. I would love for you to share your own tips in the comments below.

  1. Remembering our roots.

Before we became a couple, we each had our own history. That history shaped me to be the person with whom my husband fell in love. We must never lose ourselves or sacrifice our personalities within a partnership. That’s why it’s important to continue…

  1. Growing individually, exploring personal interests, and taking care of ourselves by spending time alone.

In my teens, I spent my ‘alone’ time working on my fashion design portfolio (sketching and sewing), practising yoga, freelance writing for local newspapers, painting, taking vocal lessons, and reading as much fantasy fiction as I could. Pawel spent his time designing and building robots and reading Greek mythology (he also enjoyed reading robotics manuals, but don’t tell him I said that). We continue to cultivate our personal interests and they have evolved. These days, I continue to read, knit, write, and practise yoga. Pawel continues to work on electronics, create woodworking projects, and experiment with various other creative projects that are currently top-secret. Self-care is important to us and we each have our own way of nourishing ourselves. By doing so, we continue to cultivate our own self-education while becoming more interesting, better partners for each other.

  1. Sharing our passions and ideas with each other.

We respect our personal interests because they allow us to explore our creativity, working in parallel, bouncing ideas off each other. I am in awe of the ideas constantly simmering in Pawel’s brain. Mine are more abstract, philosophical, and we enjoy challenging each other to think spherically.

  1. Making time for each other.

As working parents, we noticed several years ago just how easy it is to allow the regular date night tradition to slide. Since then, we dedicate one night per week to a casual date at home. Usually, it’s nothing extravagant. We have a special dinner with the kids and then either watch a movie, work on a puzzle together, or simply sit and chat over drinks and snacks. Upholding this tradition reminds us that no matter what comes up, as it inevitably will, we both must make an effort.

  1. Celebrating small successes.

Life can be full of crap moments / days / weeks. If we lose sight of what is most important, it’s incredible how quickly we can tumble down a dark hole out of which it’s difficult to get out. So, we must continue to focus on gratitude toward the basics, celebrating the beautiful people and moments that are most important in our lives.

  1. Supporting each other.

Dark times are inevitable. Those are the times when I need my husband to be by my side, listening to me without judgment, simply acknowledging my challenges and holding compassionate space. Sometimes, my challenges seem incomprehensible to my husband. As an INTJ, he is cerebral, logical, and brutally honest. As an INFP, I am idealistic, sensitive and emotional. When it feels like we don’t speak the same language, I sometimes need to be specific about how I want to be treated, in what way I need him to support me. I refuse to be quiet about it. The silent treatment never serves anyone.

  1. Honestly telling each other when we feel that an idea is a bad one.

At other times, I need my logical husband to look at me and tell me honestly that my idea sucks. I have been known to act from an emotional space that sometimes gets me in trouble. At those times, he is my anchor, providing me with a different vantage point, keeping me grounded. There are times when his behaviour is less than ideal and I remind him to tone things down. The important factor here is to hold space for each other and be open to advice that might not naturally appeal to us.

  1. Cutting each other some slack.

… On the other hand, sometimes we need to go easy on ourselves and each other, letting mistakes slide. INFPs are good at living and letting other people live the way they will. Sometimes, we’re too good at it, to the point of ignoring certain faux pas. I don’t like to be the nagging wife. I don’t enjoy constantly reminding someone to do something. There are times when I ignore dirty dishes in the sink, realizing that Pawel may have gotten distracted with a creative project, or is simply feeling tired. Either I will do the dishes myself or they will get done, eventually. Sometimes, the best choice is to take no action.

  1. Remembering that disagreements are inevitable, and keeping an open mind.

There are times when we don’t see eye to eye on a certain subject. We argue about it and either reach a mutual decision, or we agree to disagree without holding grudges. The most important factor here is whether the point about which we disagree is truly crucial to our partnership. If it isn’t, we allow each other space to hold our own opinions with no harm to anyone.

    10.   Remembering that dull times are inevitable.

Some days are mundane. There is no excitement and nothing happens beyond work, laundry, food preparation, cleaning, bedtime routines, morning routines, etc. And that’s okay. Pawel has taught me to be grateful for the ordinary days, for the smooth routines that we have developed, focusing on our health and wellbeing and leaving excitement to another time.

11.  Celebrating the moments/days/weeks that are thrilling, exciting, and passionate.

We must never, ever overlook anything important! Whether it’s our children’s first independent steps, an award that one of us received, or a new blog post published. We do our best, together, to commemorate all those moments, no matter how small. Someday, they will be the memories to which we will return to brighten our days.

12.   Allowing space for adventure, creating new memories together.

My parents used to take me and my younger sister on adventure outings. We enjoyed driving in a general chosen direction without planning anything specific. Once, we ended up on a beach after dark. The full moon shining on the sun-warmed water of the Mediterranean Sea illuminated the sand and on it, a pile of my parents’ clothing. Before my sister and I realized what was happening, we saw our parents run into the water, wearing only their underwear! We had not planned to go to the beach and did not bring swimsuits with us. As an 11-year-old, I felt mortified to watch my parents run into the water, giggling like teenagers. My four-year-old sister followed suit, deciding that my parents were not allowed to have fun without her. I sat on the sand, shaking my head, looking left and right at the several other lone couples enjoying a romantic evening on the beach, secretly thinking that I, too, would have loved to splash in the warm moonlit sea. Today, this memory of my family is one of my fondest. Times have changed, but I loved seeing the moonlit joy on the faces of my parents and my sister. Now, in our 30s, Pawel and I are the ones creating fun adventures for our kids, some of which do not impress them but just might become fond ones in the future.

13.   Seeing each other through newlyweds’ eyes.

After sixteen years together, it’s easy for a partnership to become too familiar, based on friendship and lacking a spark of romance. In eastern philosophy, there is a lesson about learning to experience our world through the eyes of a newborn / beginner. Applied to marriage, I enjoy practising seeing my husband as though for the very first time, really looking at him, studying his forever smiling eyes and the fine lines around them that show his kindness beneath a hint of childlike mischief. I look at his hardworking hands, adorned with calluses and two rings: his wedding band and the symbolic iron ring worn by engineers in North America. I study him as though seeing him before me for the first time. I listen to his deep, soothing voice, smile at his silly sense of humour, and pretend that we are just now getting to know each other for the first time. The result is incredible as time and time again, I continue to fall in love in a new way.

I’m sure that I am missing entire categories in this list, and without giving away too many personal details, I’ll leave the list at this.

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Every couple is different. Each relationship is different. If there is anything you would like to add about your own important lessons for a successful marriage, please feel free to do so in the comments below.

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In childhood, I did my best to live by the rules, but I have been known to be bored easily and start to push boundaries. I continue to seek challenges, allowing myself to grow, to think outside the box. I’m learning to colour outside the lines, to bend the rules slightly without trying to hide my intentions from anyone but while reconnecting to an old favourite hobby. It’s a hobby that I buried away somewhere on a shelf far away in the library of my childhood.

When I was about five years old, there was a small bookstore on a plaza near our home. I would go into the store just to browse books, to walk between the aisles, look at the shelves and sniff inconspicuously at the scent of freshly printed ink on crisp paper that filled the shop. I lingered near the colouring book section, gingerly reaching for a new book that I had not seen before and flipping through the pages it contained. My fingers itched to return home with the book and sit at a table with my freshly sharpened pencils. The thrill of creating something new was overwhelming. Sometimes, my mom would buy a book for me, providing me with hours of inspiration as I ventured into my imagination with each new page on which I worked diligently. My mom, in turn, received the opportunity to enjoy a few quiet hours while getting some work done at home.

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Colouring books for adults have been trending as of late, with pictures containing finer, more intricate details. It turns out that children are not the only ones who are calmed by the activity. I chose to pick up such a book recently in order to allow myself an opportunity to connect with my children. While they sit at the kitchen table and colour, I do the same. Recently, on a rainy Sunday, my eldest and I sat together, each working on our own colouring page. I chose a beautiful mandala design and intuitively picked at the soft pastel colouring pencils, allowing myself to be guided toward the colours that I was to use. Instead of colouring certain shapes the way I normally would have, some 27 years ago, I chose to draw hearts inside the lines. I’m quietly starting to rebel while staying within the confines of my comfort zone, following the rules I intuitively set for myself.

In fact, simply colouring inside the lines allows us to focus on one task at a time, working with colour harmony. At other times, doing something slightly radical, venturing outside the familiar, is therapeutic. I might choose to continue doing things the traditional way, but I’m slowly giving myself permission to experiment with the limitless possibilities.

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What calming hobbies did you enjoy in childhood? Would you consider returning to them to try them through an adult’s perspective?

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After our indoor skydiving experience, Mr. Wanderlust and I had the rest of the day wide-open before us. We had previously arranged for the children to stay with Pawel’s parents for several days, to the boys’ delight. The afternoon was full of possibility.

Although we sometimes go out on dates in the evenings or for a few hours in the middle of the day, it’s highly unusual for us to have a full day to spend at leisure. When we first started dating, we used to spend an entire afternoon wandering around the city. A bit of an insider story for Torontonians: we once started our walking journey near Yonge and Sheppard, turned west at Yonge and Bloor, and continued walking all the way to Keele Station. That’s approximately 17 km, or a three-hour walk, but we didn’t notice the passing of the time. We share a passion for touring cities by foot, and being tourists in our own city can be surprisingly fun!

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So, what were we to do at 2 p.m. on this beautiful, sweltering afternoon?

“Let’s go to the Burlington waterfront,” I suggested, and we did.

Following a wholesome lunch at a vegan restaurant, the beach was calling to us. I felt the need to take off my shoes and ground myself after hovering in a wind tunnel.

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One of my favourite pictures, taken by Mr. Wanderlust last weekend.

Our beach afternoon turned into a Lakeshore Blvd.-cruising, beach-hopping adventure. After we left Burlington, Pawel felt the Oakville pier calling to him as we drove past the marina. He careened the car into a side street and after finding the perfect parking spot close to a children’s playground, we went off to enjoy yet another beach, upon which I found a remarkable treasure.

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My friend Sheniz, whom I have actually never met in person (see: we took an online writing course and have remained in touch), had been on that beach a week earlier, where she used driftwood to create a ‘nest’ for oval-shaped rocks, the likes of which lay abundantly beneath and around the spot where I stood gazing down at the inspiration that surrounded me. On many of the rocks around the nest were written, in dark marker, inspirational quotes, some of which hold special meaning for me. My eye kept following the rocks as I bent down, and finally, my gaze froze upon a rock on which was written Sheniz’s name and information about the nest she built. Given that I had never met Sheniz in person but continue to follow her beautiful adventures on social media, and considering that I had never before visited this particular beach, the magic of the experience was palpable. I thanked Pawel for following his intuition to explore the pier, allowing serendipity to find its way to us.

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What followed next was a drive across the city to Ashbridges Bay, in the east end of Toronto — one of our favourite spots. We enjoyed a takeout dinner on the boardwalk and climbed the rocks by the water for a spectacular view of the pink-and-orange playful sparkle of the setting sun on the almost-still water. A peaceful ending to a day that we seized firmly, enjoying the ride, recreating a new version of an old favourite experience of touring with spontaneity and complete abandon, allowing ourselves to simply be there, enjoying the moment, the views, the sand beneath our toes, the cooling water, and each other’s company.

Inspiring, serendipitous experiences happen when we give ourselves permission to fully enjoy the moment, letting go of our responsibilities, of the ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts,’ if even for a short time. We must allow ourselves the time to experience nature, to have adventures, to create new memories. And we must remember to do it as soon as it’s possible for us. We must make the time for it. Too often, I feel a spark of inspiration to do something unusual, something enjoyable, something that someone else has recently done to which I feel a strong pull. Then, I stop myself at, “Maybe someday…” When I arrive at Someday, I inevitably forget why I wished to do what I wished to do. I forget about the spark of inspiration, the excitement I felt in the moment. I am reminded of the pure delight that arises from spontaneous decisions vs. carefully planned ones. So, why not make Someday happen today?

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I would love to read about your most memorable adventures. Please feel free to share your story in a comment.

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Pawel and I visited iFly near Toronto over the weekend. My sister-in-law kindly gifted the experience of indoor skydiving to us for Pawel’s birthday. We have always wanted to try the activity and now, there was no turning back. Here we are, looking both excited and nervous.

It lurks quietly beneath the surface and springs up on me at the worst possible time. Of course, it serves to protect me from real danger, but handstand in the middle of the room, practised under safe instruction, is not really dangerous. Neither is flying through a wind tunnel with carefully controlled air speed, with a certified instructor right beside me. Still, Fear continues to speak to me loudly and I have been trying to silence it. Perhaps that’s not the best approach.

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Spinning up, up, up. 

Next time, I will whisper to it, shushing it gently to rest and relax.

Next time, when the instructor trusts me to use the technique I have learned to float up and spin through the tunnel, I will trust myself.

Next time, I will not panic. I will work to release the involuntary physical tension that kept weighing me down.

“What happened there that second time?” Pawel asked me later, after I had removed the helmet and ear plugs and was relieved to loosen the eye mask that left groove lines beneath my cheekbones for the remainder of the day. “You did so well that first time! You looked like you really knew what you were doing.”

“Fear,” I replied, gazing down at my feet. “I suddenly felt scared to have lost control and started floating up.”

In reply, he smiled at me in sympathy and planted a kiss on my lips.

“Next time.” We both agreed.

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Pawel embraced the thrills and ended up floating all the way up to the ceiling in tandem with the instructor. It was incredible to watch.

Next time, I will show Fear who’s boss — in a kind, gentle, friendly way. For now, I’ll continue to sit with the humbling lesson that continues to return to me, reminding me of the work I must continue to do, both on my yoga mat and in terrifying real-life situations, including those brought on by optional thrills.

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Post-flight yoga on the rocks by the beach. It feels good to be on solid ground — ahem, I mean rocks.

For now, I’ll give myself a pat on the back for challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone, for looking Fear straight in the eye for a moment before allowing it to intimidate me. Fear was a strong opponent this time, but not strong enough to deter me from planning my next move. Next time, I’ll come out on top.

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We continued our post-flight adventure into the remainder of a day sprinkled with interesting serendipity. I will continue the story next time.

For now, thank you for reading and sharing this blog with a friend. If you are interested in receiving our blog updates directly in your email inbox, please subscribe to the feed. You will have the option to unsubscribe anytime, should you wish to do so, though we do hope you’ll stay with us for a while to continue following the story of our path toward living a lifestyle of mindfulness. Hey, we’re even mindful about thrilling experiences, and we love adventures!

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I often say I hold myself to my highest standards. To some, it might sound like I am disciplined in my approach to everything in life. For me, high standards mean living with certain rules, but making intuitive decisions.

It means that I’m:

Working to move away from rigidity, learning to soften. I create my own guidelines, and feel free to bend certain rules from time to time. Other rules are golden absolutes. Some days call for strict discipline. Other days invite me to be more playful and perhaps even somewhat rebellious.

Listening to my body, heart, and intuition, and following their lead. This is true with nutrition, exercise, and various other lifestyle choices (more on this below).

Enjoying dressing up. I particularly benefit from dressing up when it’s the last thing I feel like doing. When I think I look good, I tend to feel great.

Giving myself permission to lounge on the couch in my pajamas, reading a book. I never have a full day’s leisure to lounge, but I can always set aside an hour or so to do that. Often, it happens in the evenings, after the kids are in bed.

Giving myself permission to wear yoga leggings while running errands. I’m probably one of the very few yoga instructors who believe that yoga clothes should be saved exclusively for the yoga studio, a gym, or a festival. Yet, I feel most sexy and comfortable when I wear yoga clothes, so if I have just finished teaching or taking a class and need to run an errand, I’ll do so comfortably in my funkiest leggings.

Spending most Saturdays doing laundry, cleaning, cooking good food, etc. Then, I spend as much time as possible on Sundays doing what I want to do (in-between tending to my family, of course).

Reminding myself to be stern with the kids about making their beds, brushing their teeth, and tidying up. Then, I overlook the mess they make while we bake cupcakes in the kitchen.

Choosing to be serious and responsible when I need to be. At other times, I crank up an embarrassing song and have a wacky dance party in the living room. And sometimes, I dance on my own in my bedroom, wearing something scandalously inappropriate. I laugh loudly at myself. Then, I laugh some more.

Giving myself permission to cry if I’m having a lousy day. I don’t try to talk myself out of it. We all have lousy days when the last thing we want to hear is someone telling us to ‘snap out of it.’ When I feel overwhelmed or sad, I don’t want to snap out of it. I want to face it and deal with it. I acquiesce to whatever it is I’m feeling and I sit with it, honouring that feeling for what it is, breathing through the sometimes excruciating discomfort. Then, slowly, I watch myself get out of a funk while learning more about myself in the process, learning about what liberates me.

Sticking to a healthy, plant-based diet 80% of the time. I choose to eat intuitively, asking myself what foods serve me best at this time. Some days, I want to eat an extra square (or two) of dark chocolate and have a glass of wine. Some days, I enjoy cheese and crackers, and maybe even a slice of toast with generously spread Nutella. On other days, all I want to eat are vegan salads and to drink green smoothies.

Choosing exercise that challenges me, gets my heart rate up, makes me sweat and my muscles shake. On other days, I choose to soften with restorative yoga.

Realizing that I have been ‘Type A’ under the surface and although I don’t enjoy this shadow side, I am learning to accept it, to recognize it, and to let go of the wish to be in control. I remind myself to let go and enjoy all the spheres that life offers me.

Recognizing myself as a whole person and learning to embrace all aspects of myself. There are certain aspects of myself that I am continuing to work on improving and changing altogether, with complete honesty and compassion.

What do high standards mean to you? What are you doing to uphold them? Where do you need to learn to soften?

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 A fun outing, complete with a tall ship cruise, in Toronto on Canada Day with our two boys.

Six years ago on July 1st, I sat on the sofa, watching the BBC Pride and Prejudice series while working on a cross stitch. The result was a 16” X 8” picture of nine plush animals seated on a wooden shelf, finally to be completed just before Christmas 2010. It’s now hanging in our son’s bedroom, above his dresser, with a special inscription from me.

I started working on the cross stitch project shortly after finding out the happy news that Pawel and I were expecting our first baby, due to make his appearance sometime around July 1st. And so, I sat on the couch, watching TV and stitching, wondering whether our boy will be a Canada Day baby, or perhaps he might favour the holiday south of the border, three days later. We both knew that he would pick a day on which we can celebrate him, refusing to share his day with any other occasion.

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Back from the hospital and rocking the fancy wrist bands. 

We always knew our baby was going to make his grand entrance into this world on his own terms, in his own time. Free-spirited and not one to casually follow rules, he keeps us on our toes constantly with his wonderful, complex, quirky personality. It continues to astound me how similar his character is to mine at that age. The same quiet mischievous sparkle shines just beneath the surface, and if you look long enough, you might see it in his big brown eyes.