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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Trying to get back to where it all began...

A bit of personal history is necessary before I get where I am going with this post.  So, in a nutshell, here is my life (with Trent) for the past 13 years, in point form to save you from as many boring details as possible:
  • Trent and I started dating 13 years ago, while on a backpacking trip to Europe (it was a 'scandalous' beginning but I won't go into details here because they are NOT RELEVANT)
  • We moved in together as soon as we got home and spent the next 5 years living in various apartments/condos/basement suites while we muddled around in the University system -- attempting to get our degrees (which we both did finally -- with only a tiny bit of resentment towards the University system, okay, maybe society in general)
  • When we were both done, we did a van trip across the US and Canada -- we drove 15,000 miles in a '71 Volkswagon van -- picking up a kitten along the way and staying with many of the people we met in Europe
  • Then we got 'real jobs' -- that lasted all of 1 year, enough time for us to get engaged, plan a wedding in Costa Rica and travel in Central America for 3 months

  • From there we had plans to live in our van for the summer -- somewhere in the Rockies and then move to Asia to teach English...
  • Enter Darcie Duffin and the Centre for Outdoor Education in Nordegg -- this is where we ended up living/volunteering for the summer/fall of 2004 and the year of 2005.  We absolutely fell in love with the community, the town and the lifestyle, but we were still 'restless', so...

  • In the fall of 2005 we headed to South East Asia for 3 months.

This is where the story gets crazy...
  • In January 2006 we decided that we needed to 'grow up' and 'get ready to be responsible enough' to start a family.
  • We moved back to the family farm (which we just moved off of -- yeah, that's the one) and Trent got a 'real job' while I went back to school.

  • Two more years of University for me (and two more degrees) and by the end of all of that?  Pregnant in 2008 with Chephren. 
  • The 'plan' was in motion -- I could work part-time from home, Trent could work his 'real' job, my parents lived next door so we had lots of help... we had it made, right?
Honestly, (and here is where I sense the hate mail coming)... No.  Yes, I said No.  Meaning, no, we did not feel as though we had it made.  In fact, despite our immediate and deep love for our son, we couldn't help but feel... lost.  Sad.  Trapped.  Miserable.  Not all of the time, but way too much of it.

What happened? 

Well, for the past three years we have been pondering exactly that.  Recently, we have been getting closer to figuring it out, and in fact, a good friend of mine fully called me out yesterday.  The truth is we 'over-sacrificed'.  We changed our entire lives in order to start a family.  Why?  I am not sure exactly, but I would say that it is because we had a limited belief system about parenting and what it was all about.  This could be for a whole bunch of reasons, most of which are irrelevant, because all we have is NOW.  And right NOW, we are starting to see the error of our ways.  We are gradually coming back to who we were as people before we became parents, who we were as a couple.  As my friend so wisely pointed out to me yesterday, if you are happy as people and as a couple than Chephren is going to be just FINE.  More than fine.  He is going to be great.  The greatest gift we could give Chephren is to be AUTHENTIC.  We are starting to get that. 

From one extreme to the other and now, working our way back towards the middle.  Without judgement of ourselves, without criticism.  Enjoying where we are and where we may or may not be going.  Bliss.

I hope that you are living your authentic life and becoming more of who you truly are each and every moment of every day.  It is worth the slight discomfort :)

Marebare xoxo

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mainstreet Fashion

A few weeks ago, my mom and I took a walk down mainstreet Stony Plain and poked our heads in a few of the shops...

I had no intention of buying anything, but came away with some great finds...  Trent's unsolicited reaction as I got ready for work in the morning?

"They must really like you at your job"

Let's just say that Trent and I do not see 'eye to eye' on my wardrobe...

To complain or not to complain...

In his writing, Eckhart Tolle defines complaining as 'nonacceptance of what is'.  In other words, you are identifying with a victim mentality in the present moment.  Tolle teaches that rather than bemoan the situation you are faced with, you can choose to leave it, change it or accept it.  Bringing your mind (and thus your body) into a state of acceptance is essentially choosing to bring yourself back into a state of peaceful ease.  See the video below for more on the topic:

Complaining not only brings your own being into a state of discomfort, but it can also 'pollute' the world around you - essentially making your negative inner state contagious to others. 

I recently had an experience that clearly demonstrated this to me:
This past weekend was a busy one here in Stony Plain/Spruce Grove as our community played host to the 2012 Alberta Winter Games.  My brother Jace was offered the exciting opportunity of coaching one of the boys' volleyball teams.  He jumped at the chance and given that the tournament was so close to home, Chephren and I decided to check things out.  One of Jace's games was due to start at 11:15 am on Friday, and wanting to give myself lots of time to get there and park, I left home at 10:30.  I arrived at the the facility (where 5 of the events were taking place) and the parking lot looked pretty full.  The attendants waved me in however, so I began driving around.  This continued for 30 minutes before one of them finally stopped me and told me to head across town for the park and ride.  By this time, it was already 11:20, so I was less than happy about this idea, but I didn't really have much of a choice.  I arrived at the parking lot by 11:30 and we waited another 30 minutes for a bus (they weren't running yet).  Now 90 minutes into our 'adventure', I was starting to get frustrated, especially since I had likely missed most of the game that I was trying to go and see. 

Until this point, I had worked hard at staying patient and calm... for those of you cruising around with young children, you know that this can be even more challenging depending on the mood of your child.  Chephren was less than thrilled about all of the waiting and driving around, and I was working hard in my efforts to keep him and myself calm. 
As the bus was driving up I said (to no one in particular and yet really, it was to everyone waiting alongside me), 'Finally!  I sure hope that I didn't miss the game'.  This seemingly 'innocent' statement was all it took to unleash a sea of complaints/negativity from those around me.  One of the women in the group was so furious that she even chewed out the poor (innocent!) bus driver.

As soon as the words left my mouth and I watched the 'poison spread' I knew what I had done.  It was enough to put me immediately back into a state of ease and acceptance but the damage had already been done.

Going back to Tolle's teachings, I had a choice to make: leave or change the situation (which I absolutely could have done and simply returned home) or accept it.  Unfortunately, on this particular occasion I chose 'd' (none of the above)... not one of my finest moments.

How do you feel about complaining?  Does it serve you?  Have you taken the time to notice its effects on your mind and body?  Or the effect that it has on others?

Food for thought...


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Got Buttons?

Have you ever had someone 'push your buttons'?  If you said no, you are either a highly evolved, enlightened being or completely in denial!  The reality is, that most of us get our buttons pushed on an almost daily basis.  Your boss ticks you off, your child draws on your sofa, your husband complains about the dinner you spent hours making... sound familiar? 

I can only speak from personal experience, but my tendency in the past was to blame 'the other'... the situation/person that was the causing me to be miserable.  Even better, I wanted to complain about it/them to someone else -- you've heard the saying 'misery loves company'. 

Over the past year, I have begun to pay attention to all of the button-pushing happening in my life and I have come to see each and every instance as a gift.  Yes, you read that correctly, I said gift!  Now, before you get all 'up in arms' at me about this, hear me out.

I have come to understand that when someone/something is pushing my buttons, that it an opportunity to look inside myself and ask a very important question: WHY?  Why is this pushing my buttons, what is it in me that I need to look at/heal in order for this to not bother me anymore?  This *shift* in thinking not only allows you to take back your power (you fully gave it away as soon as you started blaming the other person), but it allows you to 'do the work' on your personal journey. 

Sound crazy?  Maybe.  But then again... maybe not.  It's worth thinking about though, wouldn't you agree?

Peace and love,


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhog Day

I have been trying to formulate this post in my head for over a week now, and it is ironic that it happens to be coming to fruition on Groundhog Day.  You see, I spent last week in Mexico.  We went there for the wedding of some dear friends of ours and our group (42 of us) stayed at an all-inclusive in Nuevo Vallarta.

The Happy Couple

First of all, let me just say that the wedding was fantastic, absolutely beautiful.  The bride and groom are so perfect for one another and deserve all of the happiness in the world.  It was definitely one of those weddings where you 'just know' that it's the real deal.  It also brought up a lot of happy memories for me, as Trent and I got married (almost 8 years ago!) at an all-inclusive resort in Costa Rica.  Given that the past year has been a bit of a tricky one for us (there is merit in the '7 year curse', I swear!), it was a great time for us to remember our wedding day and to re-affirm our commitment to one another.  We left Chephren at home with my parents, so it really was a nice trip for us to reconnect.

Our wedding in Costa Rica: March 2004

Now, with all of that being said, did staying in an all-inclusive resort ever PUSH MY BUTTONS!!!!  The irony of this fact is not beyond me and I spent a lot of time reflecting on the fact that Trent and I also chose an all-inclusive resort for our wedding.  We had 30 people along for the ride which made us feel so very grateful and honored and it was a really, really fun week.  It helped that we finished off the trip with a 3-month long honeymoon travelling in Central America.  It was definitely a trip that I will never forget.   

Happy in Honduras

The funny thing is, I can't put my finger on what exactly bugged me about our resort experience.  It was a very nice resort; very clean, nice amenities, great view of the ocean from our balcony (we saw dophins!), nice beach and a great group of people.  And while I did enjoy parts of the trip (especially the company), I couldn't help but feel that something wasn't right.  To be honest, I am still trying to work it out in my head.  Here are some theories:

Our room
1. Guilt.  Guilt.  Guilt.  Over what?  Well, the list is long, but here are some of the things on my list:
  • The tremendous disparity of wealth between us and the workers at the resort (I made a point to talk to a lot of them and find out their stories - how much they made, who they were supporting, where they lived, etc.  I was reassured by many, many Mexicans that working at the resort was considered a good job). 
  • Travelling without Chephren (okay, I don't think that is it... It is my belief that a week away for mom and dad is more than okay and even healthy for the marriage).  Plus, he was with his Grammy and his Grampy and I am pretty sure that he likes them more than us anyways.
  • Excess (too many drinks, too much food, and oh, did I say too much DRINKING?!)  You feel guilty if you don't eat/drink yourself silly... after all, you paid for it, right?  This kind of mentality made both Trent and I crazy.  I feel the same way about buffets... they create all kinds of unhealthy eating habits and behaviors.  Actually, this reminds me of going to a buffet with a good friend of mine long ago.  He was determined to 'get his money's worth' and therefore made it his mission to not only eat as much as he could -- but also to eat only the most expensive things at the buffet.  Dude polished off about 30 crab legs... There really is such a thing as too much of a good thing!!!
2. My second theory is that it has something to do with the fact that I was yearning for a 'real' adventure.  I say this because Trent and I invested a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how to get off the resort.  We wanted to ride the local buses, eat at some sketchy restaurants and check out some of the cool little surf towns in the area.  We did do some exploring of the area, and other than the wedding, I would have to say that these were my favorite experiences of the trip.  Trent and I did our fair share of travelling before we had Chephren (okay, let's be honest, it was more like 'dirtbagging' than travelling) and there is a huge part of me that is craving this lifestyle again.  I love the uncertainty and the challenges associated with this lifestyle and we gave it all up to have a family.  The question we were asking ourselves in Mexico was: was that really necessary?  There are families out there who are managing to maintain the dirtbagging lifestyle even with small children.  Either way, it was good to get us talking about it and has helped us to identify how much we miss our 'old life'. 

3. Finally, and this is kind of related to the 2nd reason, the resort ended up feeling like 'Groundhog Day' to me (the Bill Murray movie I mean).  Not at first, but by day three you are thinking, really?  Again?  The same food, the same faces, the same activities, the same, same, same.  As an adult living with ADD, Groundhog Day is something that gives me nightmares...

So, that's it then.  I wish that I could leave you with some glowing nugget of wisdom or some heart warming realization that I have come to.  I am sure that it will eventually lead to this kind of epiphany, but I'm not there yet.  And since it's Groundhog Day (for real), I thought maybe I would throw it out to the Universe to deal with.  Anyone have any brilliant insights?

May your days be filled with peace, love and VARIETY!