You know I love cats! Well today I have a favour to ask you. If you can read this, and if it speaks to your heart, donate what you can, and/or SHARE it on Facebook to help spread the word. Battersea is the small town I live in, and we have what we all lovingly call a "Crazy Cat Lady," (except she is married lol) everyone knows her and the cats literally follow her if she walks down the road. Anyways, we are raising money as she has been paying for everyone's cat's needs out of pocket for years! Help us give back to Donna. To Donna's cats! Every penny will go to the cats, and more new cats that will come in over winter. I personally know this woman, she is a good friend of mine. Donate confidently, and generously. Thank you! XO
Success in life is so much more than positive thinking. I am not saying positive does not play a part, but it is not the whole story. If it was I would not have been struck down with a disease in the prime of my life: happy, successful and young 33. I did use positive thinking to pull myself up in life, but I also worked hard, and never gave up.
The only way you can succeed in life is if you can get through the times you want to give up; and the only way to have the willpower to endure is to be doing something you are passionate about and believe in with your life. Seek what brings you joy, what you talk about to everyone, what you wish you could do, what you would do for free. Do not what you would do if you knew you would not fail but rather do what you want to do even if you fail. That is your life purpose.
That is where you will find success, even if not in your lifetime. Some great art and writing is not recognised as such for hundreds of years after the artist dies. Are you willing to do what you know you need to do, without recognition? That, that my friend is your calling.
Be positive, yes. But sitting at home reciting affirmations you don’t really believe—or heck even ones you do believe—will not get you success in life. You must do. You must act. You must take action.
Be aware that life is a play with many acts. You may create many things in your lifetime. There is no one single thing every person must find to be great. Your greatness is not defined by being the greatest talent in the room. You may be a great friend and mother. That alone is something the world really needs. Do not look to get rich, do not look to become famous, for you may achieve both only to see neither is what you really wanted.
Your greatness may not come from your job, you may have a modest job that provides well that you enjoy enough. No one can tell you that you must leave that to pursue your dreams. You only work eight hours a day. That leaves you lots of time for creativity and passion pursuing.
The struggle to rise is one of life’s most fulfilling, exciting, and enjoyable pursuits. You may not think so now, but I can tell you that once you reach your goal the satisfaction is short lived. It becomes a, “is this all?” sort of feeling. Humanity was meant to be challenged. We are happiest when we are growing, working, involved, passionate and full of purpose. The struggle is the beauty.
The best part of this is that we are all evolving. No one gets to “arrive.” No one is ever so perfect, so complete and so fulfilled that they never need to work or create or learn again. In fact, it is opposite. The more we learn the more we realise that we don’t know what we don’t know. The universe is so massive we will always be propelled forward into our next new adventure. So, enjoy where you are now and what you are doing now, for one day it will be done and you may miss the simpler times.
There is what we think is going to happen, and what happens. It is very important we are clear on what we want before either of these things materializes. Imagine dedicating a decade of your life to something that in the end you did not want. What if you arrive only to find out what you thought was going to be there—love, happiness, fame—is not there. Are you still okay with what you did?
We seek answers, but the magic is in the questions. Ask. Never stop asking. Is what you are hearing true? What if it is not? Then what?
The best place to find clarify, to hear this inner voice, is in silence.
When is the last time you where bored? Childhood? You need to allow yourself quite time to think, walk, bathe, sit outside alone and just allow your mind to think. So many people do not even know what they think because they have never taken the time to sit still and be.
Read for goodness sake, read actual books. Remember that everything your reading may not be true. Question what you read. Take what feels right and leave the rest. You will not—I hope—agree with every word every author writes. That is good.
Sit down with a book instead of your electronics and see what you can fill yourself up with. Wisdom from the ages. You will appear wise for your age when you read. You will learn things the “quick fix -10 minute simplified You-tube video” is never going to teach you. Pick up a real book.
Write. Write knowing no one else is going to read it. This is a great way to sort out your thoughts. It doesn’t have to make sense. You do not have to know what you are going to write, it will come to you, through you. I had no idea what I was going to write when I sat down to write this today, I only knew that if I showed up the words would too.
End your search for the cause of happiness and know that it is in you, now. Happiness is not something we find in situations and material goods. It is in us, available for us every moment. We choose to be happy. In every situation, we choose how we feel. No one can make you angry or happy. Only you can.
Okay, my finger tips hurt from my neurology problems, so I shall end here today. I hope I have given you some things to think about and inspiration. Make today great. XO -ce
Good and Bad News.
1) You can NOT do it all.
Stop killing yourself trying. You need to prioritize. You do what matters and leave the rest. What?! Did I just say that?! Yes. Me, Type A person has just spent a year and a half in bed and this is what I have learnt. You do what you value, what you need to, what you must do, what makes you money and you leave the rest.
I was happing being a workaholic and perfectionist, I loved my success and my perfect house… but my body could not keep up after 17 years of this. I wish I had known this when I was 18. It is simple but not easy if you are like me, but it can be done. It takes a load off if you do it right. Following a schedule drastically reduces stress, and accomplishing only what matters gives a sense of, well, accomplishment!
2) You can not have it all.
You read that right. The whole career woman and mom thing; nope. It is a lie. I can tell you why. You can not give your all to 2 things. It is not possible. You can give your good, you can give your best, you can give a lot and it will be enough, but you can not excel, be excellent at both. Do not panic. There is a way around it and I will explain. Stay with me. This is not a guilt trip.
The fact is you can not do both at the same time. You can do one after the other in your life, eh, you have 60 years. Or, you can learn to compartmentalize and schedule and with focus do both well. This means you live by your day timer, you have strict work and home hours, you hire help around the house when you need it so you have time to spend with your children, and you are home when your home and working when you’re at work. Your present with your kids, and your all in when you’re at your job, no guilt that you should be someplace else. You will run yourself over trying to do both at once. Our minds are not built like that.
If you want excellence in both places you must be in one place at one time.
Simplified Cheat Check List to start:
- What do you value? What do you need to do? What must you do? What pays bills? 2)Schedule: - - Get a planner and start filling it out. I created a separate worksheet for this, on my blog called the Black & White Planner guide. It is a Free Printable.
- Who can help you out? Nanny? Teenager across the road? Maid? Mom in law?
-After 2 years I asked for help and finally had a clear kitchen counter! (Photo of my kitchen below).
Easy, Black and White Planner Guide.
North Americans create their lives backwards: they start with work when they should be starting with self care and happiness. This simple to implement system will help you re-prioritise your days and weeks to take back your life. You can do this with any planner system you use, but a hour-by-hour break down works best. Color code it if that’s your thing, I personally like to see time blacked off and white open spaces. Avoid electronic planners; writing things on paper is much more powerful and effective.
First, black out time spent sleeping 8 hour minimum and your mandatory 30 minutes AM and 1 hour PM routines. A simplified explanation for creating AM/PM routines is below.
AM routine: Set your alarm for the same time every day. One that starts quite and slowly gets louder is better than jolting you out of sleep. I have a light, sound and scent alarm that is very relaxing for going to sleep and waking up. Take a few breaths before hoping out of bed. Say some affirmations and think about what kind of day you want to have. Whatever your morning thing is make it a routine so it becomes habit and it will free up your mind for more creative things.
PM routine: we know babies need a bath, book and cuddles to fall asleep but we think we can work 12 hours and fall into bed. Your body needs a nighttime unwind. Bathing is great, reading a book is good. Journaling is an excellent practice. Find a routine that works and make it a habit. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (even weekends) and soon your body will expect it.
Then, add white space. This is time for YOU to do NOTHING at all or something FUN. No work! This time is sacred and nothing should ever get booked in your white space. A simple, “I can not, I have plans.” should suffice. Your mental health and wellbeing is as important as anything anyone is asking you to do.
Then add movement: exercise, stretching, dance, whatever you can do. On “off’ days maybe enjoy a hot tub, or sauna or massage. Book movement blocks every day if possible, so that days you do not exercise you can enjoy a recovery treat. Make it a habit. Everyone can afford a soak in a bath with Epsom salts.
Then book your time off; vacations, national and personal holidays etc.
Then add working hours, making sure to include a 30 minute minimum non-working lunch break and 5 minutes of every hour of your work day to take a break to use the washroom or get up and stretch.
Give yourself an extra 15 minutes when blocking off work time, because stuff always comes up. If you think it will take 30 minutes, book for 1 hour. This way you are never late, and often early. A 15 minute buffer on either side is ideal, but include at least one. This reduces stress and rushing through things.
Choose 2 of every 7 days to take off work completely. If you do not get the weekend off, choose 2 days during the week to become your weekend. They do not have to be back to back, but that is a bonus! If you can’t take 2, take at least 1. Even God needed a day off after 6 days of work, wink wink! Off days are for family, recreation, relaxation and recharging. They are not for work. Do not feel guilty, enjoy life!
Bonus: Create routines around your meal times. Sit and eat as a family if your home at the same time every evening and on weekends/days off. No electronics at the table: talk! Prepare as much as you can as simply as you can, involve everyone. Cleanup together. Routine creates less stress for everyone.
Implement Amish Hour: no electronics one hour before bed. The blue light keeps you awake.
You can print this off for free here: file:///C:/Users/celes/OneDrive/Shared%20favorites/Documents/Black&WhiteLife.pdf
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The Crab out of The Bucket.
You know the story of the crabs in the bucket? They naturally try to climb out, but when 1 is almost out another will pull it back in. This keeps all the crabs in the bucket. It is hard for 1 to escape. This analogy can ring true for people too, except we are not in buckets, we are in family’s or socio-economic classes. It can be very hard to bridge one to the other. In fact, to succeed you almost surely need to do it alone.
Getting even 1 person to see your vision can be difficult. I am not saying it can’t be done. I come from a family of 5 kids and we greatly advanced our financial status, but we each did it on our own. If you are lucky enough to have a friend or partner who wants what you do, know you are blessed to have that support. But most people do it alone, and you can to if you dig deep.
I have spent my adult life wondering why I alone pursued a higher education, for the purposes of attaining an education rather than a job. I took Critical Thinking at UNB at a professor’s suggestion, and it changed my life. It taught me how to reason and think logically. I was upset that this was not taught in high school. Why, I wondered, did we not want a populist that could make better choices? Informed, fact based decisions.
That answered my own questions. How could media, politicians and big corporations control the country if they could not influence the vote? I am not at all advocating any sort of conspiracy here, I am just asserting that it is unfair for the rich send their children to school while the poor families kids are sent off to learn a trade. Our grade 12 education system is a joke, we do not prepare children for adulthood.
We do not teach basic financial prep, and credit card companies thrive in people’s budget mistakes. We do not teach the value of travel, or the ability to do it on a budget. We do not teach basic history, the historical things that shaped our Western civilization: Plato, and Democracy, to say nothing of Art from Greek and Roman times.
Critical thinking was something that used to be taught on the streets by Socrates to anyone who wanted to learn. I guess the very fact that Socrates was executed/murdered for “corrupting the youth,” shows how the elite class feels about everyone being educated and given the opportunity to advance themselves.
Why does one person gaining status mean another person looses?
Really, really what is lost? How does one person’s education take anything from you?! It does not. Unless you consider you may be out witted in business or invention, to which I say “let the best man win!” Hustle.
Life owes you nothing. If you where born without anything to your name, life owes you nothing. You must make it for yourself. If you where born in a gold cradle, life owes you nothing. Your fathers fortune is not owed to you. Break away and make your own. Recognise your privilege and do something to help someone born without that advantage.
Today we have resources like EdX, an online option to take courses for free from prestigious universities.
Be the crab that gets out of the bucket. I did it.
You can do it.
Moving away from my family was the catalyst of my growing into myself. Photo of my new city: Kingston ONTARIO Canada.
This time of physically being unable to do anything has forced my hand to embrace my imagination. I always, even as a little girl, poo poo-ed imagination. I did not want to read fantasy books like my classmates, I wanted to “learn something real”. Not to say I did not enjoy a few novels, I did, but I can name them. The Secret Garden. Emily Dickon’s moors and love triangle. Shakespeare. The Castle (?).
Now I have been in my bed for the last 2 years. On good days, I make it to my wheelchair which I have had about a year now. Outings have been limited to doctor’s appointments. I am amazed that I have not lost my mind being cooped up, unable to be social. But I read. Thank God for the internet. My view out the window is pastoral and the cows and sheep grazing calm me. My four cats are my life. My husband is a saint. So, life is good.
It is good because of my imagination. My memories keep me. I am so grateful for the time I got to travel. Europe was incredible and Rome was my favourite place. It is vivid in my mind. I went twice. First with my husband, I threw a coin in the fountain and as the fates promised I made it back again. The food. The wine. The art. The history. The architecture. The sculptures, the fountains, the water. Beauty, history and awe all in one place. It is magnificent.
Once one of my UNB professors told me that I had, “Already accomplished more in my lifetime then most people do in their entire lives.” I guess he was right. For that I am grateful. Thank God I did not wait until I was older to do anything. Who would have known that at my prime, at 33, I would be struck down by ill health? I went from running and doing yoga for over a decade to hardly being able to get out of bed. It puzzled doctors and scared me and my husband. I was a Type-A workaholic and perfectionist; I did not have kids because I didn’t want to. I loved my life. It was, for all intensive purposes, perfect.
Now I have beautiful things I can not use, clothes and jewelry that sit put away, my beauty routine even falling away as illness takes more from me. Who am I if I am not the thin, pretty, smart lady? Who am I if I can not fit into my fashionable clothes and accessories styled in attempts to even make Coco Channel proud? My lips are red, my hair is glistening and long… but no more. Now it is a chore to even wash my face with minicell water and a cotton pad, 7 swipes. How far I have fallen.
When people say health is the greatest wealth we all nod, agree, as if we understand. You do not understand. You can not understand. Until you have your life taken away from you in pieces you can not imagen what you would give financially to have your health back. But, it is not like that. Charlatans may claim it is so, but all you will part with is your money. If fate has it that you are in this position of reduced health, your energy is best spend being grateful for what you still have, and for taking notice of who your true friends are.
My unicorn is ready to take me to the mermaids to sail with the Vikings. I am kidding. I am not that senile …yet. But, I should rest. Be grateful, do not think it could not ever be you.
Queens university celebrates 175 years. I hope to recover and attend Queens to finish my degrees.
I do not know how people survive without writing. I must write. I have since I was given my first diary at 12 years of age and then a planner in grade 7. I loved them. I could organise my thoughts and plan my weeks. I knew what to do in a day. I had a place for my goals and dreams. I could talk about my problems while they stayed private, for me to work through.
Not surprising, I love to read. It is not uncommon for me to read a book in a day. I have a constant hunger for knowledge. I complain that I do not have enough time to learn everything I want to before I die. Then there is the why; why would anyone want to work so hard educating themselves only to end up dead and the information is lost? Because it is not lost if we write it down. Generations build on generations of others work.
University was the best time of my life. The professors and the libraries where to the brim with knowledge for that taking. I learnt so much and grew and changed into a completely different person by the time I left UNB 3 years later. I am so grateful that I had that classroom experience. The exposure to classical historical things in ARTS 1000; a class I would never have taken if not required became one of my favourite classes.
Travel was so much richer. I went to Rome before my education, and after. After my education Italy was even more awesome, I was awe stricken and humbled by the art, history, beauty and architecture. Knowing the history and meaning of things, who did what where and when made the experience come to life.
Writing is a life long love that I will never bore of. English 101 was the most difficult, frustrating emotional class I ever took. I learnt so much. I improved so much. I learnt that spelling and grammar can be taught and memorised, but creativity was something you had or you didn’t. And I had it in spades. An opinion, oh I can give you an opinion alright. I accidentally cussed in front of my professor. I argued with him in the parking lot (it was a passionate talk that left us both happy it happened). I learnt so much from that man. UNB lost a great professor when he left; they should have given him tenure.
The biggest thing about writing is how it is a journey that never ends. You will never be perfect. You can learn and improve though. You are not to be judged next to professionals, rather your work is relatable through your peers and outlet. You will improve if you do it. It is lifelong gift.
Recording what would otherwise be lost. The small daily things that are actually what makes up life, when we look back in the end. What matters. Love. Loss. Your unique perspective. UNB taught me that every person thinks differently, understands what you say and write differently unless you are extremely clear, but even then, opinions will be as divided as ever. Or not. Life is surprising. People from other cultures and countries have their own unique perspective. History is someone’s perspective, recorded.
To be heard you must write. To be remembered you must write. To make a difference in the world, write. To grow, write. To learn to love, write… and re-read what you have written. Read what other people write. This is how you can have conversations with people who died 200 years ago, and someone in the future can read your thoughts. Not just politics, not politics at all if you wish. Write poetry. Write memories.
Marcus Aurelius wrote about being emperor or Rome and never had any intention of anyone to ever read his private writings. But, they where found after his death and now anyone an read the diary of the most powerful man of the free world at that time in history: Mediations. Is that not amazing?! None of this would be possible if he had not pondered life and jotted it down. So, I write. Not to be great but to become the best version of myself. If others learn from that, I am humbled.
No one has the right to give you permission. No one. Not god, or your MIL. Only you can give yourself permission, and you must! You must claim it and take it, or you may end up living with others dictating what you can and can not do. Use the fancy soaps, date the younger guy, burn the pretty candles, get 5 more cats because they give you joy, wear leather pants, play with makeup. Get the CEO position or retire early. Do whatever you want… because NO ONE is going to give you permission so stop waiting. More importantly no one has the right to give you permission for anything. So, right now get a pen and write down these words: “I give myself permission to:________________________.” Write as many as these as you need. Now go out and do it, without guilt.
Eclectic, creative, well read, style passionate girly-girl talks all things... You know, "the perfect hairdresser" conversation: that's me, or so I've been told! From professional hair, skin and nail advice, to new cosmetics reviews, and book reviews. Former salon owner turned adult university student studying philosophy and psychology. Interests: cosmetics and makeup; photography, the Arts, religion history, yoga, living organic, fashion, reading, calligraphy and writing.