What’s on your mind?

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Last week I had a project at work that had me researching and writing interview questions for a client’s video.  It was a lot of fun because I secretively have a fetish about being interviewed and asked a random slew of questions. I love the feeling of having to think on my feet and express what pops into my mind.  For years, as a chronic insomniac I’d lie at night and daydream about being on Dave Letterman talking about everything and anything (I was his favourite guest). Whenever I get a call from one of those survey people I jump at the chance to participate. I answer all the celebrity interview questions at the back of Vanity Fair and I even quite enjoy job interviews, just for the sheer opportunity to hone my employee of the month answers.  From online dating emails to offline dates – I love the whole process of delving into the corridors of both my mind and my audience’s mind, poking around, planting seeds of curiosity, exploring reactions, readiness and responses. I even had a friend who on long car rides would pretend to interview me – asking the most ridiculously wonderful questions (now that’s a good friend).  Like I said – it’s a fascination of mine.

It made me wonder why I like it so much. Maybe I feel unheard? Maybe I feel I have something to say?  Whether being asked the questions or being the one asking – I know I am a very curious monkey who is interested and inspired by how people think and feel.

One thing for sure – I know my noggin is a joggin 24/7.  I think about my day and my evening, my week and upcoming weekend. I think about people in my life and at work that I care about and wonder how they are doing, what they are thinking and feeling. I think about my Mum & Dad and the zillion questions I wish I had asked. I think about what my pets are thinking…just yesterday I witnessed my hamster having a dream and it made me wonder what was in that little head of his…peanuts? Hamster love?  I think about when, where and how I will meet my partner in crime. I think about what I want to be when I grow up, my island, my tribe, my petting zoo, my late night talk show, what impact I can have on my world. I think about colours, textures and patterns of fabric in my closet. What new craft I want to learn. I wonder what I am going to wear tomorrow and if I will ever find my dream purse. I also worry – a lot, which is a whole different kind of thinking and questioning…and those questions usually end up being spoken to my ceiling.

So I am wondering and I’d like to ask you to engage a little banter and sharing because I am looking for inspiration and I am curious what’s on your mind!  If you’d be so kind to ponder the following 5 questions and let me know what you think then I will aim to surprise and delight you with my response overtime in my blog!   I promise to keep names out of it and if you feel more comfy sharing privately just connect with me in the “You had me at Hello” section on my website!   Remember the mind is a beautiful thing!  Thanks friends xx

  1. What would you like to see more of in this blog? Any specific topics or issues you’d like me to tackle and hug?
  1. What makes you, you?
  1. What’s the best advice you ever got?
  1. If you could be anything…what do you want to be when you grow up? (Your ultimate dream).
  1. What makes you feel alive?
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Letting go.

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I consider myself a tough cookie.  I am an intrepid adventurer who is ballsy, bold and bring it on baby when it comes to travelling off the beaten path. I also consider myself brave.  I stand up. You can count on me in a crisis. I have elevated Spidey sense for danger and call spiders and snakes my friends. I’m also strong and resilient; I have a high tolerance for physical pain – tested by dozens of broken bones, a busted back and my ability to still do a mean cartwheel. I am courageous – I speak my mind and my heart.  I eat fear for breakfast, snack on dares daily and foster an indomitable spirit that always chooses hope, peace and love.

What slays me is rejection.

Now everyone will experience rejection over his or her lives. It’s a part of life and whether it’s in love, your career, friends, or a book proposal – it hurts.  Sometimes it hurts like hell.  As people, we have a strong need to feel secure. If you’ve been rejected, your sense of security is threatened – you may feel judged, abandoned and scared.  I turn into “Mud Girl”…a depressive state of stuck in the mud, covered in heavy dirt, can’t move, trapped at the bottom of a deep hole, eating worms and can’t get out”.   Not a great place to be.

My heart has a boo boo and no band-aid is gonna help.

Physical pain, like a broken bone often needs outside intervention to make it go away – a visit to the doctor, pain meds or a crutch. Emotional pain needs you to go inside. You need to feel it, in order to deal with it and ultimately heal it.

Feeling painful emotions can be painful, really scary and often result in more pain. Awesome sauce!  But it is also the only remedy to free yourself, to learn how to cope, experience some self reflection and quite possibly learn an important life lesson.

Here are a few tips to help you get through the grind, find peace and let it go from my book “How to Live Like a Chipmunk and Other Tips on Living an Awesome Sauce Life”.

  1. Talk it out. Scream it out. Stomp it out. Cry it out. Wish it out. Beg it out. Think it out. Feel it out.
  2. Hold on really, really, really tight – so tight that it actually hurts and you simply have to let it go in order to stop the pain.
  3. Make friends with your emotions, give them a hug, let them know it’s safe to feel, have a tea with them, heck have a glass of wine and toast to the wisdom they will bring.
  4. Train your brain to feel. Reward it with chips when it is good… open, aware and spewing out a frenzied soliloquy of vomitus but authentic emotional puss. Deny it chips when it spirals into a negative vortex of self-loathing, avoidance or isolation.
  5. Create calm. Go to your magic place. Breathe a lot. Surround yourself in love.
  6. Know it takes less energy to love, and let it go than it does to hold on to hurt. Be love.
  7. Find perspective. Find the silver lining.
  8. Make peace.
  9. Release it. Better out than in.
  10. 5 words…Taylor Swift – Shake it Off!

The Zen of Sewing.

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Lately I’ve been really focused on creating calm in my life; whether that is staying in the moment, concentrating on my breathing, saying mantras and meditating.  When all that fails – I sew.  Suffice to say, I’ve made a lot of new things over the past few weeks.

I’m not sure what it is about sewing other than it takes me away to another world, a vortex of passive quiescence, providing a protected distance from reality. A nirvana, where the real world disappears and I am emancipated from anxiety and any attachment to what happening.  My mind goes somewhere else.

It goes to Fabricland.

Yes it is a store but it is so much more. It is a LAND ~ an artistic, cathartic escape, filled with possibilities, potential, and solutions all in one’s power, at every bolt.  If I ever feel stuck, uninspired, unmotivated or life simply isn’t cooperating and chaos ensues – Fabricland is my shelter of calm.

I mindfully, meander aisles reminiscent of jungles filled with exotic colours, textures and patterns. Forging through dense forests of lush mossy wools, burgundy velvets and earthy tweeds.  I enter haphazardly into a circus of chance – a kaleidoscopic palette, mixing, matching and merging the most preposterous combinations, polka dots, argyle and stripes, heliotropic fusion with a scheming spectrum of sanguine, fuchsine and magenta. I am breaking the rules. I am running with scissors. I am released. Free…leaving chaos and confinement behind.

My imagination goes wild. My thoughts turn to collars and cuffs, buttons and trim. My fantasy fueled with plackets, pockets and pleats. My senses ignited, experiencing the sensuality of rich tartans, dreamy flannelettes and decadent fun fur.  At times I am overwhelmed. It’s good to feel alive.  I dance in a fabric frenzy, piling up a bounty of bolts, yards and yards of possibility to be new again.

At home I clear space and place every piece of treasured textile out while I concoct one-of-a-kind concept ensembles: Cowgirl Chic, Boho Nerd, Clan of the Cave Bear Circus, Schoolgirl Punk and Bay City Roller 2.0…to name just a few. I lay out patterns, I pin, I cut. I am.

Hours literally pass without thought, hunger, thirst or care. I am blissfully lost in the hum of the machine, the repetitive needle going up and down; up and down. The zeal from zig zagging, the healing of hand hemming, the realization, and culmination of creation.

Now sewing is my thang.  But the general idea here is to find something that connects with your mind and let it take you away from what’s stressing you out or bringing you down.  It could be exercise, cooking, macramé, axe throwing or reading – a good book like “How to Live Like a Chipmunk and Other Tips on Living an Awesome Sauce Life”, which also happens to have a chapter on How to Create Calm….one stitch…two stitch, repeat.

Getting off the track.

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My mind often feels like a high-speed train on an endless roller coaster track. I’ve been called a busy bee, a sky-high grasshopper, a fire monkey and an energizer bunny on crack.  Yup my mind is always a racing a million miles an hour. It wakes me up, causes me stress, anxiety, sleepless nights and sheer exhaustion.  You’d think it would be easy to simply get off the train but the lack of stations makes it really difficult.

That’s when I decided to create some. I call them mind stations, rest stops, places to get off and sit on the bench, hangout a while and wait for the next train.  Other more Holy cow people call them mantras.

Mantras have been around forever and exist in all walks of spirituality, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and ahem…Pattyisms. They are quite simply a formula to help calm your train of thought…which works so perfectly with my current derailed choo-choo of chaos.

Traditionally, a mantra is a sacred utterance – typically melodic and often associated with a monkish chant; but it can be as simple as a syllable, a single sound, word or group of words that when spoken help to break your monkey mind and bring you back to the moment, back to your body and back to a place of peace.

Now I wasn’t an original believer, in fact I found the whole concept of monk-like meditation, stillness and repetitive moaning hugely annoying. Just the notion of being still caused me to twitch and tourette; beside the fact I can’t sit cross-legged if you paid me.  But it was on one of my incredible trips to India where I was visiting a temple and started up a chat with a monk that changed everything for me.  He told me that being mindful wasn’t necessarily all about intense concentration and stillness; it could also be simply about being aware and focusing on your breath or any little sound or phrase that got your monkey mind to take a peanut break. (He actually really said peanut break).  He said you can practice being mindful anywhere and anytime, moving or resting and using whatever little prayer, poem, phrase or hum worked for you.  He then invited me to take a little walk with him over to the prayer wheels and give them a spin. He started to chant this little ditty “Om Mani Padme Hum” and explained that this prayer was the embodiment of compassion and each wheel was filled with millions of tiny pieces of paper with this mantra written on them and when someone spins the wheel, the effect is the same as reciting the manta as many times as it is duplicated within the wheel.  He had me at peanut.  From that moment on you’ll often catch me singing this beautiful mantra.

On other days you may hear me babbling a variety of other mantras – I have a whole collection depending on my mood, the situation or what works in that moment.  Sometimes it’s silent and still, other times spoken with great passion – what’s important is it get’s me off the train and I can then be free to choose my next destination.

So give it a try – find a little phrase, beep or breath that resonates with you and give your mind a peanut. Just for kicks and giggles…here are some of my favourites mantras:

I am a jolly little twig on a river.

Love the shit outta everything.

Chaos is a necessary state of evolution.

I am love. I am loved.

Always believe something wonderful is about to happen.

I trust the flow of my life. It’s all happening as it should.

It’s probably a box of kittens.

Not my circus. Not my monkeys.

Believing is half the battle.