A journey of inches.

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I am an impatience bunny.  I have an enormously lengthy list of “to do’s, want to do’s, gotta do’s, should dos and dream to dos” and I want it all now…better yet, yesterday.  I get uber duber excited about lots of things – like the next book I am writing, where I want to travel next – Burning Man; what to make with all the fabric I brought back from Bali, going though my 2000+ photos and making an photo album, then there’s what colour to paint my deck this spring, oh and finding true love and purging my closets, contemplating a new hair doo, deciding where to hang my Balinese art work, and UG…make a grown up, gosh darn dreaded RRSP because that’s the responsible thing to do; oh and I need to buy a new vacuum and I probably should consider exercising before bikini season, omgawd I totally need to paint my toes, look up new pork chop recipes and figure out my purpose and following through with creating a fulfilling future living out my purpose…whatever that fricking purpose is!?!?!?!

Can I go back to Bali and hang out with my monkeys please!?!?!?!!   Why do I do this to myself!?!?!?!?!?  Why do I let my little brain spiral into a tumultuous whirlwind tornado spinning completely out of control and knocking my molecules around like a tumbleweed on a dirt path to nowhere…and I think I just saw the Wicked Witch of the West fly by!?!?!?!?   How, how, HOW does one keep their feet on the ground and move forward without tripping?

Well after a good meltdown and boo-hoo fest (hello I’m human); my shiny light force life coach uttered 4 simple words. A journey of inches.  BAM – that’s good shit!  It was like taking a step off the high wire while trying to balance a 10 tonne rhino on my very sore shoulders and land safely and softly on two feet (without breaking a bone).  Let me say it again… a journey of inches. Now that sounds doable, manageable, focusable, plannable and non-freak-out-able.  Once more for good luck… A JOURNEY OF INCHES.  Just wee, tippy-toe, chug-a-chug-a choo-choo train movement forward in the general direction you want to go. Smaller than my average daily on slot of post-it-notes…just one slight shift, a baby bust-a-move bump that creates an impetus that spurs on and sparks up the evolution toward greatness.  I can do that!

You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

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I think I love you by David Cassidy starring me on the tambourine.

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Today is a day that we celebrate love. Ideally every day should be that day. And although Hallmark would like us to think it’s just for those gooey-batty-eyed wuffers, I think there’s a lot more to it. For starters, Oxford Dictionary has about 7 inches of definitions delving into love. Love comes in many shapes and sizes, highs and lows, flavours, tastes, memories and sounds. It can be adorned in cliques or decked out in leather. It can be childlike, explosive or expressed in absolute silence. It can be as solid as chocolate, scrambled like an egg and it can shatter like glass. Many wear it on their sleeve, it’s in the air and apparently, it helps make the world go round. It comes in a kaleidoscope of colours from petal pink and fire engine red to black and navy blue. It’s something we all want to be in, and yet, it’s already in us. And although you can love yourself, and I mean that in more ways than one, I think love is best shared…like most things in life.

I love forests and fairies and I love potato pancakes with sour cream. I love my pets, my friends, my pink cowgirl boots, black licorice, squirrels, Pinky, Elly, Tuna, Charlie, Sadie, Alfie and Robert Downey Jr.  Clearly there are a million degrees of intensity when it comes to love and loving things and people. Sometimes it’s even really hard to love – like pickles for instance – but in the great scheme of life, I believe you can never say never and there’s a reason for the seasoning, even when we don’t like how it tastes. I’m lucky in love and feel extremely privileged to have experienced great loves and great love losses. And it has truly only been through those haves and have nots that I have figured out what real love is.

I use to think that love was so easily defined – you know “there-theres” from Mom, an invitation to the back seat of Russell Wangursky’s station wagon, romantic gestures, decent and indecent proposals, some form of white frock with token digging and doing till death did you part. But I don’t think that anymore.

I believe love is about patience, trust, surrender and compromise. I think love is incredibly rare and equally strange. I also believe it is so much more about giving then receiving. I think love needs to be handled with the utmost of care and respect and never be taken for granted. Love is a touch, a look, an energy and a way of being and if you have some, treasure it like gold but choose to share it freely. It’s uncontrollable and indefinable. It’s contagious and all consuming.  It is light and it is dark.  It just is. And if you believe in it, it will be yours.

So whether you choose to love your pickle, pringles or pet iguana; your parents,  partner in crime or even those fabulous red come fuck me pumps in the shop window …embrace it, open your heart, free your mind and create a space to let the magic in. Because love is everything and it’s everywhere.

 

The best sunrise I never saw.

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I just got back from being happily lost. Closed my eyes, spun around and wobbled off down an unknown path. Disappeared into a vortex of paradise, deliberately set myself adrift along a sandy, seashelly shore and let the waves wash me away. I wandered and wondered across brand new pebbles, swung on vines with some new furry friends, soaked up a sugar-infused sun, then howled and danced under a smiling crescent moon. I devoured decadence, lingered in lush and lusty nature, sat perfectly still, seduced by the lull of soporific waves. I befriended the strange, trusted the unusual, opened my mind to the differences and my heart to all. I let go of needing to know and choose to freely explore newfound twists and turns…all leading me towards my true direction.

Getting lost helps me find my way. It helps remind me who I am and where I want to be. It gives me a sense of direction to aim my compass in and take steps to get there. It teaches me that every path has a purpose – whether smooth, bumpy or even a dead end…each reveals what I need to discover, sometimes over and over again, yet ultimately leading me to the fork in the road, where the real adventure starts in choosing which to follow.

These choices come in all shapes and sizes – sometimes super easy – like calamari or prawns?  Mojitos or Margaritas?  OK not so easy. Others a little more challenging…like which monkey to hug…WHAT DO YOU MEAN JUST ONE???? IMPOSSIBLE!!!!  And the most interesting and important choices; those that will determine my state of happiness in any given moment.

The perfect example… the best sunrise I never saw.  It started with months of anticipation for what was touted as the highlight of my Bali trip, an extraordinary journey into the mountains along the crater rim road to an ancient fishing village on the edge of Lake Batur at the foot of the volcanic Mount Batur (1,717m above). The climb was scheduled to begin at 3am, taking approximately 2.5 hrs to reach the summit where we would be treated upon arrival to an awe-inspiring sunrise.  Instead what pursued was a treacherous trek in the pitch dark, up a slippery slope in an all out monsoon. Bundled in layers to fight off the biting winds, my dollar store raincoat inflated into a parachute, lifting me off the ground while gusts of up to 70 mph winds and knife pelting rain tore it’s cheap, plastic to shreds. The deluge of rain surged from the ground creating a horizontal waterfall for us to trudge through. The jagged lava infused rock face had to be navigated on hands and knees to secure our grounding and prevent certain death.  This was not your everyday easy walk in the park. But it was an adventure!  An all-out amazing adventure between humans and nature.  A test of spirit and will. And once we arrived at the summit, we sat under a tin roof, sipping the best worst coffee I’ve ever had in my life. When we stepped outside at dawn we were greeted by a thick white mass of mountain top clouds with zero visibility, zero chance of a sunrise and a 100% sense of teamwork, amazement and accomplishment…oh and there were monkeys there as well.  Life is good…especially when you choose to see it that way!

Kissing monkeys.

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Hello my name is Patty and I am an adventurer.  There is nothing I love more than to escape as far as I can possibly imagine into another time and space and explore a dusty road, a sandy shore, or rugged mountain range. I love to look into the eyes of strangers and make new friends. I love to observe how a town wakes up. I love the cacophony of markets. The silence of sunrise.  I love the taste of local beer. I love waking up and having no idea, no set image of what I am about to see…and always being surprised. I love to wander and wonder. Sit and simply soak it all up. I love to pet each and every stray, cat, dog, llama and monkey to name just a few. I love to eat food I can’t recognize, drink potions I’ve never tasted and join in and become one with a culture that helps to expand my soul.  I love to be anonymous; brand spanking new, and unveil whatever and whomever the heck I feel like. I like telling my jokes and stories that you’ve all heard a thousand times before and be the entertainer. I love to sit in a jungle, in a temple, in a hut and breathe in the sweet air; the musical sounds and know that I am free, completely utterly free and unavailable to anyone and anything. It’s such an ultimate state of absolute bliss….and then a monkey comes and sits beside me.

I am taking off on another adventure this Wednesday for 2 weeks to Bali. To disappear and re-fill my kaleidoscopic molecules with more colours, scents, flavours and emotions. This is my magic and my medicine and it will once again change me for the better. This is a blessed opportunity to remove myself from my mundane routine and comfort zone, and plop myself on a new path with no idea nor plan where to walk next!  To have to hone in to trust and rely on my senses, to communicate with heart and creativity, to shift, jiggle and wiggle with calm and grace through moment by moment fortunes and failures. To be flexible, yet sturdy, brave and brazen – all the while expanding my mind, my heart, my imagination and possibilities thanks to new human, nature and worldly experiences.  This is a gift. A gift I feel is vital to my being and one I am so beyond the moon and stars excited and grateful for.

Sure, I’m a seasoned adventurer, and yes I was packed 2 weeks ago and have it down to a science…but  each time is like the first time, there are nerves, full out fears, and a long list of “what if’s” but those are my badges to earn, my scars to show off and stories to own.  It is exhilarating like knowing Santa is coming and leaving you presents but no idea what’s inside. It’s emancipating to let go of control, to do’s, should do’s and time.  It’s empowering to be just little me, off on the other side of the world making out with monkeys and climbing volcanoes. It gives me the chutzpah to know I can handle anything. I become wiser, more resilient, more creative and so much more appreciative of life.  Cause you know what…there’s only one.  One day we’re here and quite possibly the next we are gone. And if I have taken any lesson of life to heart it is to live. Live to the fullest. Go big or go home. Money smoney. Be brave. Explore this awesomely amazing world and fill up your cup to the rim then take a big fucking slurp!   Bon voyage see ya in 2 weeks xx

Time to play!

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Remember when we were little and all we wanted to do was be grown up?  Gawd if we only knew how good we had it! No work, no bills to pay, things to fix, errands to run, chores to finish.  Mum and Dad made our dinners, took care of us and tucked us in with a bedtime story. The biggest worry of the day was whether to play hide-n-go-seek, tag or hopscotch outside, or engage in a serious scenario of Barbie goes out with Ken or make a new cake in my Easy Bake oven.  I want to go back to a time when my allowance felt like a heck of a lot of money; when getting dirty didn’t soil your reputation. A time when wearing mismatched clothes and pig-tails made you cute, not a freak and Brownies were the coolest pack of girls to belong to, not something that adds fat to your hips.

Now that I am “all grown up”, all I want to do is be little again; be free of commitments, obligations and endless lists of to do…should do.  So I decided instead of growing up – I’d grow down and make “play” part of my philosophy and day.  Taking time to play, to be silly, frivolous and let our imaginations day dream is medicine for our spirit!  It embraces not caring how you look, what you say or come across. It celebrates being spontaneous, goofy and allowing yourself to be carried away into whimsy and weirdo-ville!  It gives the grown up a break, let’s our mind’s be creative, be occupied with amusement and romp in abandon.

So let your inner child out! Let magic, miracles and dreams be within reach – not squashed by logic, responsibility or fear; and play like you’ve never played before!

Here are a few tips on “How to engage your inner child” from “How to Live Like a Chipmunk and Other Tips for Living an Awesome Sauce Life”.

  1. Wrap a towel around your head and pretend it’s your hair.
  2. Reunite with your invisible best friend!  I love you Bobo!!
  3. Believe in the unbelievable!
  4. Jump in puddles, make macaroni art eat peanut butter and hotdog sandwiches.
  5. Let your imagination go wild! Go on a safari with your pet flying monkey. Visit Mars in your spaceship, Swim in a sky of stars as a mermaid and always talk to the faeries in the chandelier!

 

 

Be brave, heart.

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I like to call myself a Warrior Princess.  My armor is light, fluffy and most likely pink or rainbow in colour. My shield, a candy-coated marshmallow.  My weapon, an invisible sword that’s power lies in my spoken and unspoken thoughts. My strategy – a sunny disposition, with squishy hugs.  But under this sacchariferous veneer is a ferocious warrior.

I use to be the biggest scardy-cat; filled with fear of everything. As a child I was paralyzed by having to open my mouth, answer a teacher’s question, be the new kid at school, make new friends and stand up to meanies. I lived most of my younger life walking on egg shells, waiting for the bomb to go off.  Sometimes the bombs did go off and other times they didn’t, and eventually I realized this state of impending 911 fear, assuming the worse and believing I needed to control everything was no way to live. That’s when I called upon my inner warrior to emerge.  I realized I can’t control anything and there’s no point waiting for a herd of ravenous rhinos when what’s likely around the bend is a box of kittens.  I also realized filling my brain with forbidding thoughts was a waste of precious imagination and began to trust in best case scenarios instead.  I also declared my voice and my presence worthy – worthy to be heard and worthy to stand up for.  Now none of these super powers happened over night and I continue to polish and practice wielding my sword every day. The work is worth the sweat, because my friendship with fear has led me to great freedom and strength. Be brave. Eat fear for breakfast!

Here are a few tips on “How to break through insurmountable fear” from “How to Live Like a Chipmunk and Other Tips for Living an Awesome Sauce Life”.

  1. Feel everything and revel in it. (F.E.A.R.).
  2. Trust that fearing something is way worse than facing it and by not facing it you are choosing to hold onto it.
  3. Get some perspective on the situation. Ask yourself what is so scary? Compare it to being eaten by a bear…one limb at a time.
  4. Be prepared (Brownie of the year 1969) with an escape plan or two in your back pocket.
  5. Take a deep breath and … push send, ask them out, ask for help, speak your mind, say yes, say no, embrace discomfort, embody hope.
  6. Trust that you will probably, most certainly survive and be way stronger, smarter and braver!  AND you will have earned a badge!

One day at a time.

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“One day at a time” is the best advice my Mum ever gave me.

Happy shiny new day!  Woohoo it’s Jan 1st and I am alive and well. Regardless of my “more than my share of red wine” while dancing to help bring this New Year last night, I woke up to a sun-filled sky, I am healthy, however hung over; grateful and excited this New Year, new day is here.  A brand new day, our day and our chance to live it. How do you want to live it?  The beauty of this question is…we have a choice and the power to do whatever we want.

Now of course I’d love to spend the day with Robert Downey Jr. in our castle in France…but I seem to have misplaced my genie in a lamp.  The good news is I do have an incredibly magic superpower that I am willing to share with you that will help you bring whatever you desire closer to you!  Ready?

Manifest & Mantras.    And I don’t only mean “man”.  Plant the seeds of what you want in your head and in your heart, and tend to them every day.  Maybe it’s a new job or taking a trip, getting fit, maybe it’s finding your true love or perhaps it’s finding yourself.  It can be a thing – like those killer combat boots, a course you’d love to take or learning a new skill like hula hooping; and it can also be a state of mind – like the desire to be calm, to let go of hurt and to trust. All you have to do is choose it, believe it and not stop until you get it.

I’m no guru, nor a magician; but I can speak from experience and this superpower of mind really works.  It isn’t always easy – but the good stuff that’s worth the climb never is…and once you make it part of your being, it’s like breathing.  A year ago I had a serious bout of anxiety. My body felt like it was being shot with a round of bullets, I’d wake up in the middle of the night with a bolt of electricity running through my veins, my mind spinning out of control to the point I just had to lay still for fear I would break into a million pieces.  Long story short; I committed to manifesting calm.  I started every day with a mantra, I’d speak it on the way to the bus stop, in the bathroom, sing it in my head, write down in a zillions place and at night meditate and focus on creating my calm. It was so branded in my psyche that those nasty anxiety molecules didn’t have a chance.  Sure, it took time, but it worked and not only did I get my anxiety under control and be able to naturally live in a calm state, I learned a lot about myself, my strength, resilience and power. I believe we all have the capacity to do anything if we put our mind to it. And with this newfound superpower, I am manifesting a shit load of awesome sauce stuff for 2017!

If you’d like some help creating a mantra just send me a note…and in the meantime here are a few tips to help you get started!

  1.  Believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will do it.
  2. Create a mantra and say it 100 times a day. For example “I will own a petting zoo.”
  3. Plant seeds the size of coconuts. Everywhere. Sprinkle belief all over them.
  4. Reframe everything that you think and say as though it is happening in this moment. Example: I am going to Burning Man.
  5. Commit whole-heartedly. Come up with a theme song, a daily ritual, post-it note affirmations, visual reminders and trust if you build it, it will come.
  6. Have real conversations with your dream.
  7. Star in the block buster movie version of your life.
  8. Tell everyone what you are going to do. Backer-outers suck.
  9. When it feels really far away – look over the fence and into the field just past the daisies. See, it’s not that far after all.
  10. Draw a map. Establish signposts. Set milestones. Treat yourself to good hiking boots because you’re going to go far!
  11. Recruit believers, cheerleaders and a fan club!

365 Days.

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There were Mondays, hump days, sunny days and stormy days. There were Red Wine Fridays, birthdays, holidays and vacation days. There were Saturday shopping days, lunching with the ladies days, sun tanning days, gardening days, sewing Sundays and absolutely do nothing days. There were good hair days and fat days; feeling hot and sexy days, as well as hot flashing menopausing monster days. There were kill the TTC days and crap I forgot my umbrella days just as there were oh the kindness of strangers and listening to the birds sing days. There were days I celebrated the air that I breathe with bliss-filled joy. There were also days I struggled, worried and was angry. There were play days, sick days and mental health days. There were workdays, not quite enough, but there were workdays. There were days I was awestruck, grateful and deeply moved. Days where the moon was bigger, the stars brighter and love bountiful. There were days spent with friends, kids, critters, Kampersluts and alone. Days in nature, in the river, in the woods, in my magic place. There were days a toad attacked me, I got a tattoo, my book got published and I went back to blonde. There were days where I lost my way, my voice, my mind and heart. There were days I was a warrior princess, strong, fierce and brave. There were days I wanted to scream so loud and days I loved even louder. There were days that didn’t make any sense until later days to come. There sad days when I lost Fiend and Angus. And the happy days I found Charlie and Sadie. There were days where people surprised me – both beautifully generous and shockingly hurtful. There were days I laughed my ass off and days I cried till the well was dry. Some of the days were filled with elated joy, excitement and hope, while others teetered on anxiety, loss and heartache.  Some days were just a day.

365 Days.  A little older, a lot wiser. A little heavier, but less giving a shit. Absolutely more Awesome Sauce, creative, self-expressive and self-assured. Consciously more grateful, kind, authentic and calm.

365 Days. Lucky to have lived each and every one of them. Grateful for the lessons and the love. So excited for the magic I know is coming – so here’s to the next 365 days.  Choose to live them with awe, adventure, appreciation and joy!  Happy New Day!

Tradition.

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Twis the week before Christmas and yes I have been scurrying around like a mad mouse. The stockings are hung in the kitchen with care and cat nip. All the gifts are wrapped, cards sent, fudge made and I have sipped, dipped, danced and pranced with all my favourite peeps until I can’t cram another gingerbread man in my mouth. Twenty days into December and it’s been an enormously jammed-packed month of non-stop festivities, over indulgence, social butterflying to the max and red wine everydays, and truthfully, I’m ready for Santa to come, go and let me recover! But not before my most favourite night of the holiday season.

I love Christmas Eve. Sure there was the whole miracle of trekking the dessert guided by a bright star looking for a place to have a baby and making friends with a donkey in a manger which is an awesome sauce story, just as much as the magic of Santa flying with his eight reindeers delivering toys worldwide with the heart-felt hope and anticipation of believing being realized on Christmas morning. But for me it was all about being together with my family on a night resonant in tradition. It always started with a dinner that Mum would only make on Christmas Eve. I waited all year for this dinner and it is to this day my favourite meal of all – Gifilte fish, perogies and potato pancakes. We would gorge ourselves on them trying to break last year’s record for number of potato pancakes eaten and I always managed to win that contest. After Dad would do the dishes, we’d head downstairs for the annual Lowry sing song. I’d play the piano while Dad bolted out his top tunes from Good King Wenceslas and God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen to Deck the Halls and Jingle Bells; and Susan always did her Monotone Angle solo. Mum sipped Drambuie; Dad his G&T, while we nibbled on a tray of homemade sugar cookies, Gingerbread boys, Jam thumbprints and Mum’s famous lace cookies. Mum and Sue would cuddle up on the couch, while Dad would scratch my back and we were all happy. Anxious for Christmas morning to arrive, the evening would always come to an end with my solo of Silent Night. We left cookies and milk for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph. Sue & I always slept together on Christmas Eve talking, giggling and trying to stay awake to see if we could hear Santa arrive on the rooftop…but we never did catch him.

Christmas morning was always a rush of abundance, stockings, and gifts, Mum making the dressing, getting “the bird” ready – a cacophony of joyful chaos. But Christmas Eve was something special; soulful, close, loving and real. It was a Lowry family tradition. A silent night; a holy night, where all was calm and all was bright.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Hey Yule!

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I’m sitting in my den looking out the window and the snow is coming down. It finally feels like winter. The sky is battleship gray, with lethargic, heavy-hearted artic clouds sinking in to stay. The branches of my massive 70 foot pine tree are dusted with diamond flakes as the squirrels have now become frantic for the peanuts hidden under the newly fallen snow.

It’s a special time of year; besides it being Christmas; for me, my Winter Solstice is near.  Next Wednesday, December 21st an “astronomical phenomenon” will occur marking the shortest day and the longest night of the year. “Solstice” originates from two Latin words: sol meaning “sun” and sister meaning “to stand still”. This longest night of the year, is followed by a renewal of the sun.  It’s a cosmic sciencey thing that I can’t properly explain, but what I am happy to express is the magic that comes from this.

Midwinter’s eve is a magical time of ritual, reflection and renewal.  It’s a time of quietude, a time to plant our dream seeds and let them germinate in the frozen earth. It’s a time of stillness, when our rivers slow down and remind us to ponder our pace to one of repose. We step into an abundant cave of darkness, a safe place to rest, to replenish and incubate our desires. A time to cuddle up under winter’s blanket and let ourselves fall into a deep and beautiful sleep. A soul-searching time to foster and befriend our creativity, to be gentle in our thoughts, and authentic with our hearts. Winter Solstice presents a time of courage along with lessons for the need to withdrawal, be silent, be contemplative all with the purpose of renewal.

Ahh doesn’t that sound nice?  I invite you to join me in welcoming the Winter Solstice.  Consider marking this special day and celebrating a new tradition. A ritual that ignites our spirit founded in the love of nature and respect for the renewing cycles of life. You can simply say thanks to the wonder of winter or if you want to try something a little more magical – traditional rituals of respect for Mother Nature include ringing bells at sunrise and sunset, offering seeds to winter birds and of course peanuts to the squirrels and creating a circle of candlelight, blowing them out and sitting in the darkness for a few moments expressing your gratitude, wishes and prayers.

Make Peace on Earth, Make Peace Within
At the Sun’s Rebirth & ‘Round the Wheel Again.                
Blessed be.