My blog posts come from my personal experiences, as you can probably tell if you look through my blog archives. This blog was inspired by one of my new favourite country songs by Josh Turner called “Time is Love”. In the last week or so, I have been driving in my car with this song on repeat and it made me really think about TIME. We all have a finite amount of time on this earth and how we choose to spend it and whom we choose to spend it with should be valued. What you do today needs to matter, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.
I am a very busy person and time is precious to me. I choose and enjoy having a lot going on in my life from my business and career, volunteering, spending time with friends and family, being active with my sports, carving out time to take care of my body and mind and yes, also spending time being silly and completely letting go. I am here not to grab all I can, but to give all that I am. I love to be around people. I realize that some people make themselves busy because they want to avoid being alone due to being scared and not wanting to figure out who they are. I get this point and can see how that can be true, but I believe I like to be busy because there is so much in this world I want to achieve and experience and the idea that “life is short” has become much more real to me. Or maybe I simply have a lot of energy and I want to spread the love! Haha Seriously though, I want to take every moment to soak up as much of this thing called “life” that I can.
Words and material things don’t mean as much to me as actions. I would much rather receive a gift that involves tickets to an event to attend together or a day trip with friends or even having a party to spend time with those I love, sans gifts. This being said, spending time with those I love has gone from something that was important, to something that is extremely important. As an example, last week I took my parents out for a formal dinner. We dressed up, ordered a lovely bottle of red wine and chatted for a few hours as we ate our delicious meal. When the waiter asked if we were celebrating something special, my mom looked at me and said, “Just that we are here together tonight and I guess … life”. This time together is so important to me and relates back to my “Celebrate You” blog.
The point of this blog is to remind you that sometimes, in life, we forget to spend quality time with those we love the most. I have been guilty of this. In the midst of our extremely busy lives, we forget that the most important thing is to surround ourselves with happy, loving and wonderful people. I am so grateful and lucky to have a lot of amazing people in my life. If I make time for you, it shows how important you are to me. To me, time is a powerful emotional communicator of how I feel.
This week, I encourage you to take some extra time to just “be” with someone you care about who is in your life. This could be your romantic partner, family member or a close friend. Give someone your undivided attention, without watching TV or texting on your phone. Look at each other and talk. In 30 years people may not remember your achievements or your profession or possibly even your name, but they will remember the memories you gave them and how you made them feel.
“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, relationships we are afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make. “
Every morning that you wake up is a chance to get it right. That alone is something to feel optimistic and positive about.
I like to consider myself a positive person. I was told by a friend, “If I’m feeling sad, I go to your facebook page – there are always so many inspirational and happy things there”. Another person told me it was “refreshing” to see someone look on the bright side so often. And recently I was asked after I explained some challenges going on in my personal life “How do you stay so positive?”
The answer is simply put that I work at it. I have to consciously choose to be positive. It isn’t always easy, but it is a choice. I get it … it is a tough choice to make in the midst of some pretty crappy situations. I am not about to say that I am perfect. I don’t always see the good in people and sometimes there are circumstances that happen that are brutal and hard to view as anything but terrible. However, if I look hard enough, I can still see benefits. I have such a strong belief and faith that the blessings are present if you look for them and are open to them and want to learn from them.
I realize that since I am opening myself up by writing my blog and sharing my personal and professional life on my website and facebook page to the public, I may encounter some criticism from the “haters” and that is okay. But I am not the jerk whisperer! I do not have to please everyone because that is a one way to ensure that I please no one. My opinion of myself is more important than any one else’s opinion. I have been criticized for believing everything happens for a reason and looking on the brighter side of things. I know that a person’s actions and words are always a reflection of the person doing and saying them and it is okay for someone not to share my beliefs or opinions. That being said, it also made me take a look at my attitude and why I act and do the things I do and I thought someone else might benefit from me sharing them.
I went through a time when I was not my best. I felt many things were going wrong in my life from my relationship, friends, health, my family and even parts of my career. I felt that nothing was going according to “plan” and I wasn’t happy with the outcomes. A change in my life was in order and I will explain how I did that. This was my path, and it may not be right for you, but here are some of the steps I took to make what has started to be the best time in my life.
#1 – I asked for help. There is no shame is asking for help. It shows strength.
#2 – I became GRATEFUL for everything I DID have. I focused on what I do have, not what I don’t. I wrote gratitude lists and there is one I did a few years ago in my blog archives you can read here.
#3 – I made my health an even bigger priority. I have always been health conscious, but I learned better ways to eat and exercise and ensured I was sticking to them 80% of the time. When my body was feeling better and stronger, I was getting adjusted regularly and took time to do yoga and stretch, everything else seemed more manageable. Last weekend I went for a run in nature in the rain and it instantly made me happier and helped my stress melt away!
#4 – I put my focus into WHO I am. I defined my goals and values and the person I wanted to be, my vision and my purpose in life.
#5 – I surrounded myself with loving, happy and successful people that I wanted to be like. You are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.
#6 – I figured out HOW to become the person I want to be and attain my goals. Then I put it into ACTION. If you don’t know how to do this, refer back to #1.
When my father was diagnosed with cancer, my first response was sadness, anger and frustration. This created a lot of stress in my life and continues to do so as he lives with this condition that has spread multiple times. But there are so many reasons I am grateful and I have found blessings in this situation. I can actually help my parents for a change, which feels pretty darn awesome. I have the ability to spend more quality time with my father. Some people lose their loved ones suddenly and are not able to do the things they wanted to do with them or tell and show them how they feel. This has made me do some pretty cool things with my Dad including a hot air balloon ride and a trip to Europe. Because of him, I moved back to London and bought a beautiful house and I have changed my mindset about how people need to take responsibility for their own health. I am more grateful than ever for everything that I have, including my health and relationships with some pretty amazing people. And one very important thing I did was I stopped comparing my life to others because I have no idea what their journey is about. I know that my Dad is a huge part of my journey and I am sure there are even more blessings than I have listed here. I believe his situation has made me a better person.
I don’t have all the answers about why my Dad is going through this and that is okay. I am not supposed to. Life is a lesson and we are always learning. I do believe this is helping me to have more faith in the fact that answers may not present themselves right away. I’m coming to terms with that.
As a young adult, I was complaining about something in retrospect that was very trivial, and my father said “Michelle, there will always be something to complain about, but we need to look at it like this. We have a good life and are good people. We work hard. We have a place to live. We have a car to take you places you want to go. You have a family and friends that are there for you and love you. What else do you need?”
Although I’m sure my Dad will question “Why did you write all of this on the internet?” I hope he realizes how much he has taught me.
One thing I remind myself daily is that I am the reason for my happiness. No one else. I choose to be happy.
I hope you choose to be happy too.
This is my first blog sharing some of my experiences on my recent trip. The first topic I want to talk about is “taking a moment”. I, as many others I know, can be the type of person that rushes from one thing to the next, accomplishing one task and moving forward … trying to squeeze it all in and do it all. As much as this can serve me, it can also take away from the simple pleasures in life.
On the fourth day of my trip, I travelled to Rome. While in Rome, I walked around this remarkable city by myself. My first stop was to see the Sistine Chapel and the only way to get there was through the Vatican Museum. The crowds of people were crazy insane! Seriously, I felt like I was amongst cattle being herded through the museum. I didn’t think I had a problem with crowds, but I was getting very irritated and frustrated with people being in my personal space, pushing me around and bumping into me. I actually thought, “They are so rude. Is it worth this to see to the Sistine Chapel?!?!”. After about an hour of walking through the intense crowds, becoming more and more like Oscar the Grouch as time went on, I walked into this amazing and incredible structure. I grew up Roman Catholic and although I am not a structured religious person, I do have a strong spiritual side and being in this building and being present for the sheer beauty of this place made my entire perception change. The feelings of anxiousness and frustration very quickly disappeared. In that instant, I didn’t seem to notice the people pushing me around or being in my personal space. I sat down and took that beautiful moment in. Nothing seemed to bother me. I took that moment to enjoy the beauty and I thought about my life and how grateful I was for having the opportunity to see one of the most amazing structures in the world that I may never see again in my life.
After I left, still in awe, I thought how interesting it was that my mood could change so quickly. I know I can do this type of perception change in my everyday life and it doesn’t mean having the Sistine Chapel in my home at the end of a bad day. I can choose to change my perceptions. It is a mental shift. It could be a partner or child that creates a smile and the ability to forget all of the negative events that happened that day. Or maybe it is a breathe of clean fresh air, the sight of a lake or talking to a good friend or family member that erases those bad feelings. What I “see” depends on what filters I have operating in my life. The power of the human mind is beyond comprehension and is incredibly fascinating to me. We have the ability to choose how we react to our environment. Even in external circumstances that seem out of our control, we can always control our internal response. It really is the only thing that we have absolute control over.
What was reinforced to me this day was that, sometimes, we rush through life too quickly to get to an end result and we forget to take a moment to enjoy where we are then and there. We let the frustrations cloud the beautiful moments. I was extremely frustrated by the crowds of people, but I am so grateful that something clicked in me and I took the moment to enjoy that experience.
I wish for all of you the ability to slow down for just a moment. Take the time to appreciate even the ordinary events. Life becomes instantly more enjoyable.