Access makes invisible

Constant access to anything makes it invisible. Gratitude brings it back into focus.

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I live in the Rocky Mountains in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. I am surrounded by stunning natural beauty and encounter wild animals almost daily. I have often wondered if I’ve become complacent in my awe of this place until I was recently struck by a thought that cut deep into my existence.

On a recent road trip with my family I was daydreaming and gazing out the car window when out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of something common, but saw it with new eyes.  What I saw was a group of tourists on the side of the road taking photos of a handful of bighorn sheep. As I watched the visitors inch closer to the dangerous wild animals I was struck first with concern for their well being then harsh criticism over their response to something as banal as a herd of sheep. Rather than revel in the beauty of these majestic wild animals I was contemplating why anyone would ever want to photograph this roadside scene,  nevermind risk their lives to do so?

This thought suddenly sent me back to the first time I ever saw a big horned sheep. As a 19 year old girl living in the majestic Jasper National Park in Alberta, I eagerly whipped out my camera every time I saw an elk, bighorn sheep,  deer, and of course a bear. It was an awesome and new experience to cross paths with such animals and snapping a photo was part of the excitement. Those photographs live in a box somewhere and have long lost their luster, but for a time they hung on my walls and refrigerator and filled me with enthusiasm and appreciation for the place I temporarily called home. 

When did it change? At what point did this experience go from awesome to ordinary? Why do I so easily criticize people for doing the exact same thing I did years ago? As I followed this thought I realized that there was a profound lesson here.

Why does the newness of something dictate its value?  Perhaps our conditioning to want the next and the newest and the best and the brightest has eroded our ability to value what we already have. Would escaping this paradigm not alleviate some of the pressure to constantly work to accumulate and obtain?

What I realized in that moment was that access creates invisibility. When we have constant, never ending access to anything it loses its value. Constant access to money reduces the value of each dollar. Constant access to love can make it so invisible that we take it for granted. Living in a place without war makes peace invisible.

I don’t want to ever lose sight of what is true and what is right and what is important no matter how accessible it is to me. The best way to do this is to practice daily gratitude. Gratitude opens the heart and the eyes to things we already have and brings the invisible back into focus. When we take time to really appreciate the things that are presently in our life we direct our attention to what we love rather than focusing on what is missing.

So to those eager tourists I say a humble namaste and thank you for reminding me to appreciate all that lies in front of me.

Find me on Twitter @tallerthanilook

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100 reasons to write

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Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no idea dump, no stories central, no island of the buried bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the Sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.

– Stephen King

All my life I have written. I received a journal when I was in fourth grade and immediately started writing about how much I hated my brothers. In time the writing morphed into doodles and hearts and words lamenting after boys in high school. It then became the conversation I had with myself about life and yearning for things not yet come to pass. As I traveled around the world it became a record of thoughts that I was lucky enough to think upon inspired from other people and their cultures. As a mother my journals became very sparsely written due to sheer exhaustion and a new focus on that which was not myself.

As my boys grow up and I’m faced with a little more time my writing is becoming more urgent. I realize that when putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard I am doing what I was meant to do in this world. In writing this blog I have found an audience, and am finally able to share thoughts that have always been private. It is frightening and also liberating.

Last night my cousin told me that she thought I was courageous for launching my words out into space and sharing them with the world. This made me contemplate the word courage which stems from the word coeur. As so many of us know,  coeur is French for heart. I’m struck by the fact that it takes heart to expose ourselves to the world. Perhaps that’s why things written from the heart are received most voraciously by the audience. In baring

our soul we connect with the reader and that makes it all worthwhile.

As I reach the milestone of 100 followers I am struck by a vision of 100 people in a room holding a book that I wrote. This image gives me chills and propels me forward into more writing and more sharing and more courage. I sincerely thank you all for being part of this journey and for helping me do what I’ve always wanted to do. I am a writer.

Find me on Twitter @tallerthanilook

Who am I when I don’t?

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Who am I when I don’t act?
Who am I when I don’t react?
Who am I when I don’t do?
Who am I when I don’t think?

Is this the existential crisis or the question that sets us free?

I know that I am not the things I do so what am I then?

I know I’m not the clothes I wear or the skin I live in so what am I then?

I know I’m not the things I say so who is saying them?

If I do nothing what am I?
If I do nothing am I still worthy of love? Is the love I receive in this world based on doing or thinking or looking a certain way or acting in predictable, prescribed ways?

Would you still love me if I stopped doing and only was? Would I still exist?

Is my soul just a waft of smoke contained in bone and skin?

Find me on Twitter @tallerthanilook

Hard time

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I’m always giving myself a hard time.

Have you ever heard someone say that?Have you ever felt deep inside that you are giving yourself a hard time?
Do you criticize and critique your every thought, every move, every action… thinking that somehow it will propel you to be better.
Do you think that doing this protects you in some way? Think it will make you smarten up or behave or do the right thing or be the right person?

The truth is it will do nothing but cut you down and make you feel awful. Harsh words reduce and diminish they don’t inspire and ignite. Whether said to yourself or someone else criticism is not what makes us grow. It is love and compassion that makes us better.

If we get what we give in the world and we spend so much time giving ourselves a hard time it makes sense to think that what we would receive in return is a life that feels hard,  feels difficult, like it’s beating us up.

Whether we like it or not we are part of this cycle of giving and receiving and if we continue giving ourselves a hard time that’s what we will get. Give yourself a break.. give yourself love and compassion and you will receive that in return. Look for examples of how you are in the cycle of giving and receiving in your life and you will see very quickly that it is true. Look for beauty and it will find you. Give into the temptation to find what feels good and your life will be full of things that feel good.

Find me on Twitter @tallerthanilook

Coming up from within.

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I am in awe
Blown away
Can’t ever unsee
What I saw tonight
Thankful for the awakening

I am abundant
Connected and pure
Can’t ever change what is
Only how I see
And my eyes are open

I am love
Can love myself
Without guilt or self hatred
And still be ok 

Coming up from within
Can’t stop me now
Bursting with life
With a smile on my face

The journey goes on
Never starting or stopping
Just going forever
As love does in me

Find me on Twitter @tallerthanilook

Destination weddings are good for everyone

I’d love to be there now…

Jo Traveller

I have been to many weddings, most of which were a lot of fun and full of love.  My own was a winterland love fest in Lethbridge in the dead of March.  What we lacked in sunshine and warm weather we made up in revelry and dancing.  I honestly wouldn’t have had it any other way and, ten years later, the marriage has stuck.  However if I was to do it again, and just may (loving nod to my husband), I would seriously consider a destination wedding.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to have a friend oblige me in my travel lust by getting married in Mexico and while it may well be true that she chose a destination wedding for her own love of sunshine and good times, I felt like a winner none the less.  It all started with some margaritas at the airport with friends who were also…

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