Inspiration for living a luxuriously and balanced life

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Life's Seasons ...

NOTE: I originally wrote this post as a guest post on Hopefilled-Living April 2, 2012 - Titled Life's April Showers.

As the cold and darkness of winter make way for the warmer, color filled days of spring it is the perfect time to be reminded that no matter the season we may find our lives in, it is only a matter of time before it too changes.

When we find our lives in what seems like and eternity of late Autumn and Winter, it is easy to forget all the wonderful Spring, Summer and early Autumns we were blessed with. And remember the days we find ourselves in - are temporary.They will pass, it is the unknown of exactly when they will end and brighter days begin, that add to the frustration of a situation, and the forgetfulness that they will change.

Sometimes the darkest and coldest days, are the ones that end up helping us to appreciate the good days, but more importantly learn to be more compassionate, loving and caring towards others. These are also the days that when they are replaced with Spring, will help us to stop and actually smell the flowers and try to live in the moment.

Health, marital, parental, loss of a loved one or self, economical, education,family, friends, or co-workers the reason for our dark days are as varied as the length the Winter season of life will last, each time we find ourselves there (yes, ladies ... we will find ourselves there more than once, unfortunately). It's also important to remember that just because someone else had a short (or long) Winter season for similar situation our season is unique to us and thus no two people will experience it the same way.

I'm not an expert on life seasons, and certainly not an expert on getting through the Winter season of life, that is often filled with hurt, anger, pain, depression, frustration, anxiety or (fill in the blank.) But I will share some of the things that have help me to get through some the darkest days of my Winter life season:
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Though I'm not religious, I have always had Faith that HE has a plan and Believe this was part of it. I also had to remember to DREAM, of what life may now hold for me. These three things have not always been easy ...  but with the help of family, friends, and even strangers (who have become friends) I have managed to remember FAITH, BELIEVE, DREAM are the foundation to leaving behind the dark days.

1.  Gratitude Journal ~

Each evening before I turn off the lights, I pull out my gratitude journal and write at least ONE THING that I'm thankful for that day. On the days that are very dark, and I can't seem to feel Thankful ... instead of going to sleep without saying thanks ... I will read back over things I have written and am reminded just how much I do have to be thankful for.

2. I Am Loved and Worthy Reminder Notes ~

In the early days of recovery, often the days were only dark and to the point that I often questioned if it would be easier to die than live (Yes, it was horrible not just for me but my family and loved ones to see me at such lows). One of the things that helped was reading how close friends and family felt about me. At the suggestion of a psychologist, I wrote a letter to family and close friends explaining that it would be helpful if they would write a few things about how they felt /saw me, on the enclosed note paper (the size of a square post it note) and mail it back to me in the addressed/stamped envelope. Each person did take a few moments to send encouraging words ~ each one was different and touched on the various facets that made me. When I received these I placed them in a scrapbook ~ and would read them over and over, especially if I felt an episode of heighten depression coming on. They pulled me out of melt downs and on not so dark days - they made me feel loved, cared about and worthy.

3. Bed Day(s)

Sometimes a day or two in bed is exactly what we need. Learning to accept this was equally hard as was getting out of bed on other days.

4. Get Outside

Getting out of the house during the dark Winter season of life can be an overwhelming event. Once outside, breathing in the fresh air and feeling a little breeze or sunshine on your face will help brighten your mood. It wasn't until we got our little Dolce (Yorkie) that getting out to the patio for even 5-10 minutes a day - became more regular.

5. Make Afternoon Tea part of your day

One of my fondest memories is having afternoon tea with friends, when I lived in the city, sometimes at someone's home, though most often at a hotel (Windsor Arms) that served traditional Afternoon Tea. One afternoon I boiled the kettle, plopped a tea bag in a mug and sipped my tea. The warmth of the tea not only warmed my insides, it was like a soothing peace surrounded me. Over time instead of just boiling water and plopping a tea bag into a mug, I decided to search for some of my tea pots.

By using a teapot and strainer I was able to also enjoy loose leaf tea. But the unexpected benefit was sitting quietly while the tea steeped, thinking of only the tea and how wonderful it would feel. Without realizing it for those moments my mind also quieten. I began making Afternoon Tea a part of my day, as often as possible. I even went back dug my teacups out of the storage boxes and set 3 pm - when I'm home and not at or between appointments, that tea is served in our home.

I've set-up a tea trolley and sit here for 15-30 minutes and enjoy looking outside and letting my mind quieten, embracing the warmth and peace I feel during these few minutes in my day.

6. Speak Up

As a very independent woman ... acknowledging that I now was not capable of doing things, that once came so easily... was not easy ...  let alone Asking for help ... words I never even considered to utter. Thankfully for the most part I have been able to put pride/ego aside and now let others help and have even been known  to utter the words "I NEED HELP".

I'd like to be able to say "these" always work or I always implement "these" ... but I am human like you! These are just a few of the things I have found help me weather the Winter of my life. I hope one or two will also help you.

What have you found helps you to weather the Winter's of life?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Toronto Island Park - Discovering Toronto

It's been a very long time since I've been to the island, so as Toronto remains under an extreme heat warning - 3 days into autumn, I thought WHY NOT! To get to the island you need to take either a water taxi, private boat or the ferry. With it being a week day and school back in session - it was a relatively short wait at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal.

No island map ... just take a photo 
Views of the city from the ferry are spectacular ... 
The journey to the island takes about 15-20 minutes

The views back to the city ...

There are lots of feather friends to greet you around the island.
Since it's already into autumnon a week day, many of the restaurants and attractions are closed. But, there are still places to get food and ice cream!! The island has lots to offer and signs along the main path help direct you.
For today's visit the Pier was my destination ...

 Just beyond the water fountain are magnificent formal gardens! At first glance we missed the butterflies , but as we paused - we began to see the these little darlings were abundant.

The view along the pier (which extends into Lake Ontario) is breath taking and even on this autumn week day, there were quite a few people, and families cooling off from this unseasonable record breaking hot temperatures on the sandy beach area.

 And just in case you were curious how far some areas in Canada are from this point ....  
The island has vast areas of grassed areas ... perfect for connecting to mother earth in your bare feet; enjoying a picnic; or relaxing with a book, or just being in the moment. 
outside the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal
Whether you just come for a leisurely walk, jog, bike ride; a picnic or to escape the heat - why not make Toronto Island a destination this autumn?  I know I plan to be back again soon, and explore the various areas of the islands in more depth. 

Getting to the Ferry Terminal: I suggest taking the TTC: take the subway to Union Station. The terminal is approximately a 15 minute walk. Alternatively you can transfer to the 509 or 510 Street Car - exit at Queens Quay Ferry Docks Terminal - once you are at street level .. it's approximately a 4 minute walk. 

Useful to Note: There are 3 ferry route destinations: - Wards Island, the residential part of the island;  Hanlan's Point, is the most green, and has a clothing optional beach; Centre Island (where I went), is where you'll find fountains, formal gardens, Centreville Amusement Park, Franklin's Children's Garden, the pier, sandy beach areas, and lots of picnic areas. There are bike rentals on the island, dog parks, and many other attractions. Find more information HERE.

Ferry Schedule and additional info HERE.

Your life is yours to create - live it luxuriously balanced,

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Accepting Change - 5 Tips to help you get there

Change is inevitable, whether you realize it or not everything in life involves change. But, change is not always easy to transition through - even when we initiate change, the unknown of how the change will impact us can leave a very unsettling feeling. And when change in our life is not of our choosing, especially when it's unexpected can send us onto a roller coaster of emotions such as: shock, denial, guilt (you could have done, been more), blame (someone else caused this), and eventually you will think with a clarity you didn't think possible, and accept what has happened. Once you accept the change - you will be able to start moving towards creating a new life.

5 Tips to help you Accept Change:

1. FEEL the emotions and carry on: Too often we don't allow our emotions to be felt - we've all read and possibly shared phrases such as "put your big girl pants on" or "suck it up butter cup"or "build a bridge and get over it", you get the idea. By suppressing our emotions we are setting ourselves up to keep holding on to whatever has occurred. 

You will go through a series of emotions (fear, anger, joy, relief, grief,sadness etc.) - there is no "magic" order in which you will experience these emotions or if you experience one, a few or all; the length of time each will last; nor the repeat of these until you accept what has occurred (this is isn't to say even when you have reached the AH HA moment of acceptance that some of these emotions may not creep up from time to time). But having allowed yourself to experience them in the raw - will make it much easier to acknowledge should they creep up again, and not let them take over your life.

2. ASK yourself the question WHY - you are feeling so depleted by the change: is it that you are letting ego get in the way? is that losing a loved one - makes you realize your own immortality? after a break-up is that you are feeling lost, alone, betrayed, unsupported? When we are able to identify why we are feeling a certain way - it helps us to put the situation into perspective, which then enables us to put action steps in place to help us through the healing process.

3. Be THANKFUL for all the amazing people and things you have in your life. Take a look through your gratitude journal if you need a little reminder. Don't have a gratitude journal - perfect time to start one. Start writing down at least 3 things that happened in your day that you are grateful for - could be as basic as food to eat, a roof over your head, conversation with a dear friend or a stranger that smiled. Make a point each evening or morning to add to your gratitude journal.

4. LOOK for the silver lining, sometimes you may have to really look but, I promise you there is always one! Loss of job, could lead to a better career or opportunity to go back to school to study a subject you have always wanted; loss of a loved one, appreciate the family members you still have; the end of a relationship, frees you to explore other parts of you which you may have forgotten about or not realized existed.

5. BREATHE ... whatever the change, know that as long as you are breathing you have an opportunity to create an amazing life. It will be different - but know "The Best Is Yet To Come"!

Take care of you!

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Light Cafe on Baldwin

Whether you are looking to satisfy your appetite, sweet tooth or looking for a hot/cold beverage Light Cafe is serving up a great selection of gourmet cafĂ© food and drinks with a contemporary twist. Super friendly and welcoming staff. A great up beat vibe, lots of natural light filters in from the floor to ceiling window ... and the live plant wall really is a wonderful touch of green - it's like being outside indoors.

The Lobster Bisque is scrumptious!!

I fell in love with this yummy treat! The strawberry mille feuille is a delectable melody of light flaky pastry, cream, fresh strawberries, a petite scoop of strawberry ice cream, and an infusion of strawberry puree. It really is a party for the senses!!

Feeling a little parched or looking for a place to enjoy a hot or cold beverage? Light Cafe has you covered with their extensive offering: espresso bar, slow drip hand brew coffee, infused loose leaf tea, au laits, and refreshing alternatives.
On a recent visit ... I took a little break from my writing day with leisure reading and a cup of Earl Grey Rose Au Lait!! ( lovelies if you enjoy an Au Lait, you must try this one, you will thank me!)

Light Cafe is located at : 23 Baldwin Street
Easily accessible via the St. Patrick TTC Station or the 505 Dundas street car McCaul stop.
See menu here or visit their website: LightCafe.ca
NOTE: this is a CASH only establishment

If you have experienced Light Cafe, would love for you to share your fav menu item in the comments. 

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