Archive | August, 2010

Transition

29 Aug

My husband and I have been thinking about moving. We currently own a little house in the city. It’s not located in the best area of town but we do have a nice, little pocket of neighbours with lots of kids around. We’re a short distance from Downtown and very close to a new hotspot growing strong in Toronto – the Junction – the latest result of gentrification.

Only 5-10 years ago, the Junction was a pretty shady area, but it has bloomed into a neighbourhood that boasts expensive cafes, organic veggie markets and yoga studios. You can be sure, the rich folk have arrived. (I did hear a rumour that this area still has the highest concentration of pedophiles in Toronto. I hope this isn’t true.)

The Junction was where we hoped to move. Our daughter attends school there already…it’s our way of getting one foot into the neghbourhood, I guess. The thing is, to move there we pretty much have to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars, AND be willing to live in an old home, that will have no closets, and will likely need to be renovated. Of course, it’ll have tonnes of character! But, I’m well aware that a big part of my inflated mortgage payment will be going towards the fact that I’ll be close to the cafes, the organic market and the yoga studios.

I like this. I want to be walking distance from these places. I want to live around people who choose to bike ride over driving and who are diverse and open-minded. I just can’t afford it.

What we can afford is a house in the suburbs. Probably a new development. But I fear the suburbs. I fear the hundreds of cookie-cutter homes littering the landscape. I fear the lack of sidewalks since you need to drive to get anywhere. I fear the stripmalls. I really fear the loss of my soul. But most of all? I fear the little 5 year old I saw coming out of a car yesterday in Mississauga – was she really wearing a long, blonde weave and little plastic heals!?!

Perhaps the answer lies in a small town. Neither the city nor the suburbs. Somewhere close to a lake? It sounds kind of dreamy, no? It’s true that the crowded noise of the city has been more annoying than enchanting as of late. The pretenciousness of “coffee art” and downtown hipsters is not lost on me. I am well aware of how much posing one has to do to keep up with their fellow city dwellers. However, I don’t think I’m ready to let it go. Certainly not to trade in for a big house and 3 car garage where I’ll watch TV all day and go to Mandarin for dinner.

It angers me that we have to make this choice. There doesn’t seem to be an in-between. A place where a decent home is still available yet you don’t have to give up a more grassroots lifestyle.

In my heart I dream of living on an island, waking to the smell of salty air. I know, I know, don’t we all.But it isn’t luxury I’m after, I promise you. I’m not naïve. And I know there is more to life than location.

So here we are. Back at square one. Any suggestions?

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Advertisements

From cynic to believer

23 Aug

I fear that I’m becoming a cynic, and I need to stop it.  I’m pretty much angry at the world all the time.  This is exacerbated by my daily dealings with various bureaucracies, such as Enbridge or Sears or  Bell… it seems that they are intent on making a perfectly sane person lose their mind.  However, I think it goes deeper that this.  Yes, being put through the various levels of the Enbridge telephone system is absolutely enraging and nearly made me smash my phone against the wall.  But, I digress.

When I think about my life, I feel absolutely blessed in every way.  I have a beautiful family  (a wicked husband and awesome kids!), great friends that stand by me and share my values, a home that I complain about but am still happy to return to every night and I’m generally healthy and well.  This is when I would like to request you all to knock on wood, turn three times and spit or put up the hand gesture that protects against the “malocchio”, please!!! Despite all these blessings, though, I think about the world around me and feel a quiet sense of despair.  But even worse, when I hear others speak of revolutionary ideas that will bring about change, I find myself internally rolling my eyes and nodding in agreement, while thinking “Whatever!”  As such, I am becoming my own worst nightmare.

I’m not sure where this cynicism began.  I recall as recently as 10 years ago feeling more connected to the universe, more positive about the possibilities of true change.  Reading Tarot cards and contemplating the secret messages of the stars, my friends and I would discuss for hours the idea of aliens living among us and that the Freemasons were running the world.  All this was tied directly to a strong sense of spirituality – a sense of connectedness with something greater than this Earthly existence. As the responsibilities of everyday life took over my time, though, I found myself moving further and further away from these ideas and becoming more immersed in how I would cover the next mortgage payment.  Spirituality took a back seat.

So I’m trying to be a little more conscious lately. Replace my cynicism with a sense of wonder. Be aware of the beauty of each moment. No easy feat, I assure you. I’ll keep you posted as to my progress…

Input / Output

13 Aug

Our thoughts are energy.  This is not a philosophical statement; it is scientific fact.  And it is something that has been on my mind (ha!) over the past couple of weeks.

Let me digress for a moment… I am famous with my family and friends for complaining about things.  I feel like there are so many injustices in this world.  I want to fix them all!! However, this trait is strongly juxtaposed with my utter fear of confrontation.  Case in point: while jogging a few weeks ago, I was bitten lightly by a fellow jogger’s dog.  Although I initially yelled out in pain and the owner did scold her dog, I then continued running!  Thinking back on this, I find it absurd, but in fact, quite common in terms of how I react to others.

As such, what often happens is that I encounter some “injustice” throughout the day and I don’t respond at the time that it occurs.  I seethe about it for hours, maybe even days.  Then I either unload on my husband or my best friend (thank you both!).  Or I write a complaint letter.

And, oh, the complaint letters I have written!

Yesterday, I was met with another “injustice”.  I was treated extremely rudely at my local coffee shop.  At the time, of course, I hung my head and fumed silently.  Then I got home and the venting began.  Finally, my husband said, “You should write a letter to the owner.”  Yes!!  I was super-charged.  Oh, this letter was going to be a doozy!

So, last night I sat at the laptop and began firing off my tirade.  But as the words emerged on the screen, I began to feel drained.  And even after pressing Send, I didn’t feel any better.  If anything, I felt worse.  To add insult to injury, the contact email on the establishment’s website was out of order, so my scalding words were staring back at me a few seconds later.

This is when I, once again, began to ponder the concept of thoughts and energy.  Whatever our intentions are, this is the energy that we emit into the world.  Yesterday, the rude barista, for whatever reason, was emitting pure negativity and I was her direct beneficiary.  That negativity plagued me silently throughout the day and probably subconsciously effected many of my responses to other situations.  When I tried to resolve the issue with a letter, though, it was I who emitted the negativity and this drained me completely.  I was filled with rage and venom and I tried to relatively nicely transmit this into words.  But I wonder, if I had confronted the barista at the time…perhaps called her out on her behaviour…would I have been able to destroy the negativity?  Maybe I would have made her realize what she was doing and the energy would have been transformed into something more positive.  (This happens all the time.  My kids will be driving me crazy and I’m filled with anger, yet a simple hug or smile from them can transform the heaviness of the room into light and love.  Our intentions are that powerful.) Of course, it doesn’t always work this way.  I easily could have been met with an even harsher response from the barista upon confrontation.  Or maybe she would have reacted with complete indifference.  The variables are endless.  But the constant dance between our energies cannot be denied.  And here, all the famous clichés spring to mind…

Every action has a reaction.

To receive love you must give love.

Karma is a bitch!

Oh wait. How did that get in there?!?

So my ultimate goal?  Meet every confrontation head on and speak with love.  Allow each situation to be a lesson to myself and others and try to always be aware of the energy I emit. (My post about delusions of grandeur and Joan-of-Arc syndrome to follow shortly.)

Namaste

10 Aug

My dad has a pet-peeve, and it’s people who are late.  For most of my life, I found his pet-peeve annoying because I could never make it anywhere on time.  And although my punctuality has not improved greatly, I am now slowly starting to understand where he is coming from.  Pardon the pun! Ha!

Except, in this particular instance, I’m not annoyed by the beginning but, rather, by the end.

I have been taking yoga at a local studio for over a year now.  Because of my busy schedule (and, really, whose schedule is NOT busy?) I can only fit in an early morning class;  namely, 6:30 am – 7:45 am.  As my husband must be at work by 9:00 am and my daughter must be at school at the same time, it is pretty important that I get home by 8:00 am at the latest.

Well, for as long as I’ve taken this class, it has NEVER finished on time.  And this is even more annoying considering that the last posture in yoga is often said to be the most important one.  Savasana, or Corpse Pose, closes every yoga practice that I have ever heard or read about.  It is the pose that helps you “absorb” the practice and allows your mind to calm. It is often said to be the most difficult pose because although it appears you are doing “nothing”, you are really trying to be in the present moment.  This is very difficult for most of us to achieve.

Well, time and again, the class is winding down and I look at the clock only to see that it’s already almost 7:45 am.  At this point, I quietly roll up my mat and leave.  And I’m not the only one.  A fair number of other students file out as the teacher puts on the final, “meditative” song. I find this entire situation disrespectful to the students and to the practice itself.  The teachers are quite enthusiastic in trying all kinds of acrobatic movements and devoting much time to various asanas, but yet this final pose is treated as an after-thought.

To my dismay, other classes I attended at this studio (even on the weekends and at later times of day) also ended late.  This studio is the closest to my home and the only one that offers classes during the time I need.  And I actually really like my teachers.  I am excited to attend each class.  However, I can’t help but feel the elitist overtones that Yoga in the West has taken on.  Of course, there are the obvious signs: classes that cost $20 a pop and are filled with middle to upper class white women wearing the latest Lululemon gear (yes, I’m one of them).  I feel that this habit, of forcing the students to stay late to complete their practice, is a reflection of this as well.  It suggests that there is nowhere else that any of us really need to be, and most importantly, it implies that Savasana is not a necessary part of daily practice.  I can almost guarantee that no self-respecting Yogi would agree with this.  But then again, s/he probably wouldn’t be practicing to Buddha Bar in a pair of hot shorts either.

Opinionated much?

8 Aug

I suppose starting a blog at this point in time is a bit cliché.  I’d like to think I’ll be contributing something original, but chances are I won’t.  What I will be doing, though, is getting some stuff off my chest.  You see, I think I’m a generally well-liked person.  I smile a lot. I laugh even more.  But beneath this exterior is a pretty judgemental and opinionated person.  Yes.  I am constantly judging you.

I am a Virgo.  It’s not something that has ever made me particularly proud.  Part of the (stereotypical) Virgo nature is that we are highly critical.  And, so, here we are.  I judge, criticize, and generally expect A LOT out of people.  But I want to do better.  My hope is that if I send my thoughts out into the blogosphere, I will learn something.  Because, inevitably, if this experiment is a success, my thoughts will get thrown right back at me and I will grow a little more each day.  Or something profound like that.