The Cuckoo’s Calling {52 Books}

I read all of the Harry Potter books in December of 2012.

Don’t ask me why, but I hadn’t read any of the books up until that point. I am glad I waited because it meant I could read them back to back in Donloree OCD fashion. Basically, I didn’t come up for air and dreamt of flying on broomsticks, wizards and muggles for about three weeks straight.

Somewhere along the lines I had heard that JK Rowling wrote some books under pseudonyms so I put one of them on hold at the library and promptly forgot about it. This is how it works at my house – books are put on hold at 4:52 am in the morning and then weeks, sometimes months later a notice arrives and I pick up a stack of books and dive into reading.

The Cuckoo’s Calling.

The Robert Galbraith book didn’t ring a bell for me, but I dove in anyways – 455 pages of a crime novel seemed like a decent choice.

No recollection of why I put this one on hold...

No recollection of why I put this one on hold…

Cardio reading is the only way it works.

Hauling a giant hardback book to the gym with me is a regular occurrence. It marks my bench along with my water bottle – a tactic to keep the overly muscled men away from my bench while I get my weights for a good back or chest day. It is hard to miss a teal colored water bottle standing on a two inch tall book.

My life is rather jam packed, just like your life, with work, family, friends, working out, pursuing my dreams, grown up tasks and volunteer work. Reading is something I do for me – especially when it is a good story – but time is limited, so I read while I sweat.

Getting ready to read and sweat!

Getting ready to read and sweat!

I give fiction books about 50 pages to suck me in. If I am looking to see how many pages are left because I am bored to tears or the story and writing is horrible, the book goes back to the library. No one has time to waste on a poorly written story!

On Thursday evening I started the book while taking the bus home and I nearly missed my stop. The story had officially sucked me in. Upon arriving home I googled the author and remembered that it was actually JK Rowling who wrote the book, which is why I put a request in for it.

Interesting! A test to see if she could write a book and sell it without the JK Rowlings name attached to it. Love it!

A test to see if she could write a book and sell it without the JK Rowling name attached to it. Love it!

The story is well written, told from the perspective of two people and leaves you most curious about a woman named Robin who works with Strike, the burly and stalwart private investigator. I look forward to more in this crime series. Robert Galbraith has developed a duo that is begging for more adventure and intrigue.

Unsavoury parts.

I did not appreciate the copious amount of swearing in the book although it did match the unsavoury characters that showed up in the story. It will be interesting to read the second book that is due out in the summertime to see if the same goes for The Silkworm.

It was a nice break to steal away for Thursday evening, Friday morning cardio, and some of Friday and Saturday into the world of paparazzi, private investigators and the London scene. 455 pages, and avoiding 14 other things I should have been doing and 6 hours later *poof* back to my real life which does not have paparazzi or any crazy lawyers in it. I am glad to keep the crazy in the book and not have them in my life!

How long do you give books to reel you in? What is your favorite genre of fiction? 

Pumpkin, Chocolate, and Brie Grilled Cheese {The Overlap}

Do you ever feel like you need a life highlighter?

You know what I am talking about, right? It is for those times when you see something, hear a word that is spoken, or have a giant ‘a-hah!’ moment and all you want to do is whip out a mondo fluorescent highlighter out of your purse, press *pause* on life and color over what you just learned.

  • You know…for future reference…

I freely admit it, I sometimes think in cartoon. Just in case you were curious in the Donloree-Life-Cartoon I am always wearing great shoes and nylons are never required.

Yesterday I found myself searching for the giant life highlighter when I ran across this gem which perfectly illustrates what I have been trying to put to words lately.

YES! This is all that needs to be said.

YES! Isn’t it interesting how small the overlap really is?

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If I sat down to make a list of things that mattered, I could write all day long and probably not even come close to finishing. 

My dominant personality wishes the same was true for the things I can control, but after a few minutes that list would be finished. In fact, it comes down to one thing – myself.

Overlap creates clarity.

  • Where am I in the thing, situation, circumstance, or person’s life that matters?
  • What can I do? What must be done that I can do?
  • What do I need to let go of?
  • What is out of my control?
  • What can I change?
  • What influence, voice or movement can I create?

I love to sit and think about all the things that matter and that I can’t control. I think about them a lot. Then when I run out of things to think about that matter, I move onto the things that don’t matter list.

I think the experts refer to this as ‘worry’.

Worrying about something only keeps you from doing the things you can do. It takes up space, energy, time, brain cells and emotion that could be directed to a situation where you could do something. Worry focusses on what you can’t do, rather than what you can do.

In the overlap worry goes away and is replaced by work.

Working hard at the things you can do and learning how to control your emotions, thoughts, energy, discipline and words is not easy, but it is peaceful.

Pumpkin, chocolate and brie grilled sandwiches.

Apparently grilled pumpkin, chocolate and brie is quite the tasty sandwich. Who knew? It just goes to show you that you don’t know what is good together until you try it.

Uh, I have yet to try this. I will use my gluten intolerance as a very good reason for not giving this a go.

Uh, I have yet to try this creation. I will use my gluten intolerance as a very good reason for not giving this a go.

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Calm, peace, and rest come from working hard in the overlap. It isn’t intuitive, but once you try it you won’t go back…apparently the same is true for the PBC sandwich, but I will just take Maria and Josh’s word for it.

Focus on what you can control and what matters and give the rest to someone else. Other people have different things in their overlap, let them get to work on it and leave the worry behind.

What matters that you can do? And I seriously want to know if you’ve ever had a PCB sandwich!

I still have too much stuff…how is that possible?

Last year I read a book called ‘”The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul“. It was a rather poorly written book and could have been condensed to half the pages, yet I still felt inspired to get rid of loads of my things.

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Instead of going down to 100 ‘personal‘ items, I got rid of half of my personal items. Then came the rub – I made a rule that I followed nearly 100% for over 365 days.

Don’t buy anything personal items unless you need it, not want it.

Need: (knee-duh) The state of being completely without and unable to function properly in society if you lack this item or if it needs replacing.

Examples of needed items include:

  • Shorts that fit over your arse and don’t cut your circulation off at the waist in order to survive the 110 degree weather in California
  • Winter socks that keep your toes from freezing off in the subarctic
  • Mittens after you leave your’s at the local Starbucks and the person who found them kept them instead of turning them in
  • Contigo water bottle after your’s breaks in your purse and creates a paper machete-esque fiasco all over your wallet and iPhone
  • New to me car after the smashed up Aerio died an epic death on the Yellowhead

It turns out I still have more than enough stuff.

I live in what I estimate to be 67.63% of my house and use about 42.93% of the things I own. There are kitchen cupboards which I don’t open, closets that remain closed, boxes covered in over a year of dust, clothes which are not worn, and stuff I keep because I should.

Stuff just fills up my life. I have to clean, store, organize, dig through, categorize, manage and keep track of so much I don’t even care about.

I am never going to be Martha Stewart, so why am I storing Martha-esque stuff?!

My inability to be a fabulous Martha Stewart was confirmed when I was a teenager and was put in charge of sewing my own costume for the Easter play at church. I merely folded an old sheet in half, laid down on it with my neck at the top of the fold, traced my body, cut along the wobbly sharpie line and used that iron on sewing glue stuff to. Once I added a belt of rope from the garage, Mary’s outfit was complete.

Although Mary couldn’t raise her arms or sit down while wearing super awesome, vintage Donloree Designer Wear, but who cares…right?

I agree with Leonardo, but somehow I don't think my "Mary Costume" is what he's referring to....

I agree with Leonardo, but somehow I don’t think my “Mary Costume” is what he’s referring to….

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Happiness never comes from dusting things you never use or having a bunch of things  you don’t need, rather it comes from being you and having just enough to keep you doing what you love.

Now to muse on what my ‘Great Purge 2014′ rules will be…

Anyone else in spring cleaning mode? How do you keep the clutter from killing you?

Daring Greatly {52 Books}

In September 2012, I was introduced to the name Brené Brown.

I immediately liked her without knowing a thing about her because she has a weird, yet awesome name – I felt connected to her in a way which I rarely do with people. I bet she experiences the lingering handshake while people try to figure out what her name is almost as often as I do.

Do you have any idea how many times I have had a man pull me closer and continue to hold a handshake while I explain my name in order to get my hand back? “My name is Donloree…no, Dawn-lah-ree…one name, one GIANT name.”

I do find it odd that men can’t seem to remember to let go of the handshake when confused whereas women are able to let go and continue the “what-the-heck-is-your-name?!” conversation.

Daring Greatly.

I read part of this book a few years ago, right when it came out and it was a game changer for me. Putting words to something I had struggled with and continually tripped over for most of my adult life helped me to start jumping over and letting go of shame.

Great cover, even greater 'guts' - both literally and figuratively.

Great cover, even greater ‘guts’ – both literally and figuratively.

2014 is a new season for me and I find myself growing and finding opportunities that trigger new depths of foreboding shame and anxiety, yet they are things I want to do with my whole heart.

For instance, I am freakishly excited to speak at a women’s breakfast at the end of the month and yet I also want to hide under my desk until the event passes.

Want to come? It is on April 26!

Want to come? It is on April 26!

Apparently I am anticipating the hard to avoid ‘vulnerability hangover‘ which usually accompanies these events for me.

Vulnerability hangoverYou know that feeling when you wake up an everything feels fine until the memory of laying yourself open washes over you and you want to hide under the covers? What did I do? I must leave town.

Through over a decade of study, work and connection, Brené puts words to and tackles part of the human condition that trips me up – shame, disengagement, and pain.

Lately, I have been noticing a desire in myself to avoid vulnerability in my work, yet that is the very thing which creates my work, my art. An arse kicking in a new and distinct way, yet familiar way was and continues to be required.

I picked Daring Greatly off my shelf and started from the beginning.

Some gems from the book:

  • Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but the don’t exist in the human experience.
  • We get scarcity because we live it…We spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how much we have, want and don’t have, and how much everyone else has, needs, and wants…Worrying about scarcity is our culture’s version of post-traumatic stress.
  • To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that give purpose and meaning to living.
  • When we attach judgement to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgement to giving help.
  • Vulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me, but the first thing I look for in you.
  • I only pay attention to feedback from people who are also in the arena..If you’re not helping contributing, or wrestling with your own gremlins, Im’ not at all interested in your commentary.
  • When you shut down vulnerability, you shut down opportunity…There is no vision without vulnerability.

Daring greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where scarcity and shame dominate and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times….nothing is is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as believing that I’m standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be life if I had the courage to show up and let myself be seen.

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.

It is time to choose to be dangerous, choose to be vulnerable, choose show up.

Oh, it is also time to grab the uh-MAY-zing Brené‘s books, manifestos, and resources. Her work will open your eyes to what you knew was always there, but you were never sure what it was called or how to deal with it. No longer do you need to sweep shame under the rug and keep tripping over it. Heck, after working through her tools and resources, you may even get rid of the rug altogether!

It's possible I have this hanging on my office wall...

It’s possible I have this hanging on my office wall…

DaringGreatly-LeadershipManifesto-8×10

Get your read on and start down the path with me towards being wholehearted. It is an amazing and brave adventure and I want you to come along.

Dare greatly friends, it is how we are meant to live.

Slowly Leaking Helium…

Most weeks I wish I was an extrovert.

I love my life, but some weeks there is just too much of it and I find myself scraping the bottom of my emotional, mental and physical reserve to keep up with the extroverted world we all live in.

Being introverted is like a mylar balloon filled with helium. As time wears on, the helium leaks out and you start to sag, droop and make harsh noises when brushed against. And there really isn’t much you can do about it unless you have time to fill up again.

My life this week was a circus and literally ended with one.

Yup! I got to see this in person last night. Amazing!

Yup! I got to see this in person last night. Amazing!

Last night my husband and I were invited to a 50 Year Celebration for his previous employer. We were both excited to go, but I was already sagging and knew I had to find a way to not die an introverted death by the time we left.

Extroverts don’t understand how leaning into a nearly perfect stranger to shout into their ear so they can hear you over the live band with pumping bass can nearly undo an introvert after 5 hours of such shenanigans.

Maybe you’re like me and the thought of going to a huge social gathering at the end of an epic week makes your want to dive into bed pull the covers over your head.

Most people don’t realize I am an introvert because I have learned to manage it somewhat well over the years.

Introverted tips for surviving the PAR-TAY at the end of the week.

1. Put your game dress on. If you feel good about how you look and are dressed in a way that boosts your confidence, it is a small recharge. Immediately there will be less sagging.

PAR-TAY here I come!

PAR-TAY here I come!

2. Indulge in the activities. Stand in line for the photo booth, cartoon drawing or punch. You can either chat with one person or no one – both are socially acceptable and create margin.

It was fun to be 'cartooned'!

It was fun to be ‘cartooned’!

3. See the sights. Check out the decorations and displays. There is always something fun to look at and learn about.

Ice sculptures...you don't see those every day...

Ice sculptures…you don’t see those every day…

4. Just be silly. If there are fun things to do, just do them and be ok with looking ridiculous.

It's possible I wore these glasses for awhile and pretended to be blind...

It’s possible I wore these glasses for awhile and pretended to be blind…

5. Agree on a leave time. I love knowing when we will leave, especially since I am married to an extreme extrovert.  It helps me not to completely crash and keeps my nearly busting husband from floating away. Win-Win.

Midnight is usually when I turn into a pumpkin.

Midnight is usually when I turn into a pumpkin.

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I want to hear from the other introverts out there that have tips for navigating the extroverted world.

What do you do to keep sane and manage all the craziness of life?

 

52 Books In 52 Weeks?

Reading, not writing!

Apparently people think I am able to produce more than is even possible. When I posted about my idea to read a book a week on Facebook, people thought I meant writing books, not reading them.

52 books, 52 weeks

I suppose I could have been clearer in my statement…there is no way I could write 52 books in a year!

I have always read a lot. I mean A LOT.

As in when I was a kid and we went to the library, I would take out 15 to 20 books and read nearly every single one of them in a few weeks. When I was in junior high, I was a book a day kind of a girl. Malcom Gladwell would most likely agree that reading is what I have spent my 10,000 hours on, or close to it.

In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.
~ Malcolm Gladwell

  • Why not add a few more hundred to my nearly 10,000?

Leaders are learners … and so are authors.

In order to grow myself, my writing, and learn more about the world, I have decided to give into my book a week idea. I will be reading one book a week and posting on Mondays about the book I just read and give you the Official Donloree Opinion, aka Ridiculousness.

  • I may even make a video if I am feeling adventurous.
I am going to have to set up a reading corner in my house!

I am going to have to set up a reading corner in my house!

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Reading is a team sport.

This should be epic, in a good way, and the more the merrier!

In case you want to join in (which you know you do), below are the Guidelines and Definitions for the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge.

Guidelines and Definitions:

  • BookA full length fiction or non-fiction book; YA is fine, but no children’s books.
  • WeekMonday to Sunday makes up the reading week.
  • Reading ahead is acceptable. If a book is long and requires more than a week to finish it is fine to start ‘early’ and take a few weeks to read it as long as another book is being read to fulfill the ‘book a week’ goal.
  • Start dateWhenever you start is fine. No one needs to wait until January 1 to start new things – start today! I am starting on March 31, 2014.
  • AccountabilityI will post a weekly blog about the book I just read – hopefully on Mondays and letting you know which book is up next in case you want to read along.
  • Social mediaBecause I love social media, I started a Pinterest board and will use the hashtag #52books when I tweet about the crazy book reading.
  • Number is up to you. If you want to do 26 in 52 weeks, 13 or maybe even 6 – go for it! The point is to push yourself to read more and be intentional about it. Don’t let my ridiculousness stop you from setting your own goal.

If you do decide to take up the challenge, let me know! Drop me an email at dl@donloree.com or you can email me on my contact page, send me a tweet or drop me a message on Facebook.

Library and bookstore, here I come!

Library and bookstore, here I come!

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And it is official, I am looking for book recommendations – both fiction and non-fiction; especially creative non-fiction. If you have a recommendation, send it my way!

So who else is going to be a reading fiend with me? Are you in?

The Clocksback Race

This is not news to anyone who knows me, but for the record I hate running.

I understand all the benefits associated with running – great heart health, cardiovascular endurance, and smaller pants, yet I still despise, loathe and avoid running as much as possible.

I don’t embrace running because I am really bad at it. Bad on all sorts of levels. Some people are built to run – long legs, lean, fast metabolism, light on their feet – I am not one of these people.

I may have long legs, but am built like a tank.

The other day at the office, we were all talking about the need to get into shape and lose a few pounds. I made mention of my near 100 pound weight change over the years in the context of talking about dieting and how only eating cottage cheese and having fruit once a day is a bad idea and there are way better ways to diet.

The conversation got confused rather quickly, probably because I was talking ‘woman‘ to three other men.

My data point being that I once weighed 220 pounds made them think I currently weigh 120 pounds. We were too far into the conversation for me to bow out gracefully, so I swallowed my pride and let them know I weigh a buck-sixty.

The response was classic.

Wow, you’re solid! I’m never going head to head with you in the ring.

I laughed and shook my head. It was quite the way to kick off the week.

I’m 5’8″, weigh 160 pounds, have a large frame, and wear a size 6 or 8 – not huge, but definitely not light on my feet. In fact, people constantly comment they can hear me coming; apparently I have a distinct, determined walk.

  • Running requires lightness, agility, and grace – I have none of these things.

So when I saw that Under Armour was asking people to share their most epic run story, I knew I had to submit something.

And, there are prizes. I love prizes!

Mile for Mile Under Armour

Swag, adventure, or a Tough Mudder? Yup, I will take any or all of these!

With me every single run could qualify, but there is one race that stands out distinctly in my mind….

The Clocksback.

The linoleum had seen better days, yellowing and curling around the edges, yet still functional enough for us to do high knees, crossovers and plyometrics and small enough to make you dizzy while circling behind another pair of runner’s tights with reflective piping.

I hade been in the Riverdale Community League Hall many times before, stretching and warming up with seasoned runners with the River Valley Runners, but never had there been such a buzz or so many people. Tables, maps and friends of the svelte River Valley Runners clogged up the main hall; there were no plyometrics done with Tina Turner belting her heart out in the background. Not this evening, the evening of the Clocksback Race.

I started running diligently just a few months prior and I had 70 extra, unnecessary pounds of me to lug around. The idea of running tights made me laugh. Everything I wore was tight, even my watch. This particular evening my throat was tight, it was the second race of my life and I was by far the fluffiest person in the room.

The Clocksback Race brings in runners from all over the city due to the premise of the race. It isn’t about the fastest time, rather it was about how close you are to your estimated time.

The rules were simple enough:

  1. Choose to do 6K or 9K.
  2. Look at the route on the giant, yet hard to read map on the wall.
  3. Estimate your personal time and submit it.
  4. Hand over all watches, heart rate monitors, GPS, and cell phones.
  5. Run!
  6. The people closest to their estimated time win awesome prizes.

Simple, yet I was sweating and we hadn’t even started to run yet.

Surviving was my goal and I had no idea how long survival would take. Hills, bridges and footpaths crisscrossed the 6K route and I wondered how I would find them while lumbering along.

Simply run around in there without a map and find your way back. Easy...?

Simply run around in there without a map and find your way back. Easy…?

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I opted to put down 32 minutes and 17 seconds. It seemed reasonable.

Small, personal maps were not given out. They neglected to tell me a photographic memory is required to run the Clocksback. Reciting the key landmarks was my only hope – pagoda, footbridge, giant tree on the path, playground, Cloverdale Hill, traffic circle, colorful houses, footpath, pyramids, footbridge, home.

Somewhere between Cloverdale Hill and the traffic circle, I got lost.

Being the slowest and fluffiest River Valley Runner meant I was alone on my sojourn.

Standing on the street corner, praying for another runner to come along was a fruitless endeavor. Turning two full circles on a busy street corner in my extra large turquoise coat made of technical fabric didn’t help. The only technical thing about me in that moment was that I was lost.

I couldn’t even call for help; my surrendered cell phone mocked me from the Riverdale Community League.

Going back the way I came was always an option, but that option wasn’t covered in the rules and I felt I had been running for at least 30 minutes. I wasn’t even close to being back to the hall in 2 minutes and 17 seconds. Winning the weird race was well outside my grasp.

  • What I wanted to be in grasp at that moment was my husband’s neck for thinking it was a good idea for us to run this race.

Flagging down a car and getting a ride back to the hall also wasn’t listed as an option in the rules.

Don’t ask me why following the rules remained important to me. Apparently I thought I might still somehow win.

I love winning.

After choking back the panic and realizing the sun was quickly setting, I bailed on the route and ran in what I hoped was the right direction, the way back to the community league.

  • What one thinks is right isn’t always right.

At least my misdirected running led me to the top of the river valley ridge and I could see where I wanted to go.

After an additional 2K and 33 additional minutes to my estimated time, I rolled through the doors of the Riverdale Community League with salt tracks down my cheeks and immense relief. I desperately hoped the hardcore, lean runners would assume the salt tracks were from sweat, not tears.

Everyone was rehydrating and comparing times. The winner was 48 seconds off her estimated time. Apparently she had the river valley paths memorized, was blessed with an internal GPS, and knew her cadence down to the literal second.

Lost in the city, hills galore and just starting on my health journey made this one of the most intense and epic runs of my life.

I guess Tina Turner wasn’t right – I did need another hero

For me, being a hero meant going back to the group on Thursday, running warm up circles on the linoleum, and being lapped as we ran sprints up Connor’s Hill.

  • Hard is relative to where you are in your journey.

Be a hero and keep going.

Quietly Being {Seasons of Life}

Life is all over the place.

I assume your schedule, relationships and commitments are as diverse, messy, fabulous and chaotic as mine are. Some weeks I run the marathon at a sprint pace and come to the end exhausted but happy. Something changed for me coming into 2014.

  • I have found a freedom to be still and ‘unseen’.
What are your roots like?

What are your roots like?

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My whole life up until this year has been about goal setting, striving, working, focus and achievement. University degree, marriage, weight loss, buying a house, triathlon, starting my own business, bodybuilding, writing books, events and on and on the list goes.

I have been quiet lately.

There are no goals on my wall, no daily task that must be done no matter what to move an big, hairy audacious goal forward, no driving force to accomplish something great. It is as though my everyday disciplines of writing, training, working and growing are enough; they don’t need to be crammed into a goal shaped box.

  • An amazing stillness has filled my soul.

Like the quiet in a city after a giant snowfall, there is a distinct calm and deep quietness in my life.

Quiet, oh so quiet.

Quiet, oh so quiet.

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Traffic has stopped, the clouds have come close to the earth, the birds have hidden themselves and the wind is still. When a snowfall stops a city, you quietly get out of bed, pull on your slippers and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee while wrapped up in a down comforter. Outside nothing moves, yet your heart grows with hope, peace and possibility. The stillness is welcome and revives you as take in each .

Earlier this week I was reading Fierce Conversations in preparation for a workshop I am running at the end of the month and I came across a passage that describes my experience perfectly.

I felt utterly calm, clear and alive…an un-anxious presence in an anxious world.

Winter.

I am in a season of amazing, un-anxious winter and I couldn’t be happier. In winter you get to rest, recover and enjoy the hard work of the previous season.

You are also in a season. Defining it is important.

We may all be 'here' but we may not all be in the same season.

We may all be ‘here’ but we may not all be in the same season.

Seasons don’t last forever, but trying to be somewhere you aren’t only creates havoc in your life. In winter we don’t scorn the earth for not producing tulips and during summer we don’t anticipate snow falling from the clouds. Knowing where you are helps you understand what to expect from yourself.

Don’t make your whole life one season, rather go through them as they come. You will cycle through the seasons time and time again – sometimes fast and other times slow.

  • Spring – hope, possibility, dreaming and goals
  • Summer – hard work, discipline, sweat and long days
  • Autumn – results, putting in the effort to finish well and storing up for the future
  • Winter – rest, quiet, short days and long nights, celebration

Spring is coming again for me, but I will wait until I see the crocuses pop out of the ground before I put my favorite coffee cup down and lace up my running shoes. Until then, I will enjoy the rest and deep sense of calm because I know the chaos of new dreams and goals are just around the corner.

What season are you in? What does this season require of you now?

Gold! Oh Canada, eh?

Canada.

I have lived up here in what I like to call the ‘subarctic‘ for almost 16 years. We love our hockey and our hockey players, that much is clear.

My dad is Canadian and we grew up listening to Don Cherry yell at Ron MacLean in between periods. Don made me have more than a bit of an aversion to hockey.

  • There are only so many multi-colored suits one girl can look at before she is scarred for life.
This is a mild wardrobe choice...

This is a mild wardrobe choice…

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Despite my dislike of Mr. Cherry and his yelling ways, hockey has found its way into a corner of my heart. After all, in order to be truly Canadian you must understand the basics of icing, two line passes and a slap shot.

I’m happy to say, I am considered a true Canadian.

This morning,*ahem* afternoon, in Sochi we won gold in Men’s Hockey.

Many of us got up very early to watch the men dominate the ice and win 3-0. I only caught the last period as I was exhausted this morning, but I made sure to not miss my favorite part.

  • I love the medal ceremony.

Watching someone who has focussed their life on something receive recognition and reward for a disciplined life is an amazing thing.

The smiles are the best!

The smiles are the best!

Each of them chose to live in such a way to position themselves to win.

  • Choosing to win something significant means choosing to lose a lot of something else. 

The list could go on and on of things these athletes have said no to in order to say YES! to being on the Canadian team and winning the gold medal.

Oh CANADA!

Oh CANADA!

Choose your one thing and be ok with saying no to the ‘something elses‘ that come along. Trust me, they are coming in droves but do not be swayed, you have something great to do with your life.

Refocus on your dream and do not waiver. Gold awaits you!

Comparison Trap

Life isn’t easy for…anyone.

Comparing our reality to the fiction we make up about other people is easy, but very deluded.

No one truly knows your backstory, the struggles, pain and heartache you’ve overcome or your current limitations which shape where you are at in life. Nor do you know what the person you’re comparing yourself to has gone through; they have a story too.

The past month has been really hard for me, extremely hard. I have been going through a bunch of ‘backstory‘ and painful experiences. I finally poured out my pain, struggle and despair over coffee to my best friend. She just listened and then reminded me of a truth I had forgotten.

We all struggle.

Donloree, you are more adept at doing things than most people You look like you have it all together and nothing seems to stand in your way when you choose to do something. You are gifted and able, you don’t seem to struggle, you seem to overcome.

Perhaps I struggle more than most.

The point isn’t to get past struggle, it is to keep going and not compare. To work through your struggles, pain and obstacles and grow into a person of character.

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Instead of comparing, celebrate and work hard. 

  • Celebrate other people’s successes, gifts and accomplishments. Be happy, truly happy for people when they achieve things and be compassionate when they don’t.
  • Work hard at your own dreams and take what you have and make it great. Don’t complain that you don’t have what others have. You either have more or less than someone else in any given situation – time, money, health, relationships, work, family, opportunity…the list goes on and on. Accept the fact that you’re in a different spot than everyone else and get to work.

Struggle and vulnerability is part of what makes us human.

Imagine what would happen if even for a week, we all stopped comparing and got to work? If we changed our hearts and minds to be focussed on who we were be coming in relation to who we were yesterday, not who the latest photoshopped person on the cover of a magazine appears to be.

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It would change the world.

It is time for each of us to learn what it means to change the world in our own unique way.

  • It is time to give up comparison and start running your own race to change the world.

I’m all in! Are you?