Airport: the cast of characters by James Wysong

These airport observations by James Wysong made me laugh so hard because it made me think of last night when I couldn’t find this guy’s booking. We “appear” to be typing a novel because we’re literally looking at every possible flight to see where exactly you are booked under all while keeping track of cut-off times for your flight. We’re actually trying to help although I know sometimes it doesn’t look like we care but we do. My “favourite” thing is when people walk up to me, start spelling their last names to me without telling me where the heck they’re going as if I knew everything.

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1. The Lady of the Keyboard. This is the ticket agent who appears to be typing a novel — and faster than any typist you have ever seen. After a while, she starts talking to her screen as if she has an ongoing relationship with it (that’s me right there, constantly talking to my screen). Just when you think the system has lost your booking (sometimes, it’s true, we can’t find you, mostly because most people do not even know their flight information!), the computer spits out baggage tags, boarding cards and itineraries, but before you can say thank you, the gate agent is on to the next customer.

Find the entire story here!

Is the grass really greener elsewhere?

Last week I spent an afternoon in Banff. The rockies are so beautiful and that’s something I had forgotten. They are easy to get to with just an hour drive away. They are calming, inspirational and spiritual. They brought me peace of mind and made me realize how lucky I was to experience them and have them so close to home. We, as a society, complain too much and never seem to appreciate what we have right in front of us. We’d all love to live somewhere warmer, nicer and sweeter.  But is the grass  really that much greener  elsewhere or it is  just an illusion we create in our heads to make up for the the discontentment we constantly focus ourselves on instead of focusing on the good things we have? Really, if we learned to enjoy every single little things in the present moment, we would be content just with how things are, whether it’s a boring night at work, a “stressful” day at home  or an awesome day at the beach. Whether we are single and lonesome or whether we are  married with four children. Whether we are having a super awesome day or a super challenging day. There are what we call “blessings in disguise” in ALL of these chapters in our lives and once we start to chill out and enjoy ourselves, nothing will be as stressful ever again; things will just start to flow.

And for now, just enjoy reading this, meditate on it if you need to, and be happy.

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The Happy List

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I think sometimes we forget to sit down, breathe and remind ourselves of the things that make us happy. We easily get caught up in our heads, with work or with other things that make us feel hopeless, bored, or unhappy. We forget that there’s a simple recipe for NOT feeling down, bitter, tired, and uninspired. That recipe is to simply do things that make us happy. For me, it’s yoga… Yoga is my recipe to happiness. I practice it between 2 to 4 times a week and everytime I do, I feel re-energized, inspired and happy. (Drinking lots of water and mimimizing that chocolate intake would make me feel better too!)

The summer didn’t exactly start with the bang that we expected (a.k.a the Alberta floods), but that doesn’t mean we need to give up on summer altogether. Yes the weather has been annoyingly unpredictable…Just today I walked to an appointment in the warm sunshine and an hour and a half later, it was pouring like no tomorrow. Then it went back to sun. Between the floods, the fires, and the train derailments, it feels like we are living quite the apocalyptic year!

Apocalyptic theories aside, summer is here. Let’s take the time to get to know the things that make us feel good inside.

Here’s my happy list. What’s yours?

  • yoga
  • writing
  • my new comfy bed
  • Elle Canada
  • trying new things
  • feeling free and limitless
  • roads trips!!
  • heart-to-heart conversations
  • planning a trip
  • bookstores!!
  • patio time with friends or with a good book
  • hot weather
  • sun tanning in the backyard
  • volunteering
  • camping by the lake
  • the beach
  • my travel benefits (Tokyo 2013, here I come!)
  • saving for my apartment
  • traveling!
  • going for a massage
  • impromptu night outs with friends
  • doing my nails
  • music festivals
  • a really good movieI could think of a hundred more things that make me happy. Listening to my iPod on my way to work is one of them or enjoying my own company…a couple of hours ago, I was sitting in my yard. I was painting my nails and relaxing to the sound of the wind and watching the beautiful sunset.

    Life’s good. There’s beauty in everything.

    Cheers.

     

The Wisest of Words

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Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick; your friends and parents will: stay in touch.

You don’t have to win every argument; agree to disagree.

Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

Don’t compare your life to others; you have no idea what their journey is all about.

Over prepare, and then go with the flow.

Be eccentric now; don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this even matter?”

What people think of you is none of your business.

Your children only get one childhood.

If we threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

-Regina Brett, 90 years old 

Yoga Inspirations

 

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Yesterday in yoga class I discovered something new about myself. I used to go into practice knowing my limitations – or so I thought. I have been practicing yoga on and off since I was 19. Boys and school would oftentimes get in the way and instead of going to yoga to clear my head, I’d end up staying home too stressed out to barely move or think.

Those days are luckily over. When I feel shitty, I yoga it out. When I feel good, I yoga it out. When I’m sleepy, I yoga it out. You get the picture. I yoga it out no matter what and I always feel fantastic after (and quite sore for the time being!! But that shall pass!).

I’ve recently started going back to this yoga studio in Mission I’d go to three years ago when I used to live in the area. It felt weird going back there. It brought back some memories. In fact, the last time I was in that studio, I threw up after a too intense practice I forced upon my then frail body. It wasn’t pretty… Fortunately, the puking happened in the privacy of my apartment. Following that incident, I got distracted…. I ended up in Vietnam in May and later in France to see family in the summer. Then everything became a blur. For some reason, I had given up on yoga and my abilities to keep a religious practice going. I would attend a few classes at my gym and at my school but I did not have the same motivation and positive frame of mind. Being back at the studio is a big step for me. My first class was an Ashtanga class I attended with a friend of mine. It was super fast-paced and intense on the body. Clearly, both my friend and myself weren’t ready for such a class. I left the class a little depleated but decided I wouldn’t give up so quickly this time around and that I wouldn’t get memories of the past get in my way.  It’s only been a week and a half and I have been back at the studio several times already. I enjoy the serenity of the waiting area, the sound of the water against the wall, the tea selection with its kettle waiting in the left corner for us to sip on. I have a lot of respect for the discipline and the hardwork put into each practice by each and everyone at the studio including its dedicated teachers. I accept the challenge of the overcrowdedness of the studio I am not used to. At first, it was hard to find my centre and “space” within the packed studio (yes, you literally have someone’s ass in your face when you go for downward dog) but I’ve slowly learned to accept it as a challenge to not be bothered by it and to feel centered, whole and perhaps even connected to others no matter how close others are to my “space”.

Moreover, there’s  nothing like walking into a quiet studio before a class. That quietness is so strong and powerful. Each and everyone of us, unfolding our mats unto the warm floor, are preparing ourselves for practice with the power of silence and that inward turning of our gaze. It is much better than walking into a studio where  three yoga moms are gossiping out the latest dish – in my opinion at least!

Yesterday blew my mind. We were going for a backward bending of the neck during the first phase of a sun salutation when your arms are high up above your head and your eyes are looking at your hands. In my head I thought, “there’s no way I will be able to crane my neck all the way back”. My first try was painful. I was too afraid to let my head fall backwards. “If the neck is too tense, shrug your shoulders,” said the teacher to the class. On my second try, I gave shrugging my shoulders a try and to my surprise, it did release some tension in my neck, allowing my head to go further back than usual. On my third try, I shrugged my shoulders once again but this time around I took a leap of faith and let go of my resisting and stubborn head. I just let go, and there I was, with my head further than ever. And it didn’t even hurt because I was able to simply let go of my fears, my judgements and the limitations I was putting on my own body. It’s incredible what letting go and simply believing in yourself can do. That day was a revelation for me. I am super grateful for what that practice taught me about myself and what I feel I can now accomplish in life. Ever since, nothing seems too big or too small and that’s a huge step forward for me.

What is spiritual awakening?

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Rainbow Spirit by Pink Sherbet Photography.

Twelve expressions of spiritual awakening

1. an increased tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen

2. frequent attacks of smiling

3. feelings of being connected with others and nature

4. frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation

5. a tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears based on past experience. 

6. an unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment

7. a loss of ability to worry

8. a loss of interest in conflict

9. a loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others

10. a loss of interest in judging others

11. a loss of interest in judging self

12. gaining the ability to love without expecting anything

For the longest time, I did not understand what the heck spiritual awakening meant. It sounded too “hippie new age” for me. Then, I opened myself to it and it changed my life. I feel like a weight has lifted from my chest heavy from regrets.

I’ve felt miserable and unhappy with myself for quite a while now. I sort of knew why I felt that way but never fully understood the reasons why. Plus, I never really had the necessary knowledge and the tools to end this never-ending negativity and constant sadness. I’d have the illusion that I was happy in my relationships but was never able to be fully content with my life because how to be happy with myself was a complete mystery.

Beautiful things would happen to me and yet I would only see darkness. I was stuck and have felt stuck for what feels like an eternity. To make matters worse, I was “stuck” in a dream-state of what life what meant to be. I couldn’t/wouldn’t open my eyes to reality around me. Now that I have, my perspective has completely altered. There are days where darkness “checks up” on me and it is the inevitability of the wandering mind. However, it doesn’t consume me like it used to. I’ve learned to be conscious of it and that’s something amazing all to itself.

I’m still learning and nothing will ever be perfect. I’m just glad I opened my heart to it.

Thought I’d share this with you. :)

Who are your real friends?

I have to say, this entire week has been overwhelming in both good and bad ways. I reconnected and met some amazing people who have a similar vision of the world than I do – you know, those people you can talk with for HOURS.  I had strange confrontational conversations that ended decently, but in my head, ended quite bitterly. I was even surprised by the lack of connectivity with a really good friend of mine. I left the conversation feeling confused about our friendship. Is it dying? Have our lifestyles grown so far apart that we cannot appreciate each other’s company?

I guarantee you she is probably thinking the same thing right now, something like “that didn’t feel right” and she’d be right, it felt…off.  After all, life does happen at random and at times you just can’t take things personally because for all you know, that friend who’s seemingly doing well in life is maybe dealing with issues of his/her own. Who freakin’ knows?

I’d like to present this post as a reality check for myself and perhaps to whoever else is reading this.

My question to you is who are your real friends?

Think carefully. What makes a friend a “real” friend? How many friends do you consider  to be “really close friends” with?

More than 10? Think again. Less than 10, even less than 5, you might be right.

I’d like to think I know who my real good friends are but sometimes I like to take a step back and reflect….

-That friend I was a listening ear to and a crying shoulder for, has he/she been there for me when I was facing a crisis?

-That non-judgemental approach I kept with friends dealing with harships, did I get the same approach back when I was the one knee deep in frustration/confusion?

-That initiation of conversation and hang-outs, am I the only one doing it?

-That awesome favor I did for a friend once, was it ever returned?

I say no matter how busy you are in life, if you give a damn about that said “close friend”, it doesn’t take much to fire a text. “Hey, how have you been?” is plenty enough! It takes 30 seconds or less to do so. Even better, pick up your phone and talk to your friend! You never know. A simple phone call might make someone’s day.

“Life’s in the way” is not a really good excuse when you actually consider that friend a “real friend”.

Alternatively though, you might actually NOT consider this person a real friend, which is absolutely and completely fair. Realistically, you cannot please everyone and have everyone please you back. And, people change – whether we want them to or not. People drift apart for awhile and sometimes reconnect later and that real connectivity is still there and sometimes people drift apart for good. People come and go and that will always be the nature of it.

Speaking of phone calls, a friend of mine called me earlier and yeah, it made my day, it really did. Phone calls are just amazing. I cherish them and favor them over a text any day. A phone call is much more personal and creates a sense of care and connectivity. He wanted to share with me news of his recent employment. I was stocked for him. In return, I told him about my new job and he was stocked for me too. We proceeded to chatter about life, how happiness can only be created within ourselves, and laughed about random shit.  We both observed that we were moving forward in life and that things were looking up.

It was a great little conversation, an actual exchange,  not an “up-the-other” pointless chatter. It was genuine.

That friend was there and has seen me at my worst. He gives me perspective, even when I don’t want to hear it and has been able to forgive instead of stubbornly judge the situation.

I’d say that’s a pretty good damn friend right there.

– Claire Miglionico