Blue Monday 2017, Money Talk & Self-Love Magic

Today is Blue Monday 2017. As if we didn’t already have enough with Friday the 13th this month, now we have to deal with what is apparently the most “depressing” day of the year.

Surprisingly only one of the two days is surrounded by a superstitious cloud. January 16th 2017 (today) is a bad day because mathematics say so.

Yes, really.

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Credit: The Sun

I don’t know about you but I didn’t know these variables were a barometer of my mood until now.

All jokes aside, the silly idea of Blue Monday may have been thought up by some PR company but it still deserves some recognition for underlying something a lot of people, including me, do deal with at this time of year.

I’m talking about the dreading feeling that the new year will unravel to become a lot like all the other years where things didn’t turn out exactly like you wanted them to.

I mean, how often does that happen anyway. 

At this point no one even takes resolutions seriously. Everyone expects others to fail. Heck, we don’t even expect ourselves to succeed. That is if you’re being honest with yourself.

It has become a joke, a running gag because let’s face it, we’d rather laugh than cry about it.

Still, it pinches our heartstrings a little when we’re in private, looking at our reflection in the mirror.

I read in a survey that only 9% of people say they succeeded at keeping past resolutions.

It’s fair to say that most of us can put a number in for Q= time since failing our New Year’s resolution.

Which brings me to my next point; the money variable.

Nobody likes to talk about it but fact is apparently 8 out of 10 Americans are in debt.

I am. And chances are, you are too.

Weather is for sure a part of the equation too if you live in the North.

The point is there seems to be a lot of things weighing down on us at this time of the year.

I’ve sure felt it these past few weeks in my personal life. I thought I’d take the opportunity of this very special day (Blue Monday) to ask myself and you this:

So what if all the variables in our life are negative values?

Does it mean we can’t change the result?

Life isn’t a set formula. When things don’t go our way we can always include new variables.

If, like me, you’ve never liked math maybe it’s time to give it a shot.

I do believe there’s a variable that can change a lot of things.

(S)=self-love

I think Mickey would agree it’s sort of magic.

I’m personally working on quantifying it and I won’t let myself have a Blue Monday.

I hope you won’t either.

What do you think?

Have you been letting the January blues get to you?

I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.

 

*Photo Credit: JD Hancock flickr Creative Commons 2.0

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Winter Reflections

I know winter.

I wish I didn’t but I do.

One of the most cliché advice people tell writers is “write about what you know”.

 It’s a tired rule that nobody uses to measure up their work anymore but there’s something different about writing on what we wish we didn’t know.

The things we stare in the face everyday unwillingly always teach us something valuable. I wrote about using winter’s stillness to find silence within ourselves a few months ago. Ever since I wrote Winter Stillness and the Magic Bush, I’ve made it a point to look at winter with no prejudice. I want to find peace within myself and accept its presence.

It’s not easy. Every half-year of my life I struggle with winter’s harshness. Winter lasts about 6 months out of the year. That’s 13 years of my life spent getting to know it. That’s also a lot of time spent hating it.

As I type this my dry hands hurt and I remember I hated winter today too. I will also hate it tomorrow with the 5 inches of snow that awaits us.

Going from inside to outside and to inside back again everyday I get reminded of the extremes our human life is ruled by.

We have day and night, light and darkness and winter gives us even more to balance.

They say you can’t appreciate happiness if you’ve never known sadness.

Snow reflects the light that surrounds us and we have to walk in the cold and dirt.

It forces us to seek light within ourselves to re-establish the balance.

Winter teaches us commitment.

We have to find our own sun and warmth and do it daily.

Mine is cuddling with my cat at the end of the day and sipping endless amounts of tea.

What is yours?

*Photo Credit: Cindy B. flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Redefining Success

We live in a world filled with fear.

We are all afraid of death and sickness to varying degrees. Our own and those we care about.

There’s fear that makes us passive, stuck in our ways. There’s fear that fuels hate.

And there’s fear that acts as a double weapon. It gets us to stay cramped up in our little corner and fills us with hate.

Hate for ourselves.

It’s a fear arguably worse than death.

Being afraid of life and what good it can give us.  

It’s scary to believe there are opportunities for us out there. What if we go out in the world and never find any?

What then?

What if we never find any opportunity for love? Work? Fulfillment?

No possibilities for happiness.

It’s true that some roads are better left non-explored. In the wild jungle that is human experience on this planet, some paths do turn out to be full of venomous creatures.

However, there are no stories of triumph and great adventures without an exotic creepy crawly or two.

Life is not a story book. I know.

I’m not going to turn into Jane from the jungle anytime soon but the writer in me can’t ever drain life of it’s potential for imagination.

The truth is we all carry our own story of how we will be successful one day and what our life will be like then.

For some of us that book may be accumulating dust in a closet deep down in the basement but it still exists.

Maybe your success story might as well have been written on toilet paper because you only ever think about it when your life gives you crap.

When everything seems to be going wrong, you think “wouldn’t it be great to have a better place, better job, better everything?”

“To finally write that book and have it become a best-seller or get rid of everything and go on that world-tour trip who you know will change your life?”

Then when things get better you just forget about it all. I mean who cares about toilet paper besides for the moment where you really need it.

Success is the realization of all our wildest dreams for most people. It’s this grand thing that we don’t know how to get to.

I want to be a successful writer but I’m terrified of failing. On most days I feel like I should write directly on toilet paper, that’s how terrible I find my writing.

The truth is I’m already successful because I’m working on it no matter what.

I have decided today to redefine success.

I say the moment we stop being fearful of what we cannot do and achieve, success has already been reached.

What do you think?

What is your definition of success?

I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.

*Photo Credit: jm3 on Flickr flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Get Rid of Things You Don’t Have

I don’t know about you but the start of a new year always puts things in a different perspective for me.

I’m more motivated to reach my goals, I’m driven and full of this renewed zest for life that the start of a new year seems to inevitably bring.

All this is well and good.

However, there’s another thing that starting a new year always brings me, one that is less great.

The feeling of needing things.

That craving for all the things I don’t have yet.

Maybe it’s a by-product of all the holiday gifts I got that I love but didn’t know I needed before I actually got them. I don’t know.

I’m a minimalist at heart and I have very few things (compared to other North American people that is) but I still have too many -must haves- occupying my mind’s space.

It may seem inconsequential but the time I use dreaming of those things I want is actually detrimental to me.

People often say that the only way to get what we want, whether it is a specific object or an intangible goal is to focus on it with an eagle like obsession.

I’m all for vision boards and other derivatives but I have come to realize that having them can be dangerous. Staring in the face everyday what we don’t have yet is focusing on what we lack.

I don’t want to be obsessed with what I don’t possess. I want to feel the abundance of what life has already given me.

Getting rid of our material possessions may be hard but losing the mindset of always wanting is a lot harder.

There’s a lot of things I want for myself this year, material and non-material. However I cannot be focused on my goals if I’m constantly working with an image of all the things I want in the back of my mind.

So I have come to a logical conclusion.

In 2017 I am going to start getting rid of all the things I don’t have.

Who’s with me?

Do you have wants and desires that keep you from enjoying the here and now?

I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.

*Photo Credit: Keoni Cabral flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Will You Take a Leap in 2017?

Jumping over something with great force and with great height is terrifying. That’s why we call it “taking a leap of faith”.

If there is one thing I’ve learned from my gymnastics days it’s exactly that.

When your one goal is to spring over a stationary object that’s almost taller than you and the only way to ever succeed is to run towards it at full speed, let’s just say you quickly understand the meaning of the expression.

Pros always make it look easy.

The truth is there are a lot of things to consider before taking what seems like a leap of faith.

There is a long moment of contemplation usually.

One has to decide which feet should go first. Then there is the question of how far away one should be before they start running.

I personally always felt better taking a few steps back before attempting anything.

Then there is the dreaded run. Confidence is high for the first few strides but the closer you get to the vault, it gets lower and lower until you either stop to run or slow down so much that jumping over is impossible.

After failing over and over to get any height from the springboard, you learn that having a good hurdle is primordial.

Ironically, a hurdle in common speak refers to a difficulty. In gymnastics it’s the name we give to the final step before performing a skill.


The beginning of a new year can feel very much like standing at the start line waiting to perform a very hard trick.

 We have a goal in front of us, the only way to get to it is by rushing towards it full speed. It’s tempting to take a step back before launching ourselves forward. Once we start actually getting somewhere we lose our confidence.

We sell ourselves short by stopping altogether or chugging along unenthusiastic-ally, making our accomplishments non-existent or non-impressive.

Every time we fail and try again we get a little more experience in facing obstacles.


 In gymnastics and in life, one day we eventually get the steps right.

A bad hurdle or hurdles don’t get in our way. We have force and height.

It seems like we will get exactly what we want. A perfect landing or that perfect career or whatever else.

It can all come crashing down.

Because even when you’ve mastered the hurdle, stuff like this still happens.

The key is getting back to the start time and time again.

Some day you may reach perfection but remember you’ll have to do it all over again. And again.

Better start working on your hurdle people!

I wish you all a happy New Year and if you happen to fall on your butt in 2017, laugh it off and start again.

What are your goals for 2017?

Are you going to be taking a leap of faith this year?

I’d love to know in the comments.

 

*Photo Credit: Araí Moleri Riva-Zucchelli flickr Creative Commons 2.0

A Year in Writing-2016 Edition

I started this blog on January 22nd this year.

What can I say? I had cold feet on January 1st.

I’m finishing 2016 with my 50th post. In order to celebrate this achievement and look back to this year’s writing, I picked my favorite 5 posts for you to enjoy.

Here goes in no particular order:

1- Breaking Up with Veganism

Has veganism treated you badly? Are you considering parting ways with your hard-headed guilt tripping socially inept partner?

If so, know that you’re not the only one. As for myself I’ll continue to put up with the occasional frustrations of our ever evolving relationship but a whooping 30 million adults in the US have given up. Are you one of them?

2-Finding Space for Creativity

As a kid, I spent hours pretending I was locked in the closet.

It was small with old mostly blank ugly walls. That’s what I liked about it. I had to imagine I was somewhere else or I would develop claustrophobia. There was just enough space for me to sit down with my legs half stretched out.

Truth be told, I’ve never found a better space for creativity since then.

3-What Motivational Speakers Don’t Tell You

The thing (this is the moment you’ve been waiting for) motivational speakers or anyone who gives advice on “how-to” something, never tell you is that you don’t need to listen to their advice. 

That’s it?

Are you kidding me?

No, I’m not. Let me explain.

4-If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls Everyone Would be Vegan?

I know I started a series about how I became vegan, but today I want to explore how I didn’t become vegan.

The majority of people would not become vegan (or vegetarian) if slaughterhouses had glass walls.

Footage of horrendous violence towards animals doesn’t make most people change their ways.

I applaud those who changed their ways after watching one of those dreadful clips.

I wasn’t one of them.

5-Writing with the Tide

Imagine for a second that your mind is a beach.

You sit with your ideas and your thoughts everyday in the sand.

Sometimes there’s lots of people around you, it’s noisy and you don’t get much time to consider going in the water in front of you at all.

Then at some point, it’s quiet and all you can see is the infinite mass of waves crashing into each other.

It becomes tempting to put your ideas in a raft or a boat and let them float away. See where they might take you.

I hope you had some good reads this year, from me or anyone else!

I’ll see you back in 2017 for another year of posts about life on this earth with the good and the bad that entails!

*Photo Credit: Ted Sakshaug flickr Creative Commons 2.0

How Strong Is Your Resolve?

Another year on this earth is about to end.

I don’t know how many others our specie will have.

I don’t know how many others I will have.

The older I get, the more I envision New Year differently.

I used to think I should take part in the resolution frenzy.

The truth is every day is a start to a new year.

Waiting for January 1st to go after our goals is pointless.

Deep down we all know it but yet it is so tempting to make resolutions. It’s as if the first day of a new year ramps up our interest in changing whatever it is we wish to change in ourselves.

It is the talk of the week.

“What are your resolutions for 2017?”

I prefer to ask you:

“How strong is your resolve?”

I have had lots of resolutions over the years but I was only ever interested in accomplishing things.

 I wasn’t truly committed.

The truth is, our time, my time is running out. Every year brings us closer to the one where it will all end.

If that doesn’t make your resolve strong to accomplish something you are simply not going to ever do it.

I don’t have any resolutions this year.

All I have is my resolve to do whatever I want to do every day. Today, tomorrow. Every day next year.

What do you think of New Year resolutions?

Is January 1st an important date for you?

Did you ever keep a resolution you have made on January 1st?

I’d love to have your thoughts in the comments.

*Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks flickr Creative Commons 2.0