"Opportunities to find deeper power within ourselves come when life seems most challenging." – Joseph Campbell
"All great changes are preceded by chaos." - Deepak Chopra
“Bloom where you are planted.” - Mary Engelbreit
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We were made to cooperate and connect, not to compete." – Lynne McTaggart
Proof of hand stenciled logo before it disappeared.
No, I wouldn't win Cake Wars, but it was there.
You ever notice how sometimes days or weeks go by and everything is status quo? Just rolling along and minding your own business. One foot in front of the other and all that. Then one day, BAM! The universe starts throwing all kinds of flotsam and jetsam in your path to see if you’re paying attention? To see if you aren’t just wandering through life half asleep?
Well that just happened to me…. Again. I say again, because it happens to me more often than I’d like. But the point is, it just happened. Sometimes it’s o.k., sometimes it sucks and sometimes I don’t get the joke (the universe has a weird sense of humour). But if nothing else, when these wake-up calls happen, I usually learn a ton, or remember stuff I had forgotten.
To illustrate, here are some things that were ‘brought to my attention’ in the last 24 hours...
There are many people in my life that have known me since I was a kid, and I bet it surprises a lot of them when I profess to being an introvert. In fact, when I first started realizing this about myself several years ago, it kinda surprised me too! If you want to split hairs, I may actually fall under the definition of ‘ambivert’, which is a new term used to describe people who fall somewhere in the middle of the introvert/extrovert scale. Nevertheless, I have some major introvert tendencies and the older I get, the more they seem to take hold.
I’ve talked to a lot of introverts over the last while. It seems that I’m increasingly drawn to fellow introverts and that a lot of these people are ‘my tribe’. When you lean more towards the extrovert end of the scale, or you don’t recognize your own introvert tendencies, it can be hard to understand introverts. They can seem kind of aloof, disconnected, uncaring, too serious, quirky or even downright weird. Most of that is really not the case at all (except maybe the quirky/weird part).
In fact, the more introverts I connect with, the more I realize how totally misunderstood a lot of us folk are. So in an effort to bridge the gap and foster human relations just a little, I figured I would dedicate this post to offering up a list of things that those of us who are more introvert than extrovert, want the rest of you to know. Of course, I can’t speak for all introvert-type people, but based on my own experience and conversations with others who lean towards introversion, these are some pretty common traits.
I live in Northern Ontario where we are fortunate enough to enjoy being surrounded by nature. When I was a kid in the summer, we spent a lot of time outdoors because you have to capitalize on the few months of summer that we get. Our summer vacations were spent mostly at camp (what some of you call the cottage/lake house/cabin depending on where you live). Our cousins had a camp just down the road and we were constantly going back and forth at all hours.
At night, when we walked the dirt road, we would see fireflies flickering everywhere. There were no street lights of course, just some camps on one side, and a whole lot of forest on the other. It was dark. Really dark. So seeing the fireflies always made me feel safe. They were a glimmer of light in the pitch black night. Sometimes, we would even catch them in jars and use them as our own personal flashlights for awhile, before releasing them back to nature.
As the years passed, the fireflies disappeared. It was disappointing, but eventually, I got used to not seeing them anymore. Apparently, so did a lot of other people. Those of us who grew up being fascinated by fireflies, resigned ourselves to the fact that our kids would likely not experience the same magic on a summer’s night. Fireflies, also called lighting bugs, are found all over the world and according to my google search, this decline in sightings has occurred everywhere. The culprits are thought to be development and light pollution.
Almost 40 years later, I have my own camp and my sister has one down the road. So again, cousins spend many a summer day and night going between one camp and the other. And this year, something really cool is happening....
Our family reads a lot. In fact, I’m pretty sure we spend more money on books in this house than almost anything else that isn’t a total necessity. Actually, scratch that… books ARE a necessity in our world. I would rather buy books than just about anything…except maybe food. We do buy a lot of our books because there are certain ones we like to own for re-reading, or we pass them on to family and friends. Sometimes, when we run out of shelf space, we do a bit of a de-cluttering and donate books to the library or other places so other folks can enjoy them. But really, there’s no need to spend oodles of cash on books. You can find tons of great reads at your local library and we do that sometimes too.
I love that our kids are bookworms. I think it’s because they’ve grown up in a house full of books, where it’s been our routine since they were born, to read to them at night. Sean and I alternate between kids. One night he reads to Evan and I read to Marley, the next night we switch. Very few things interfere with that routine except sometimes weekends, special occasions, or a rare night out. If one of us is away for the evening, the remaining parent and two kids will crawl into bed and read together. Then everyone goes off to their own rooms and reads some more. When it’s time for lights out, we often hear appeals of, 'Just one more chapter, pleeeeeaaase" Or, "But I HAVE to know what happens next!" There have even been tears when we finish a particularly good book or series, because as Evan says, “When it’s over, you kinda feel like you’re losing people you care about.”
Nightly reading has become such a part of our family routine, that I can’t even imagine how I’ll cope when the day comes that they decide they no longer want mom or dad to read to them. I had no trouble sending them off to kindergarten, and I suspect I’ll deal with the transition to high school just fine too…but the thought of them not wanting me to read to them anymore, gets me a little choked up. Sniff.
Remember when you were a kid and you looked really forward to summer? You couldn’t wait for the bell to ring on that last day of school so you could run out those doors and spend two whole months doing whatever the heck you felt like. The world was your oyster! No commitments, no homework, just hanging with your friends and doing whatever you were in the mood to do. Sometimes that meant doing absolutely nothing. Sometimes... it even meant being bored.
As adults, most of us would do just about anything to have one day of boredom to look forward to. The work doesn’t end just because it’s summer. In fact, depending on your circumstance, it could be an even busier time for you. These days, with both parents working, or single parents having to do it all on their own, and fewer people having family close by who are willing or able to help out with kids, it can be downright chaotic. Summer camps need booking well in advance to ensure you get a spot, not to mention the added cost of putting your kids in these programs or finding and paying for child care, if your kids aren’t old enough to be home alone.
Even when families do have holidays, there is so much emphasis on having to do something special with that precious ‘quality time’. All the planning, expense, packing, travelling, sight seeing, visiting, etc. can be super stressful. We can end up feeling like we need a holiday to recover from our holiday!
I’ve got some bad news for you. There’s really no nice way to say this so I’ll just cut to the chase... I think I’m breaking up with you. Because basically June, you suck!
What happened to you? Remember when you used to be all full of anticipation and promises of summer vacation, lazy days, easy ways, and freedom? Yeah.... those were the days right? But June, you’ve changed. The older I get, the more you disappoint me.
I’ve had about enough of your frenetic, schizo, unstable energy. I’m too old for this shit. You’re all over the map, and I can’t figure out what you want from me. June, don’t hate me for saying this, but I think you forgot to take your meds. Maybe you need a gentle reminder. Did you forget that people are supposed to look forward to you? Did you forget that you’re supposed to be all sunny and green, all curious, carefree and full of life? Sure, you might look like that on the outside, but at your core you’ve morphed into a black hearted devil. You’re like one of those icky Dementors in Harry Potter. Gross.