Building Others Up

Today I hiked Huckleberry Rock located in Muskoka, Ontario. Canada.

It was a hold on to your hat kind of day with a brisk wind, which might explain why    there was not a soul to be seen. I spent some time sitting in this well placed Muskoka Chair overlooking Lake Muskoka in peaceful meditation, listening only to the sound of the wind. With every wandering thought I was drawn back to the wind.
With  time to journal and reflect on the week behind me, all that I have to be grateful for, along with planning for the week ahead of me I felt blessed to have this little piece of heaven all to myself.20190520_131839

Even though there was no one around on the rock today, the Inuksuks around the rock, told me many visitors had been here before me. I smile, I love these rock sculptures.

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As I took time to build my own Inuksuk stacking stones that I picked that fit well together. I thought, “you know there is nothing that holds these together, they stay up because they are balanced on each other”. Each stone supports the one above and below it.

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Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if people would support each other in the same way?

Every Inuksuk is different, there are no two the exact same. This my friends is what makes them beautiful!
Just like you and like me.
We are all originals.
Let your authentic self shine.
Support those above and below.
Build each other up.
Leave everyone standing tall.

A walk in nature always awakens the soul.

 

The Power of Journaling

It’s been some time now since I’ve last posted anything on my WordPress blog. Over a year and a half to be exact. That went by fast! Other than just everyday life getting in the way, there are a couple of other reasons. One being, I have been sharing more on my Instagram Blog, shutting down the laptop and getting outdoors to explore more, and I’ve taken up Journaling in that time.

With today being a rain day, with little to do I decided to update my blog site to tie in more with my Instagram account and to share a post with you about Journaling. Why I love it and how it has helped me.

I keep 2 Journals. One I use as an emotional, stress release, on an as-needed basis, the other I use weekly.  In my weekly journal I write down 3 things that I am grateful for in my life, plus things that give me hope and make me happy. The gratitude journal creates a positive mood.

Both Journals are equally important for keeping me in balance.

Journaling has allowed me to clarify my thoughts and feelings, while gaining valuable self-knowledge. It has become my go to as a problem-solving tool to release stress, putting down on paper what I don’t want to burden others about.
Journaling about the stressors in my life helps me process them by fully exploring and releasing the emotions involved. Once they are on paper, I leave them there. I tuck the book in a drawer. They no longer take up space in my head. I also have found, that putting pen to paper has helped me to come up with solutions more easily.

As for the health benefits of journaling, no need to take it from me. It has been scientifically proven. Research shows the following:

– Journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma, arthritis, and other health conditions.
– It improves cognitive functioning.
– It strengthens the immune system, preventing a host of illnesses.
– It counteracts many of the negative effects of stress.

I hope my experience with journaling will help inspire you to start your own journey with Journaling.  You may not need 2 journals, or you might. My suggestion starts with a gratitude Journal, once a week, working your way up to daily. Write 3 things you are grateful for. I prefer to write in the morning in my gratitude journal to start my day on a positive note, or sometimes I will write before bed, to reflect upon the day. It doesn’t matter when you write, just take the time whenever you can squeeze it in.
Before you know it, just like that it’s a habit.

If you are already someone who Journals, I would love to hear how it has helped you.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, I will do my best to post a blog at least once a month about this amazing Journey called life.
Stay well
Pauline

Energize Your Spirit

breathe in the beauty of nature…

If I could take you by the hand, I would take you outside to connect with nature.
It has made a tremendous difference in my life.
I love to spend some of my time each day outside observing what’s happening around me. I am beginning to notice things about the environment that I’ve never seen before, at the same time increasing my awareness of my surroundings while taking in the beauty.
I do enjoy finding the road less traveled. Dirt roads, my favorite.
Although driving along dirt roads isn’t completely natural, I find if you roll down the windows and let the breeze flow through, you enjoy the natural experience just as well.
My favorite place to be to reset or energize my spirit is by water, to watch, to listen, to just sit and be still.
After all, natural bodies of water are absolutely the most beautiful.
I’m sure we would all agree that the sound of water is naturally soothing, but it is all that comes with getting outdoors that lifts the spirit. The beauty of the flowers, the sound of wind and birds, and the feel of the breeze seems all I need to lift my spirits. Everything else at that point and time is non-existent.
The freshness and energy it provides is positive.
I once read “Staying with nature will help you to get rid of all negative thoughts, curiosities and anxieties too. These are the three things which troubles you from leading a happy and healthy life.”
So true! I’ve been hooked with staying with nature ever since.
While nature walks combine exercise with outdoor stimulation, any form of outdoor living will elevate your mood.
It has been proven that walking through a forest will reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol and reduce blood pressure and heart rate. Three things we all need to keep in check.
So take a daily walk, try your hand at fishing, or simply sit and read on the back deck, or in a park to see benefits.
I strongly recommend, whenever you get some leisure time try to engage your life with nature , not just for a day, a week. Engage in nature daily, explore, wander and continue it until it’s your favorite thing to do. Do it throughout your life, experience the difference and be well!

When coming to a fork in the road – take it (Yogi Berra)

Small Town MacTier

After moving here 11 years ago I wasn’t too sure about what I had signed up for, my husband Jim Miller was born & raised in this small town and at the age of 17 left to find work with the thought of always being able to come home to his roots and small town living in MacTier. He knew exactly what it was all about. Me, I was a transplant trying to make a life in a small northern town…. where everyone knows my business before I do and around town I’m still known as “Jim Miller’s wife”.
To be totally honest with you when I first moved here and told people I lived in a small town called MacTier, I would get remarks like “Shacktier” or “oh really” and other comments, not worth spending time on. It’s like I choose to move to the worst area and that the people here were all low life and that it wasn’t a good place to be.
I have always had an open mind and never like to pass judgement. After being here 11 years, the people that made those comments don’t even have a clue!
One thing I will say is that small town MacTier does have a charm of its own.
To me, what makes MacTier such a great place? The answer is simple. The people. Clearly, it’s the people that matter and you won’t find better people than those you find in MacTier and its surrounding area. It’s not just me saying so. Look around and you will see it also.
People willing to keep pushing, leaders willing to move things forward, and a community ready to come on board. You don’t need everyone but you do need a core group willing to try and in MacTier we have just that.
MacTier has community organizations that reach out to help those who need it most. Neighbors help neighbors rebuild after tragedy. We celebrate victories together and pull close in defeat. It is a tight knit group.
This couldn’t have been any clearer to me than last night as I attended a Fundraiser for a local family who suffered a tragedy. It’s the people!
I am proud to tell people I live in MacTier. I tell them, we don’t have stop
lights, kids can s13529202_10157290022745713_6330427742939861048_ntill ride their bikes around the town, we do campfires in the backyard, we trade time & goods for services and we look out for one another without wanting anything in return. What I always get back is “wow” sounds like a great place to live!” My answer “it most certainly is!”
Small town atmosphere is alive and kicking here in MacTier and for me I am enjoying the simple life it offers.
MacTier Proud!

It’s Simply Enough

This week I was asked by an individual “What is it you do for a living Pauline?”
My reply was “I work at a semi private golf course in Muskoka from May to October in the Pro Shop and in the winter, I take time for me.”
“Wow! It’s great that you can do that. Your husband must have a pretty good job”
Me: “Not really, he works 4 days a week at a grocery store in our small town. We just choose to live a simple life. We have what we need, the rest are just wants.”
Amazing the look, I received. Almost as though there was something wrong with me.
However, this conversation did inspire me to write a blog about how & why I chose to live a simple life. I hope you enjoy and are inspired to find your own way of living that lets you be your authentic self.

It’s Simply Enough
The world we live in is such a loud, busy, noisy place. Others always telling us we need to grasp for more, that bigger is better. Seems the world around us thinks we need to have this big impact for our lives to be of value or count. We ourselves seem to think that all too often as well. I was there, thinking “What if I never amount to anything when I grow up other than a mom and wife”. After all wasn’t it expected of me to become something, to make something of my life?
I leaped into the chaos of always wanting more, a higher title, a larger salary, a bigger house, a fancy car, for years I played the part and was very successful, but something was missing. This always wanting more, sacrificing my health, happiness and family time for what? So, at the end of the day I can say “I’m #1 or I’m in the Top 10” or “I make a 6-figure salary” “my house is the biggest on the block” Striving for this type of life left me worn out, drained of happiness and had me asking myself. “Am I simply not enough if I don’t have these things?” “Who am I? ”
It took me some time, tears, anxiety & depression not to mention a divorce along the way to find out that I am not cut out for the chaos of this society and cannot even begin to keep up. I know so many people with boundless energy and stamina that can live this lifestyle, balance it and enjoy it, but knew that what I needed was tons of solitude, calm and periods of unscheduled time for me to be the healthiest version of me I could be. The person who doesn’t care about expensive fancy things. Whose home is humble but is happy. Who would rather risk being judge so that I could just be my authentic self, be there for the people in my life that matter most. I want to do what I want to do not what society thinks I should do.
I don’t want to write a book or earn a 6-figure salary. I want to write because I have something to share from my experiences from my heart. I can only hope to inspire others I care about and encourage them to love and care for themselves. Because bigger isn’t always better and that they as individuals matter. That they are valuable for who they are, not the title they hold or the amount of money they earn.
I have embraced my limitations and have made peace with who I am and what I need and I honor your right to do the same.
Is it wrong to just want a small, slow, simple life?
I don’t think so. I am most happy where simple lives.

My Journey – Part 2

Two weeks ago, I made the decision that I was going to become the healthiest version of me that I could become. A long overdue visit with my family physician was just the wake up call I needed.
For the most part I eat a pretty healthy diet and have a moderate exercise routine. So, when the Dr. told me that my blood pressure was dangerously high, like stroke high I was a little taken back. Medication was prescribed and yet another new journey begins for me. Journey #2

Let’s start with Journey #1.
October 2013, I left a job that sucked the life out of me, the negativity around me was too much and left me dealing with Anxiety & Depression, I made myself a promise to never let anyone or anything ever take away my love of life again. My focus was to increase the positivity in my life. I knew I had to take responsibility and make it happen, because no one else could do it for me.
I just wanted to be more positive! I was so frustrated with the negativity that my thoughts seemingly force upon me. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I was ready.
I found myself seeing a therapist, reading books, googling positive quotes that inspired, encouraged, and motivated me. It didn’t matter to me that I already knew what the book was all about, or that I’ve seen the same quote 2 or 3 times before or that people might think she’s crazy seeing a shrink. What mattered was that I continually feed my mind with positive and inspirational material. The more time I spent in the land of the positive, the better I was becoming. So, what happened was gradually I found myself here today, one of those happy, positive people that can handle any adversity. I still work on this Journey daily and continue to practice random acts of kindness. I just love making people smile!

This takes me to Journey #2
The same process I followed in Journey #1 for personal development is exactly the process I will follow to supercharge my life with a gym membership to meet my health and wellness goals.
I’ve Joined a gym!!
No doubt that intimidation is an unavoidable part of life. I know there will always be that someone who I feel is better than me in some way, but that doesn’t mean I should run from those feelings. I need to trample them under my feet. It’s unfortunate, and I know I am not alone on this one, people feel intimidated at the thought of joining a gym. I get it now, walking into room with mysterious machines is tough and what’s worse is that everyone there seem to be in great shape and know exactly what they’re doing. The hardest part about going to the gym for the first time was getting myself there. dsc_0019_1
I set up an orientation with a trainer who showed me around and taught me how to use the machines. I asked a lot of questions and felt a little silly but once all my questions were answered and I knew how the machines worked, I felt much more comfortable about showing up for my work outs on my own. I might have initially felt awkward following the trainer around the gym, but to me an hour of discomfort seemed much better than days of confusion at the gym.
It’s hard in the beginning, (only 2 weeks into it) because I’m trying to change something that my body isn’t used to. I’m o.k with that. I have decided the best look I can have when going to the gym for the first little while and trying to overcome the anxiety is one of confidence, because if I look like I know what I’m doing, I’m golden. Fake it, till you make it-lol

So, I will throw my ear plugs in and zone into motivational music that will silence the other gym goers and give me the push I need to keep going. My goals will give me focus and purpose.
Each day as I walk into the gym, I will tell myself that I am there to give it my very best and it doesn’t matter how everyone else looks. My first two weeks is not comparable to someone else’s 52 weeks. I’ve got this!

Gradually as with Journey #1 The happiest version of me I will also become the healthiest version of me Journey #2.

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment.

Be Well!

Pauline

 

Anxiety Does Not Define Me

I find that People always share the shining side of things, especially in our world of Social Media. Yes, I am guilty. It’s easier to share the highlights of your life than to talk about the negative, but I think it’s also important to show we’re all human, we all have failures, we have things that are more difficult to cope with.

Admitting vulnerability has the ability to connect people. I hope that with this blog I connect with you & give you inspiration.

Everyone has struggles in life – it just happens that anxiety and depression are mine.

Anxiety. At some point in life you will face it. A public speech, job interviews or the first day at your new job, you’ll get nervous, do whatever it is that is making you nervous and then go back to your usual self. This makes me incredibly envious.

The stigma around having a mental health issue causes a lot of people to hide it. That’s why a lot of the time when you find out someone has anxiety or depression it comes as a surprise.
SURPRISE!

I am not an expert on anything. Most days I struggle with being the expert on me, but that is the only thing I come close to being an expert on.

People are puzzled by me — I come across as outgoing but introverted, very social but rarely wanting to go out and socialize. My alone time my safe place.

Despite many physical symptoms of anxiety, I’m a master at hiding it.

While I may not be able to prevent stress or anxiety from showing up at inopportune times, my remedy and a great place to start is by taking a deep breath and remembering I don’t have to have it all together all the time. Or even some of the time. The best thing I can do is live honestly with myself. I’ve also been through a couple of episodes of depression. Luckily, I have had the strength and guidance of professionals to get through them along with amazing support of family & friends.

I think a couple of my favorite pieces of advice for when feeling down is “it’s OK not to be OK” and “Sometimes we fall down because there is something down there we’re supposed to find”

I know this might sound strange, but I am grateful for my Anxiety and Depression even though I would not wish them on my worst enemy, but they have had a huge impact in shaping who I am, and in developing some of my biggest strengths. I’m proud of my kindness and empathy. Being familiar with struggle makes a person appreciate the goodness in life so much more. Life is good, and life is short, and for that reason I will make my journey count.

Anxiety and depression do not define me, but I am truly very grateful for the life lessons I have learned in working to overcome and manage them, and of the person I am.
I have become more proactive to stay healthy, especially when my mental health is at stake and have come to the conclusion that I will never let my most personal decisions be influenced by the opinions of others. I have to believe the right decision lies deep in my heart. I believe in the knowledge I have and trust myself enough to embrace the unknown.

The prescribed medication I take for anxiety attacks does not define me. I am OK with my decision to take medication when needed to help me with my anxiety. A decision that came from acceptance, not shame. A decision that allowed me to start down a new path on my journey.

My one piece of advice to anyone dealing with anxiety is to never let anxiety fool you into thinking you’re not strong enough for something. 8edbf8af8f9b1546b55e86bed33c060b
Not everyone experiences anxiety in the same way. This is based on my own individual experience.
No one knows you better than you know yourself. Always stay true to you 🙂  Always remember…Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness!