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.

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!

 

 

 

Planting The Right Seeds

People ask me so often why are you always smiling?

Well it’s because I believe that smiles physically and mentally heal.

Not only are they for my benefit, but for those around me.

Some people think it’s okay to mope around, they think life is hard, everyday is a struggle and yes, at times it can be. But, yes there it is, BUT!  It doesn’t have to be that way.

You can change it by planting the right seeds.

Oh no the word CHANGE!

Nothing will happen unless you decide it’s time to change. I hope this blog will inspire you.

You’ve got in in you! Think of your body like a garden. Plant the right seeds, tend to it,keep it alive and flourishing. Dig in the dirt! Pull out the weeds.

Doesn’t the garden always look so much nicer once the dirt has been turned over & the weeds pulled out. Almost like it’s smiling at you for taking such great care of it.

Do the same for you! Will it be easy? No, but it will be very rewarding!

So my answer to the question, why are you always smiling? ;

When I Focus on things that make me smile then it’s like I am planting seeds of happiness inside me and once planted they just tend to grow. So the secret for me to always be smiling is about the type of seeds I plant in my heart. I Plant positive ones, turning my frown upside down, pulling out the weeds and turning the soil everyday.

I work on it, it’s a process friends.

“I Hope you find a reason to smile today!”

Start planting your garden & watch it grow. Like any Garden it takes time.


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Discovering Ecotheraphy

Have you ever thought that you’re not as happy as you should be in your life?

I’m sure you have. We all have at some point in our lives.

About a year ago that was me. Not that my life is hard, or that I have a lot to worry about, I have a pretty comfortable life. It was just me feeling stuck .Thinking too much about the past, worrying about the future, just not being thankful for the present. I decide it was time to take some steps to enhance my level of well-being. I started on my journey. I took to the World Wide Web and googled well-being. Here I found a number of new activities and practices that I could take up: meditation, singing, running, performing acts of kindness, mindfulness, yoga and so on. I do a lot of these now, but the one thing I was surprised with was that research had shown of all these activities the most effective thing you could do, according to research, is to take up gardening.  flowers
Gardening? No wonder I always felt so much better after a day of working in the yard. I should tell you first of all that I am not a gardener. I have no idea what the flowers in my flower beds are called, with the exception of the Hosta plant. Oh yes, and the impatiens flowers. All I know is that those plants in the back get nice purple flowers and the others in the corner get beautiful yellow ones. Yep, and that’s how I plant my flower beds.
I read in an article that in the UK, gardening has begun to be used as a therapy for individuals suffering from depression and anxiety. As an alternative to prescribing anti-depressants, doctors in a pilot study are signing patients up for 12 week gardening courses. The ‘Grozone’ project teaches patients basic horticultural skills and encourages them to grow their own plants, which they can take home afterwards.
ECOTHERAPHY! Sweet! I love it! I have always enjoyed being outdoors and soaking up the beauty of nature in general, a walk through the woods, sitting on the beach, stopping by a roadside park. I have used all of these to improve the symptoms of anxiety and to improve concentration and well-being.
So although I have been under the weather with a cold I decided to venture out to the flower gardens yesterday. It’s fall here so it’s time to cut back, transfer and weed the few gardens I do have. If you know me, you will know that I have been on a mindfulness journey and have become very wrapped up in practicing mindfulness because it is such a powerful tool that keeps me staying in the now. So as I was digging in the dirt I found myself absorbed in the digging, lost track of time and the restlessness and chattering of my mind just faded away. I felt alert, alive and my mental energy became more intensified.
dirtI was in the moment! Concentrating on the beauty around me, free from the anxieties of the future.
So today I got lost in the gardens again. I have never devoted much time to the activity. But I’m beginning to think that I should start. Not only did it feel great to get out and do some physical activity it kept me focused and in the now, it gave me a sense of accomplishment too. I know I will have to wait until next summer for all my hard work to unfold but I also know once the snow melts and spring arrives and the first sign of bulbs pop through the ground I will be knee deep in my new ECOTHERAPHY.
And for now I will give thanks to mother nature for providing a day of sunshine. Cheers to another wonderful day outdoors.

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.

-Luther Burbank

Mindfulness Slipping Away

Loving the outdoors this time of year.

Took some time out in my day to take in this beautiful scenery near the railroad tracks, some time to think, breathe. Everything is silent. I find myself deep in thought when suddenly I hear a noise in the distance. The sound of the train coming down the tracks brings me back to reality. The faraway place I was becomes no longer important and the moment that matters is now. Sometimes being mindful slips away from me. It’s like ever thing else, we must take the responsibility into our own hands to stay in the present.
The sound of the horn, the buzzing noise of the train on the rails, finds me getting excited! I wanted a picture. I’m pumped to have the opportunity to get this great fall shot-at that moment nothing else mattered to me except for the beauty of the moment I was capturing. Everything else forgotten.

Beautiful fall scenery in Sequin Township, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

Beautiful fall scenery in Sequin Township in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

Staying in the present takes time to develop. It is hard work and there are times when I feel like I want to throw in the towel. I know I will face challenges, obstacles, and problems, but I also know that if I am determined, I will get through them.
I do realize that life is not perfect, nothing is perfect or normal and there will always be obstacles. I also realize that these obstacles are nothing but teachers on my journey. Since I started on my mindfulness journey, keeping myself aware of my thoughts and staying in the now, my life has improved. I have reduced stress and I am a lot calmer, more at peace, and happier. I am able to see things in a whole new way and get great burst of insight at times that change my days from blah to WOW!

Look into the future and you see worry, look into the past and you see regret, look into the present and you shall find the purpose of life.

Nature, The Best Medicine

Getting outdoors to somewhere full of bright beautiful colors, the calming sound of the water is so peaceful and is the perfect natural antidote to stress and anxiety.

Muskoka Beauty

The Muskoka Beauty in the month of October is stunning.

I said it before & will say it again, Fall has always been a favorite season of mine. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale. Like with fireworks displays.  Hope you are able to get out and explore the beauty of the season and reflect on everything that you are grateful for.

More of the Muskoka Beauty in October.

More of the Muskoka Beauty in October, just can’t get enough. Love it!

Just An Ordinary Day

“What a great day!” A well-deserved break from work.

To top it off my husband (Jim) was off as well so we could spend the entire day together. Apples PC
Often times we are not off on the same days and I am off gallivanting on my own not making it home till later in the evenings. Jim will always ask “What did you do all day?” I laugh and say “I went shopping”. He doesn’t get it. For Jim shopping is just achieving a goal or a mission. Need new shoes, try them on, they fit, get them, get out. So today Jim came and spent the day with me just to see what a real Pauline day looks like. I am a person who is very passive at shopping. I can’t select a thing quickly; I need to get satisfaction, the item needs to speak to me-I know as soon as I see something if it’s for me. I’m not a mall shopper I’m more of a thrift shopper. Love the consignment stores and thrift shops.
Life changes – there are people out there that have quality home furnishings and accessories that are in “like-new” condition and they no longer fit into their lifestyle or decorating scheme, so why buy new when I can practice the three R’s – Reuse, Reduce, Re-cycle. You never know what you might find that fits perfectly into your lifestyle or décor. I almost always find something.
So here goes our day.
“Jim I would like to go to Collingwood today to get apples from the Orchards”. In case you don’t know where Collingwood is it is a town in Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada. It is situated on Nottawasaga Bay at the southern point of Georgian Bay. They are known to grow some of the best apples there.
Ok, first we need to stop at the transfer station because I forgot to take the garbage out yesterday, also when we are there I would like to check the shed of not so dumpy stuff to see if there is anything there I can maybe refurbish-oh, by the way there was a beautiful solid wood chair that was just left there to die. So I took that & will work on refurbishing it one day.

Jim just shakes his head and loads it into the Mazda. Driving out from the transfer station Jim says there’s a rattlesnake on the road, so I make him pull over so I can take a picture.

Rattle Snake

Rattle Snake

I didn’t get too close because I couldn’t tell if it was dead or just playing dead. Picture taken and we are on our way. Next stop Tim Horton’s for a large green tea-now were off.

Along the way we make a detour through Wasaga Beach.
Wasaga Beach is the longest freshwater beach in the world, it is a very popular summer tourist destination, situated at the southern end of Georgian Bay and a neighbor to Collingwood. This time of year the beach was deserted so I made Jim stop so I could take a picture.
As we drove into Collingwood the smell of fresh apples is unforgettable. If you’ve never been you need to visit and experience it for yourself! The honeycrisp apple is my favorite apple of all times, it’s “explosively crisp,” snapping off in great chunks when you bite into it. It has a coarse texture, but is light and juicy, with a flavor that’s a balance of sweetness and tartness. I make the drive there just for those each year. So apples, pears and plums were purchased and we moved on.
A pair of crazy animals

A little further down the road was a great display of the fall harvest, squash, gourds, pumpkins and more, so I made Jim stop so I could get a picture. Yep, he shakes his head. As we drive away I tell him I would like to check out a couple of my favorite consignment stores in town so off we go.

First Stop Restore, nothing too interesting in there but when I went to leave I could not find Jim. I look outside and there he is sitting all relaxed with the car door open just waiting & whistling away. What a trooper. A store I Love 2

Only two more shops to go. I think he actually enjoyed these other two shops, he spent time checking things out and yes, I did find something to bring home from one of them. Two beautiful candle holders.A Candle holders
Off to Penetanguishene.The town I grew up in to visit with my parents and bring them some freshly picked apples, but first another stop at the Real Canadian Superstore for Cat food, which lead to a visit to the Joe Fresh department, cosmetic department & ending with the purchase of cat food, 2 chocolate bars and a potted mum in my favorite color.A Plant
Now we have arrived in Penetanguishene for a wonderful visit with my mom, dad, brother and even my favorite uncle stopped by. What a nice surprise. Perfect day to sit outdoors and get caught up on the news and reminisce.
It’s time to leave, Jim has to be home for darts at 7. He belongs to a local league. So off we go once again. Mactier still an hour away. A final stop for Pizza on the way home for dinner. Well except for the next stop that I wanted because the colors are looking so beautiful I needed to take a picture. LOL.
So Jim is at darts with the boys having a few beer, probably not discussing his shopping adventure and well, I’m here relaxing writing all about it.
Now as I sit here writing my blog I realize that each time I write it brings me closer to developing the habit of gratitude. I want to savor all the good moments throughout each day. Spend time thinking about happy memories. And at the end of each day, have a few things I am grateful for. Today I am grateful for Jim Miller my soul mate, the loved ones in my life, the delicious apples and soft place to lay my head tonight.
Life is short – treasure it – be with the people and go to the places that set a spark within you. If it does not nourish your mind, body and soul…then find someone or somewhere that does.A Jimmer
Thanks to the person that sets a spark within me and allows me to be whom I am.
Now Jim totally gets my day adventures & how I get caught up in my surroundings. Will he come along again? Most definitely. We had some great laughs.

Happiness is a way of Life, not a destination.