Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Life Flashes.

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Legend has it that when you die your life flashes before you. That may be true but since no one has ever lived to tell the tale, we’ll never really know for sure, will we?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. Little thoughts have been coming to me when I’m meditating or out walking or when I’m in the shower. What I’ve been seeing in these moments of reflection is my life unreeling like a backwards upside-down inside-out movie. Not chronologically but episodically and completely random. Like watching Season 3 Episode 10 of something on Netflix one night and then jumping arbitrarily to Season 1 Episode 4 the next and then watching the finale of Season 6 right afterwards.

I’ll be sitting in my meditation chair all quiet and holy-like trying to remain focused on my mantra when my little mind starts to wander. And then before long the movie sequence of some snippet of my life starts to play. Like last week’s episode about the Toronto days at 402 Northcliffe Blvd. No big deal. Just a sweet little slice of domesticity unfolded that involved kids and bus rides to Yorkdale Mall that made me sad and left my heart pining. For what, I’m not even sure. Maybe I need a new pair of shoes and a good visit with my kids.

This movie re-wind thing can happen anywhere. During one of my morning walks with Coco a few weeks ago, a pair of Canada geese flew overhead. There is just something mournful about their honking call that makes my throat squeeze. Instantly I’m back in Northwestern Ontario. It’s autumn and the leaves are starting to turn. The air is growing crisp with winter on its edges. The large blue skies are dazzling as they start to shift into the next phase, a new season. The sunlight is moody and casts uneven shadows on the earth below, and it has lost its heat. I’m ten years old and I’m on my way to Algonquin Avenue Public School when overhead I hear them calling. Good-bye for now, see you in the spring. I look up. Wave discreetly. This movie fragment makes me weep. I cry for the entire walk. I’m grateful it’s early morning and there’s no one around to see or hear. Coco is deaf.

Tears come easily these days too. Everything is touching my heart. Not piercing. Just a gentle prod of confirmation that I’m still present. Still alive and feeling. Awake to the passage of time and the fleeting transitory evanescence of this thing called life. Here today, and tomorrow’s movie.

I wonder if this is how it actually goes. We wend our way backwards then forwards, and back again. Episode by random episode, season by scattered season until it all makes sense, tells the full story. The things we live and the things we remember, real-time and reel-time.

We press play and pause, rewind and replay. Nothing flashes.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Take a Leap of Faith.

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Girl Warrior. Take a leap of faith. Especially in those pivotal moments that define the direction of your life, if not permanently, than for a colossal chunk of it. The make or break junctures. The pinpoint life-altering time that when you look back, you realize that, ‘this was when it all started.’

Don’t let this be the split-second that leaves you filled with an entire lifetime of regret.

Leaping can be scary. Fear of failure or change or the unknown can be overwhelming and shake your confidence. Rock your foundation. Make the earth move under your feet so badly that you’re knocked off-balance. Your equilibrium is quivering and quaking. That’s what fear does. But fear is only false evidence appearing real. Not real. Just pretending. A schoolyard bully that you need to show who’s the boss.

It’s paramount that you don’t allow doubt to seep into your thoughts, and then settle there like an ungracious house guest. Not even for a bit. Take a deep breath and jump in. Head-first. Feet-first. Nose-dive. Or ass-over-tea-kettle. It does not matter how, it just matters that you do.

If the faith in yourself is faltering, then jump with the faith that others have in you. Work with that. Seize their faith in you, embrace it and carry it in your heart and your mind until you see what everyone else sees.

You’ve got this Girl Warrior. You can do it. You know you can. Go ahead. Jump.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Don’t Settle.

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Girl Warrior. Don’t settle. Go along with, resign or reconcile yourself, stomach, swallow or submit to anything that doesn’t ring true to the bright and shiny person you are.

Don’t live a default life. A ‘learn to live with’ life. An involuntary life. Or worse yet, one that belongs to someone else. And you’re just going along for the ride. Sitting complacently, but maybe not so comfortably, in the back seat or sidecar. You belong behind the wheel of your own life, the one of your own making. Steer your spaceship courageously in the direction of your dreams. Not someone else’s. That’s your mission, your primary assignment here.

You only get to do this present-life thing one time, and one time only, Girl Warrior. And it is oh so very brief. So fleeting. A flutter of the butterfly’s wing. Yes, some things are eternal. Our souls. The tender memories of us. But this here-and-now Earth Walk, and all the glorious people, places and things that are gifted to us are here for such a woefully brief time. So don’t squander any of it by settling.

Don’t settle in. Don’t settle down. Don’t settle for. Anything. And that goes for the people in your life, the work you do, the place where you live, the man or woman you’re involved with, and most importantly, the desires of your heart.

Girl Warrior, don’t be afraid that if you choose not to settle you’ll be all alone. You won’t. Quite the opposite is true. You’ll be surrounded by your loving and brave Tribe of kindred spirits who also refused to settle for anything less than an authentic life.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Define Your Own Success.

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Girl Warrior. Determine your own definition of what being successful means. Like many of the big things you’ll do, this is an inside job. Start there. Take a long hard close look inwards at the person you are today. The one you were yesterday, last week, last month, last year, or as many years back as your memory will take you.

Then ask yourself this question. Who is this person?

Chances are, this person is somewhere on the growth chart between ‘not quite there yet’ and ‘done like dinner.’ Regardless of where you stand on the Spectrum of Light (SOL) you are incomparably perfect. Not flawless. Not without blemishes or warts. Not pristine. But perfect, not in spite of these things but because of them.

With this perspective in mind, and under your own personal magnifying glass, go in closer to see all the people, places and things that truly matter to you. What inspires your soul? Fills your mind with wonder and curiosity? Makes your heart flutter with happiness. Brings tears of joy to your eyes? Scares the shit right out of you? What drives and propels you forward? What makes you want to get up in the morning? What would you rather be doing more than anything else? What does an ideal day look like? Who do you like to be with? Who’s in your tribe and who’s missing that you wish was there? How do you find bliss? Where do you want to go? When do you start living your life? Why does it matter? And, the really great big huge colossal critical question, why are you here?

Once you have probed deeply and truthfully into the answers to these soul-searching questions, you can start to formulate a picture of what success means to you. Notice that these are questions you ask of yourself. This is a very personal quest and is nobody else’s business. Not your parents, friends, teachers, therapists, colleagues, pop icons, social media stars, fashion freaks, political leaders or anyone else that you may be under the influence. Not their life. Not their definition. Not this time.

Know this, being successful lies in your answers to these vital life-affirming questions. Only these. It’s not about wealth or power or influence or status or jobs or fame or fortune or getting ahead or climbing some corporate ladder. It’s about loving, honoring and respecting the person looking back at you in the mirror every day. It’s about knowing that your presence on Planet Earth matters.

Most importantly Girl Warrior, it’s about knowing that your life is a success because you live it fully and completely, with the utmost integrity and authenticity. And always, always, always according to your own definition. On your terms.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: You Have the Right to Say Yes and to Say No.

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Girl Warrior. You have the right to say yes and to say no. You always have a choice. Always. It’s critical that you understand the importance of this. Especially at those times when you hit the fork in the road and a decision must be made. If not your life, then your wellbeing could depend on it.

It’s your life, your body, and your mind. It is all sacredly yours to decide how what where when and why you will use it as a means of expression. Only you get to decide what happens to you. This point is a powerful pill. Take it in massive doses.

Do not let anyone tell you differently. Do not allow another to pressure, persuade or push you into anything you do not want to do. Do not be coerced into giving consent or granting permission. Do not surrender your esteemed self. Do not let anyone sweet-talk you into being untrue to the self-respecting warrior you are. Do not enable arm-twisting of any kind.

No matter what.

Do exercise your right to self-determination. Do grow all your spiritual muscles around this notion. Do expand your understanding of the things that matter most to you. Do figure out who belongs on your odyssey and who does not. Do draw your own line in the sand. Do take control of your life. Do manifest your own destiny. Do say yes to the life of your choosing.

Girl Warrior whether it’s yes or no, the choice belongs to you. Only you.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone.

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This morning

While I was sitting here drinking coffee

In the silent stillness and stifling solitude

Of my writing space

My mind drifted lazily

Back

To when I was a young woman

And my two oldest kids were still my kids

The time of two cats in the yard

Where everything was loud and noisy

Gritty and grating at times.

 

I was obsessed

With cleaning up my messy life

Which was actually

A deliciously divine messy life

But I didn’t know it at the time.

 

You see

Back then I believed

My messy life wasn’t good

And certainly not

Interesting

Beautiful

Virtuous

Or worthy.

 

It didn’t fit

Into the glossy pages

Of a coffee-table magazine

I would never ever be

Wife or mother of the year

But oh how I longed

For that impossible

That implausible

That unattainable

Distinction.

 

I thought

So foolishly

It’s laughable now

That this messiness was a problem

This glorious domestic chaos

And magnificent uproarious thunder

Racket and tumult

This callow tender tackiness

Of everyday life

Was something to be fixed.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Have a Grateful Heart.

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Girl Warrior. Have a grateful heart. Count your blessings. Each and every day. There are so many things to appreciate in your life. Right here and now. Take nothing for granted. Don’t squander your godsend.

Concern yourself with all the things you already have. Not with what’s missing or what you don’t have or wished you had. For if you aren’t grateful for what you already possess then getting more of anything else won’t change your heart or fill your soul. It will never be enough.

Know this Girl Warrior, it is imperative that you are first and foremost grateful for the life you have, the gorgeous gift that it is. Look around at the people who surround you and give thanks for their presence. See the heavenly divineness in all things. Big and small. It’s all so precious.

See your cup half full. Always. Express your thanks at every turn. Seek opportunities to acknowledge the lavishness of your life. Just as it is in this precise moment. Look around at the eternal abundance of the universe. And say thank you. Make this your mantra.

Send out Thank You cards to the world Girl Warrior.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Follow Your Passions.

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Girl Warrior. Follow your passions. Therein lies your love affair with life. Be curious. Channel your inner Curious George. Do things that you love to do. Be enthusiastic. Keen. Overflowing with zeal, zest and gusto. Embrace new ideas and ways of doing the things you already know. Be creative. Imaginative.

Take the magical mystery tour. Expand. Grow. Cultivate. Hone. Set your heart on fire. Grab a handful. Then another. And another. Gush about the things you love. Take risks. Embrace the failures on the way to your successes. Learn and get on with it.

Dive in with your whole heart Girl Warrior.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Take Good Care of Yourself.

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Girl Warrior. Take good care of yourself. Do whatever it takes to be physically healthy. All the days of your life. Do it for yourself. And for all the people who love you. Be active in every arena of your life.

Find the thing that moves you. Go to the gym. Take a fitness class. Play a sport. Be part of the team. Or go it alone. Do the Sun Salutation every morning in the tranquility of your bedroom. Walk the dog after supper. Chase the cat around the yard. Climb a mountain. Run down the hill. Swim circles around the competition. Pole dance. Or plié at the barre. Go fly a kite. Or paddle a canoe.

Whatever floats your boat. Makes you feel alive and well in your skin. You don’t have to master it. You just have to do it. Get off the couch, away from the table, or out of the bed. That’s half the battle. You need to be strong Girl Warrior. Fit as a fiddle and in fighting form.

Ready for anything.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: My Yoga.

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In many ways yoga has saved my life. Or at the very least kept me from being a total train wreck. My daily practice has taught me how to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground. And my spirit ever reaching for heaven. It has opened my eyes to the exquisiteness of my life in its domestic ordinariness. The beauty of the day-to-day. The rhythm of regular rituals. The well-crafted commonplace I love.

For I am an ordinary woman.

My yoga has aged with me. I can no longer do the poses the way I once did. But I can still bend and fold and breathe. And allow grace to gently do the rest. I surrender to a higher wisdom.

I salute the sun and whisper thank you to the morning light.

These photos were taken by daughter, Melissa Adams in our living room where I do my yoga every morning.

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