Don’t judge others because you sin differently: Reflections on Monica Lewinsky’s speech

I saw this video in my news feed and debated watching it.  I didn’t know what to expect, as the last images I had in my mind of Monica Lewinsky were the ones the media imprinted in my brain after the news of her affair with Clinton broke out.

Listening to her share her story, as a 22 year old girl who fell in love, my heart sank as she described her memories and experiences of the aftermath.  Twenties are hard enough without the added feelings of desperate isolation, fear, hurt and yes, shame.  Shame, the one emotion that has the potential to ruin someone’s life; the feeling that had her wishing she could just “disintegrate”.  A pretty powerful word for a young person (or any person for that matter) to have to feel.

There were so many things about her speech that impacted me, and reminded me of how important it is to be surrounded by people who love you.  To have people who, when you are so far removed from your true self, will remind you of exactly who you are.  People who mirror to you daily, your beauty, your light and your love.  Having that support is literally life-saving, because without it, shame wins.

I know I was one of those people who secretly judged her and got caught up in the drama that the media created.  I remember tuning in to the news broadcasts and reading the articles.  Having watched her speech today, I regret partaking in any of that, because the reality is, she is human.  We are all human.   And no human should be subject to humiliation, shame and hate. We are hard enough on ourselves that we don’t need others (in her case it was practically the entire the world), reinforcing the negative thoughts.

Today’s reminder:  Don’t judge others because you sin differently. We are all human.

Interested in watching the speech? Click link below.

Monica Lewinsky First Public Speech: Saying what needs to be said.

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To thy own self be true…

The Fabric of our Soul

I love myself enough to…..

A powerful statement for what I put after that sets the stage for love – self love.

I love myself enough to….
Let go of what doesn’t serve me.
Embrace what is meant for me.
Set boundaries to protect me.
Forgive myself for leaving me.

I love myself enough to….
Hold on to “me” so tight that I never let anything or anyone come between me, myself and I.

To thy own self be true.

-M.R xo

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Let it go…with love

You can’t let go of that which you hate ~ M.R xo

The Fabric of our Soul

“Let it go! Let it go!” Are you singing it yet?

If you’re like me, the song will be stuck in your head all day. (You’re welcome). 

Theme songs aside…. How many times have you heard or have been given the advice to “Let it go”. Whether it be anger, sadness, hurt or resentment – easier said than done, don’t you agree?

How exactly does one “Let it go”, when it feels so deeply woven through the fabric of our soul?

We all experience hurt, anger, resentment and prejudice. We equally experience love, joy, acceptance and compassion too.

In order to Let it go, we need to decide which thread we want to work with. You can not let go that which you hate (hurt, resent, anger etc). Giving your attention to those emotions only creates knots in that thread, thus giving it strength.

By choosing to work with…

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Chaos: Heart Wide Open

I came across this poem recently by Christopher Poindexter

“Our minds are full of things that our hearts do not understand. And that my love, is why the world is filled with so much chaos”

It got me thinking about how often I find myself amidst chaos. Confusion. That ever-telling struggle between the heart and the mind.

I’ve been known to wear my heart on my sleeve, so to speak. And I try, despite the vulnerability, to lead with my heart. But I couldn’t help question, after reading the poem, whether the “chaos” aka confusion, was the result of not listening to my head. Maybe I have it backwards?

Sometimes we want things despite all rational logic. Think about your younger days when you would fall for the “wrong” person, or find yourself knowing that you must leave but your heart won’t let it go. The chaos amidst trying to decide who is right. Your heart, or your brain?

Maybe it’s not about a love struggle for you. Maybe it’s a struggle in business. Where you want to feel empathetic towards someones situation but the best course of action for everyone is to let them go or re-assign that task to someone else.

Whatever the situation, the most difficult place to be is amidst the chaos of having to decide which one is right. Maybe it’s not about who’s right or wrong. Maybe we need the confusion; the struggle between the heart and the head.

After all, without chaos, nothing would evolve. And isn’t that the purpose of human existence? To evolve to higher beings, learn lessons and enjoy the journey no matter where it takes us? Life is too short. I say, lead with your heart, but take your brain with you. 😉

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Confessions…What do I believe?

Growing up, I was raised going to church almost every Sunday. Although neither of my parents were “die-hard” church goers, there was always a presence of God and religion in our lives. If not through my parents, then through school. I attended Catholic school from Kindergarten up to grade 13, and as such, was raised to observe the sacraments of the Catholic Religion; Baptism, First Reconciliation, First Communion and then Confirmation.

I’m not sure when, but somewhere along the lines, I started to question certain aspects of the religion. What I’m about to write is not to dispute anyone’s beliefs. I will preface this by saying that I am a believer in a higher power of which I call God. I believe in love and treating all of humanity with kindness. I believe in helping people and doing good; for myself, my family, my friends and for those that I have yet to meet, because I believe that we all have an obligation as spiritual beings to help one another along this journey we call life. We are all heading to the same place, and when I get there, I want God to recognize me for the light that he created in me.

As I sat in church on this particular evening, I watched as my children nervously awaited their turn to meet the priest for their First Reconciliation. For those that aren’t familiar with the Catholic religion, the sacrament of Reconciliation is where you confess your sins to Jesus and God, by way of speaking through a priest and asking for forgiveness. It was the one sacrament that not only scared me as a child, but confused me as well. Why did I have to speak to a priest? Why couldn’t I just deal directly with God? And if there is unconditional love from God, then why is there hell?

Leading up to this day, I caught myself constantly reminding my children that, no matter what they say or do, there is nothing that would ever make me (or God) stop loving them. I reminded them that they are perfectly imperfect, just the way God made them and that everyone sins. Essentially, I caught myself feeling very vulnerable and sensitive, to the point where I wanted to take them home to protect them…from what I’m not sure.

I started to reflect on my own experience with my First Confession. It felt like only yesterday I was waiting in line for my turn to see the priest and I can vividly remember how nervous I was. I already felt bad for my “sins”, and thought that when I prayed to God to apologize, that I was forgiven. But when I was introduced to Confession, the idea of me needing to confess to the priest, made me feel uncomfortable. What if he judged me? What if, once I confess my sins, the priest thinks I’m a horrible person? It “seemed” at the time, that the priest held all this power and that somehow, he could decide if God forgave me. It’s amazing how a child’s mind works, especially when there is no one there to correct their assumptions. Needless to say, it was probably my earliest experience of the Catholic religion that I can recall, that made me start looking at my world and my beliefs a little differently.

So why, you ask, would I have my children go through Confession if I didn’t believe in it myself? Simply, I want them to be the judge of what they believe in. And as it turns out, they wanted to go. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that not everyone shares the same experience or viewpoint as we do. My experience of confession was clearly not theirs. They didn’t have a problem with needing to confess through a priest. Their nervousness came from their fear of not remembering the right words to say, and had nothing to do with a fear of being judged. And, as it turns out, I chose to send them to a Christian based school, and so, it is expected that they would need to participate in these sacraments.

There are still things that I don’t fully believe or embrace about the Catholic religion but that doesn’t mean I’m not a believer in God. My children will need to create their own opinions and it’s my job as a parent, to expose them to enough experiences so that they can do just that. I believe that the most important thing we can do for our children is to create a space where they feel safe and comfortable to speak openly with us, and for us to listen and accept them, regardless of what we believe.

I confess that I may not be the best person to teach them about the Catholic religion but they will know about love, spirituality and the inter-connectedness that we all are to each other, and to God.

The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see. -Alexandra Trenfor.

Life with Maddie

“Can we please get a dog? Please??!!” The plea and begging that you would only expect from children…only they were my words, out of my mouth, and directed to my husband.

Having grown up with pets, I was really starting to feel the urge to want one for our family. In fact, I had been for a while. There is something about pets (for me it is dogs specifically) that bring a sense of joy and stability to a family. Not to say that there isn’t joy with my two beautiful children, but it’s been quite the year of grief and goodbyes. And as a result, I have been left with this empty feeling, and one that I was eager to fill. Things really peaked when we lost my husbands parents this summer, after they unexpectedly passed away one week apart. It was one of the hardest things we have had to face and especially so, for my husband. Needless to say, 2013 hasn’t been kind, but I was determined to change it.

I am not usually known for my spontaneous behaviour but when I set my mind to something, I am determined to get it. On this one particular day, while glancing at pictures on various social media sites, I came across this picture of a puppy. My heart immediately warmed and I found myself smiling at the cute face on my screen. I had to have a puppy. And so it began.

My husband has never grown up with pets, so we didn’t exactly see eye to eye on this. I had asked, and sometimes begged, if we could please get a dog, but the answer was always “not now”. I knew that introducing a pet to our family was exactly what we needed; what I needed. So, I did what any devoted, loving and caring wife would do. I schemed up a way that I knew would make it difficult for him to say no! I booked an appointment with a breeder to have “a look” at the types of dogs…an education session if you will. *grin*

Exactly one week later, I am sitting in my kitchen writing this blog post, with my sweet ten week old goldendoodle puppy Maddie, resting by my feet. So how has this little girl changed our lives? Well, if there was ever a void, I can’t find it. Or shall I say, I don’t have time to feel it. I believe it’s fair to say that I’m overflowing…with responsibility, distraction and of course, unconditional love. It’s been quite the ride with this little pup. As pretty close to having a newborn baby as you can get. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. In only a few short days, it became pretty obvious to me, how “comfortable” we’ve made ourselves in the routine of our daily lives. It was time for a change and Maddie definitely changed things up.

The kids have grown up so much this last week. Taking the dog out for little walks during cold and dark hours of early morning (without being asked). Being responsible for feeding her, playing with her, and still managing to get themselves ready for school. It’s almost as if, giving them more responsibility that wasn’t about them, made them more efficient. More responsible. They are over the moon happy, and the sounds of their belly laughs while they play with Maddie is enough to make my heart melt.

Maddie has brought new life to our house. We spend more time together as a family, playing and going for walks. Even though at times it is challenging, with the middle of the night whimpers, accidents on the floor, and a few minor arguments over whose turn it is to walk her (usually between me and my husband), Maddie has been the perfect addition to our family. And as it turns out, she has used her puppy charm to capture the heart of my husband. There is something about hugging and playing with a little puppy, that softens the heart.

It has only been one week, but a week it has been! I’m not suggesting that getting a puppy will magically solve all of life’s problems, but it has helped us close one chapter of our lives and look forward to a new adventure in the next. As we approach the holidays and the end of 2013, we are able to focus on something joyous, while honouring and remembering the missing that the many good-bye’s have left us. Life with Maddie has brought a sense of connectedness to our family; a gift. I believe, out of all the puppies we saw, Maddie chose us just as much as we chose her and we are all the better for it.

Mirror, Mirror…

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most perfect one of all? “YOU ARE

Self (age 10): I wonder where I fit into the world? I want to be grown up, but I’m not quite there yet. I think I look pretty with lipstick…but not as pretty as her. I want to sing, and write…but I’m not as good as her. I just want people to see me…but I think I will hide instead.

Future Self: You’re so hard on yourself. You weren’t born to fit in. You were born to stand out! To shine, like the sun. You are beautiful, with or without lipstick. You are more than good enough, because you are perfectly you! One day you will know this.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most perfect one of all? “YOU ARE

Self (age 20): What do I want to do with my life? I’m a jack of all trades and master of none. I wish I had a talent…something to make me unique. Like a dancer, a skater, a singer or a writer. I don’t want to stand out anyway. Someone might notice I’m flawed.

Future Self: You can do and be anything you want. You are brilliant and creative. You are perfectly imperfect, and that’s what makes you, YOU! Don’t play it safe. Have fun. Travel. Stay out late. Take risks. Create your own adventure. The world needs you. Don’t hide. Where did you go?

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most perfect one of all? “YOU ARE

Self (age 30): I can’t believe I have a daughter. She’s perfect. I hope she sees her beauty and her strength. I will never let anyone dull that sparkle of hers. I love the way she sits in front of a mirror and smiles at herself. I love the way she beams when she hears her own voice. Did I mention she was born on my birthday? It’s like looking into a mirror.

Future Self: Now you’re getting there! Do you see it yet? Do you see how perfect you are? Look at yourself in the mirror, and smile. Hear your voice, and beam with pride. Is that a sparkle on your nose?

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most perfect one of all?

Present Self meets Future Self: You were right

Love and marriage

🎶 Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage …. 🎶 We all remember the infamous theme song to the hit sitcom Married with Children. Not exactly the greatest depiction of true love and a strong marriage – or was it? With so many romantic movies, books and tv shows skewing our perspective on what a happy marriage should look like, it’s no wonder why so many couples are finding themselves unhappy.

I recently read a blog post entitled “Marriage isn’t for you” written by Seth Adam Smith. He eloquently wrote about his personal experience and perspective on marriage, as he reflected on the advice given to him by his father. To paraphrase and simplify, he basically stated that marriage isn’t for you. It is for the person you love. It is a selfless act, to show your partner how you can love them, make them better, be there for them. It was a beautiful admission and reflection of how we often find ourselves in a selfish state, wondering what’s in it for me?

It resonated deeply with me, as I could relate to him on many levels. Being married for over 10 years and 2 kids later, I have found myself experience the many moods of marriage. The bliss, excitement, and passion of the early years – to the routine, stress, and frustration of the latter years. With such a sharp contrast in emotions, it is no wonder why so many couples find themselves feeling a lack or void as they transition through the different stages of life.

If we look at how we operate when we first meet someone or first get married, we will see how fully engrossed we were in the selfless acts of pleasing our partners. I can recall constantly thinking about my husband first; what he liked, how I could make him feel loved, how I could make him happy. And he in turn, did the same for me. But somewhere along the line, amidst the juggling of kids and work – and if you’re lucky, squeezing in time for date nights and me-time – we lost focus of what was important; what made the marriage blissful to begin with. I admittedly found myself selfishly asking, ” what’s in it for me?”. And it was in those moments that I felt a void; a missing. It’s not to say that there wasn’t love, because there always has been. But when we are in the selfish state of asking “what about me?, What’s in it for me?”, we stop selflessly giving and thus, we stop receiving. We break the synergy; the ebb and flow of marriage. Like many couples, we had forgotten that in order to receive love, we first must give it.

As I read Seth’s blog, I was reminded that the key to a happy marriage is to trust, love and give selflessly to your partner, while in turn trusting and receiving the same from them. In love, we find marriage. And through marriage, we find love.

Love and marriage. (Reblog)

A beautiful perspective of love and marriage. So heartfelt, and honest. They say if you stay married long enough, you will go through just about everything a couple can go through. I’ve been blessed to have married a man who was my best friend first. It’s been over 10 years and 2 beautiful children later and like most couples, it’s fair to say that we have had our ups and downs. Every couple reaches points where their love and view on marriage become “selfish” (to quote Seth). Happy to have this blog post to read and re-read during those times to remind me where my focus should be. Hoping every married couple out there reads this blog post. Xo

Seth Adam Smith

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. 🙂 I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each…

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The Forgetful Tooth Fairy

Getting ready to leave the house, my daughter runs out of the kitchen yelling “Mommy, Mommy. I lost my tooth!” as she proudly displays one of her molars in her hand. “Awww, that’s awesome baby! Look how quickly you are growing up!” I reply. She grins and happily hands over her tooth.

As I’m wrapping it up in a Tissue so that she can place it under her pillow, I’m thinking two things to myself. First, what am I going to start doing with all these teeth? Growing up, my parents kept them hidden away in a box. Sentimental I suppose. Although I can recall the day I accidentally found them. I was both confused (why would the tooth fairy leave them here?) and slightly grossed out. There is nothing pretty about seeing a box full of teeth, albeit some were wrapped in tissue, but still…

The second thought on my mind was “You better not forget to leave money this time!” Yep. I’m guilty. It’s only ever happened once, but I will never forget the morning my daughter woke up and came running into the room looking sad because the tooth fairy had forgotten her. My heart sank, and I immediately jumped into “Mommy will save this” mode. As she jumped in our bed, I gave a signal to my husband to distract her. I calmly got up, grabbed $20 from my wallet (a lot I know, but it was all I had) and asked my daughter if she wanted me to help her look and that maybe she missed it somehow. She quickly jumped up and followed me to her room.

I started lifting her pillows, moving her sheets, and essentially creating enough distraction so that I could discreetly drop the $20 behind the bed. “Have you looked on the floor?” I asked. “Maybe you accidentally knocked it off the bed while you were sleeping?” She crouched down, screamed with delight and happily retrieved her $20. *phew*. Well played mommy. Well played.

After that incident, I swore I would never forget again. Walking to her room today, I reminded myself of that previous incident and once again swore that tonight, I would not forget. That evening I lay down next to my daughter while she happily checked under her pillow to ensure the tooth was still there. And I happily remembered that the tooth fairy would be making a visit, before we both drifted off to sleep.

I must have walked back to my room half asleep because the next thing I realized, I was in my bed, it was 3am and a wave of anxiety came over me. Not again! Up I got, tip-toeing in the dark, trying to recall where my purse was. Walking over to my dresser, stubbing my toe (%#*!) trying to remain calm, but wondering who the heck created this silly idea of a tooth fairy anyway, I eventually find my purse only this time, I wasn’t so lucky. Opening my wallet, I had zero cash. Maybe a few quarters, but that’s it. So I did what any mother would do. I tip-toed to my sons room, and shamefully raided his piggy bank.

Feeling relieved to have found $5, I immediately grabbed it and crawled out of his room, feeling as close to a ninja as I ever have. I quietly approached my daughters bed, thankful that she was sound asleep. I made the switch and off I went, back to my room, wondering when the day will come, that I can give up this whole tooth fairy gig.

Morning quickly came, as I heard the eager footsteps of my daughter approach my bed. She’s grinning from ear to ear and proudly holding up her reward for losing a tooth. I see the look of pure joy on her face and in the back of my mind, I re-commit to the tooth fairy, at least for one more year.

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