Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ode to Steve Jobs

The evening of the day that Steve Jobs died, Wednesday, October 5th, 2011, as I was putting my son to sleep with stories and snuggles, I told him to remember this name: Steve Jobs. I told him to remember that no matter what challenges he may face, he has everything in him that is required to change the world. He said the name over and over again. Because of some damage caused to his brain as a result of the Epilepsy that he lives with or because of the meds that he takes to control it (we’re not entirely sure), he struggles to remember things. I may have to remind him now and then. And I will. And he will eventually be able to remember it on his own.
The next morning, I shared this post on my Facebook profile wall:
This day is dedicated to hunger and foolishness.. 
That day began for Jazir and I with a short seizure in the morning, which he described as his “head twitching a bit”. I had an ominous feeling and resolved to stay tuned in to my Spidey senses even more than usual. I gave him breakfast, settled him under some blankets watching Toopy and Binoo and let him know I was about to take my shower and would come and check on him in a bit. It’s sort of a normal routine for us on days that we don’t have to ready him for school that I go about doing my thing while he does his thing. As I was running the water for the shower, a feeling came over me.. Jazir is having a seizure. I KNEW it. I went downstairs to find him merrily munching on his breakfast and watching is favourite critters on TV. Strange. It’s unusual for my instincts to be wrong when the message in my body is so resoundingly clear.
On about my business I went, checking on him periodically as always and getting us ready to head to Toronto for a Chiropractic appointment and healing energy treatment. When I came downstairs again with his clothes in hand, ready to get him dressed, I found him contorted in his chair and unable to speak. Seeing him like this is not out of the ordinary for us. Knowing that he was there suffering that horrible feeling and the terror that he has told me comes with it all alone wrenched my heart and my gut and my mind and brought me to sobbing tears in the flash of an instant. “I’m so sorry Jaz. I’m so sorry baby. I’m so sorry you were alone… “ words were tumbling out of my mouth. He came back after a few minutes with that punch-drunk look he gets after a severe seizure and asking why I was crying. He fidgeted and fussed and wandered and climbed onto and off of the chair across the room as his body attempted to reorganize itself once again. He then asked to lie down and for his favourite blanket and closed his eyes to sleep it off for a bit. I’d gotten the right message; it had just come a few minutes too soon. I yelled at The Universe. I’m not certain whether or not my message was received.
Shortly afterward, when I’d collected all that we needed for our trip, I settled him into the car and set off for Toronto. He slept most of the way and felt yucky when he was awake. He was cooperative and as brave as ever in the hands of his Chiropractor. He has spent so much of his life in the hands of medical professionals he has learned well how to “sit still Jaz”, “stand still for just a few minutes Jaz”, “lie still while the doctor tries to help you Jaz”.. through more poking and prodding and seeking and scanning than a child his age should ever have to endure. His courage and his wisdom never cease to amaze me.
Right at the very end of the session and from what I believe was the beginning of unblocking the blocked energy in his upper spine, he seized again for a full three minutes. That’s a pretty long time. At the five minute mark the instruction is to administer Ativan and to call 911 to avoid him entering what is called Status Epilepticus, a state in which a patient enters a seizure and never comes out. I feared that we would reach that mark this time. I still had no way of knowing how long the morning seizure had lasted because I had been out of the room. That excruciating awareness still lingered on my skin.
We finished up, collected our belongings, set another appointment and I carried him back to the car, grey in the face and dopey. He complained again of feeling yucky and said he, “just wanted to go home”. I left him with his dad and made my way back to Kingston, sad and disheartened yet hopeful still. Ever the optimist.
That evening I decided I needed to just get out of the house a while. I wanted to step outside of all of the responsibility and just rest my mind a bit. I opted for a glass of wine at my favourite local resto and settled in at the bar with a pad and paper to ponder menu ideas for an upcoming event. The fellow next to me struck up a conversation and it was fun to engage in that, hearing about someone else’s life. Shortly after that, a friend entered the room and joined some pals at the bar just two seats down from me. We’d been flirting quite a bit recently and I was pleased to see him. The thought of a bit of mutual ego-stroking and desirous attention was enough to allow me to forget some of the trials of the day for a while. The evening carried on. I’ll allow your imagination to fill in the rest.
The following day still riding an endorphin buzz and in a bit of a sleep-deprived and dehydrated haze, I sent a message to him that didn’t hit the mark I had hoped it would. It was a bad judgment call on my part but one that originated in a good intention. So, just as quickly as our fun little foray had begun, it ended. I felt stung and humiliated. In fact, I still do. This little thing we had going on held the promise of being an enjoyable way to periodically get respite from an otherwise stressful existence. There was relief in that possibility. And in one fell swoop, I had destroyed any hope of that. Having waited so long for even a glint of that kind of connection, it was a bitter pill to have to swallow. Worse still, the only person I could be pissed at was myself.
Sometimes.. I over-think things. I’m too sensitive. I over-analyze things. I get my messages mixed up. I think I know people better than I do. I jump to dumb conclusions. I falter. I embarrass myself. I screw up. Who doesn’t, right?
I abhor making dumb mistakes. I can handle making a mistake. But, making a dumb, I-knew-better-than-to-do-that kind of mistake doesn't bode well with me at all. Growing up in my house, mistakes weren’t really an option. As such, I still struggle with letting them go when I make them. I stew over them. That’s what I’ve been doing all day.. berating myself a little. Not flogging.. just berating. I’m not as hard on myself as I once was.
Then.. just now.. I got thinking (all I’ve been doing all damned day is thinking!).. if my day was dedicated to hunger and foolishness, did I not do precisely what I had committed to doing? Did I not act on my hunger? Yes, I did. And did I not allow myself to be foolish? Yes, I did. And did I not learn something valuable in the process? Yes, I did.
And so.. does it matter that I screwed it up? Does it really matter that something that had no future to begin with came to a grinding halt before it got to get really juicy and fun? Not really, no. The anticipation leading up to the moment had been delicious and I had savoured every moment. The moment itself was gratifying and just exactly what I’d needed at that precise point in time. And even if my overthinking, overspeaking self caused it all to prematurely crash and burn.. really, what difference does it make in the bigger picture? None. I have bigger matters to focus on and much more to be grateful for than not.
My conclusion and my wish for myself and that which I commit to demonstrating daily to my son is this: regardless of the pain and humiliation that may come with life’s harder lessons, may I never lose my hunger for living fully and completely engaged nor my willingness to be foolish..  
“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
 Thank you Steve Jobs.. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Whatever It Takes..

There are folks among my network of family and friends that would think me crazy for putting myself “out there” like this. They believe that there’s always someone waiting to take advantage of vulnerability or to exploit weaknesses. They would have me believe that I must always present publicly as though I’m totally together and that “there’s nothing to see here”.
I disagree.
I am here to lead you as a coach and mentor, to help you to achieve your greatest success by sharing with you the tools and methods that have worked for me. I’m also here to share the tools of others from whom I have learned and continue to learn, to direct you onward to them or enlist them to help us both should a problem arise that I feel ill-equipped to address. I don’t know everything. I can’t. It’s not possible. And to act as though I do and give you false information is far more detrimental to your growth and success than it is for me to be willing to say the words, “I don’t know.”
One of my mentors has a saying, “Leaders flash first”, which is something that I have chosen to live by within my own leadership. How can I possibly expect you to follow me anywhere that I have not already been myself or that I am not willing to go right alongside you? Would you follow a guide into the Australian Outback who’d never been there before? Heck no! That would be nuts!
Each of the challenges I ask you to face, I have faced personally. Each of the obstacles I ask you to overcome, I have overcome personally. Each of the demons I ask you to stare down and conquer, I have stared down and conquered personally. I will never ask anything of you that I have not done or am not willing to do myself.
I believe that it’s incredibly important to stay human. Always. We MUST be human with one another. It is essential to our individual health and happiness and to that of our communities, our tribes if you will—for we ARE a tribal culture and we do not thrive when we attempt to take on the world all alone. I want you to know that you are not alone. It’s important for you to be able to relate to me if you are going to trust me with your process of transformation and growth.
To change oneself can be one of the most terrifying things a person chooses to undertake. It takes courage. It also takes faith. In order for you to have faith in me, you must be able to relate to me on one level or another. I must stay human in order for you to remember that I too am fallible, I too have weaknesses and rough days and experience times when I want to just toss it all in the air and crawl back into bed. I need you to know that I still cry tears of frustration and self-pity now and again so that you don’t feel weak when those moments arise for you, so that you remember that from your vulnerability you will grow and emerge stronger and wiser than before; your greatest mistakes will give way to your most magnificent achievements.
I am asking you to embark on an incredible journey. I am asking you to be willing to get messy before you get sorted out. I am asking you to understand that taking your health into your own hands is about more than just drinking a couple of protein shakes a day and choking down a handful of supplements. This is about YOU defining you. This is about you writing yourself into a new story. This is about you being the author of your own success in EVERY area of your life.
You see, one of the things I learned in my Gestalt Psychotherapy training that really stuck with me is this: how you do ONE thing is how you do EVERYTHING.  
If you’re not taking very good care of your Self, physically, emotionally, spiritually, ask yourself where else that is showing up in your life. How are you treating your intimate relationship? Your relationship with your kids? Your relationship with money? Typically, if a problem exists in one area of your life it also exists in other areas. It may be loosely disguised as a different issue, but I’d BET that if you dug a little deeper you’d discover that the same patterns and habits that are contributing to your less-than-perfect health are contributing to other less-than-perfect circumstances in your life.
The good news?
If you change one area of your life, you change them all. If you change one relationship (most importantly the one with your Self) you change them all. When you change, the world has no choice but to change in response. It can no longer interact with you as your old self because you no longer ARE your old self. This is when you truly begin to understand accountability and how you truly ARE 100% accountable for each and every moment in your life. YOU define your own happiness or lack thereof.
I learned this “How you do everything.. “ in Gestalt and it is a mantra that has shown up over and over again since that time, most recently in each and every one of my Isagenix training experiences, only proving to me that I am in exactly the place that I belong in my life in this moment. I trust these things beyond a shadow of a doubt. I have learned to trust my instincts, to trust the signs that show up all around me and to trust the process. And, now I am asking you to trust me only if I have proven myself trustworthy, but to trust yourself implicitly, trust the wisdom that brought you here and trust the process that will get you through.
You may, by now, be asking yourself,  When does she get to the part about putting herself out there?”
The answer?
As you step into this experience with me and allow me to serve as your guide, it will be tempting for you to make up excuses and stories about how and why you cannot do it. It will be tempting for you to look at me and think or say, “She’s so together, she’s so happy, she’s so strong, she’s so _______________ (fill in the blank)” in order to let yourself off the hook and fail to achieve your goal. I want you to hear me when I say, LOUD and CLEAR that if that’s what you’re thinking, you’re wrong. At least partly.
The truth is that NOW I am pretty together. I am incredibly happy. I am stronger than most people you know. And I do have a whole lot going for me. But, those things haven’t always been true. I’ve been where you are and, in some cases, far, far worse places. I have been weighed down, miserable, addicted, depressed, suicidal, anxious, riddled with insecurity, angry..really, really angry, irresponsible, dishonest, self-destructive.. shall I go on? Instead, why don’t I offer you a glimpse into the way things used to be?
Take a moment to read this blog post: That Was Then
Now, I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time getting into all of the gory details. I prefer not to direct my energy and attention toward negativity. Suffice it to say, those weren’t the happiest years of my life. That said, here and now, I am willing to be COMPLETELY transparent with you. All you need to do is ask. I will tell you EVERY gory detail if it will help you to see that you too can overcome whatever struggle you may be facing and come out whole and happy on the other side.
You want to know what it’s like to lay face-down in a prescription drug overdose coma for two days and awaken still angry at the trigger that put you there? I’ll share the details as best as I can remember. You want to know what Toronto’s underground drug culture is like? I’ll share my experience of that too (without revealing the names of others I spent time with there). You want to know how it feels to wake up one day and realize that you have ostracized the very people that love you the most and that have been desperately trying to help you, leaving them ill-prepared to do so when you really need them? I can tell you just how much that hurt—me and them.
I’d prefer to inspire you from where I am now.
My point is, I’ll do whatever it takes.
My question is, will you?

Friday, July 15, 2011

To Whom Are You Telling Your Story?

So, since we last met here on blogsot MUCH has transpired and changed. That extra weight I was carrying? GONE! Literally and figuratively.

I've moved to a new house with more space for my son and I to live the life we love, changed my habits, stopped whining, stopped complaining, stopped making excuses, stopped procrastinating, stopped expecting sheer perfection from myself (though my standards of performance remain incredibly high).



Just as though a magic wand was waved over my life: RESULTS!

Best of all, I haven't been in a bad mood in weeks. And, believe me, there were lots of opportunities. Nothing has changed with respect to life carrying on, doing what it does, presenting challenges and frustrations on a daily basis.

But, I have changed.

And my changing changed everything else.

Shortly after my last post, I began my process of doing what needed to be done. I had KNOWN for months, years even. I just hadn't "gotten around to it" Not long after that, I committed to a six-week training call with eight other peers in my Isagenix business led by my friend and mentor Susan Sly. Within that commitment, I dedicated myself to zero complaining, zero excuses, 100% accountability.

Guess what?

When you cannot complain, when you cannot make excuses (why or why not), when you cannot reason, explain, justify, nullify, villify.. your way out of a situation you have a WHOLE lot more energy for just getting on with it.

Guess what else?

It's IMPOSSIBLE to be in a bad mood!

With nobody and nothing to blame or shame for how things are or are not turning out, this amazing acceptance materializes along with an ability to see the situation for what it is, assume that everything happens for a reason and that there is a logical explanation for it all and course-correct toward a solution. I am filled to overflowing with gratitude. Every. Single. Moment. Every. Single. Day.

Magic? Something like that. It's a decision. Period.

Within this time I've taken particlar note of the stories I've been hearing from others. I have always noticed them on one level or another as I am infinitely fascinated by my fellow humans and their biographies. Lately though, I've been paying particular attention to the "why I can't be happy" stories, which include any number of reasons (ahem: EXCUSES) as to why life should stay stuck and stagnant and unsatisfying for just a little bit longer.. until there's more money, until there's more time, until some ex-spouse finally steps up to his responsibility (though he hasn't done so in twenty years, he's about to any day now), until the Moon and Jupiter and Venus and Mars line up at a precise astrological angle..

If you have a story like that I have a news flash for you. It AIN'T gonna happen! Or it might, but by then you'll have waited too long, made too many excuses and lost too much precious time.

There is only now.


That is all you get.

Right. Now.

I live my life as it is: one, extended, ongoing excellent adventure. 

My story?

I'm happy. Blissfully, it-outta-be-illegal-it-feels-so-good happy. I'm fulfilled. I'm grateful. I'm loved and full of love to give. Every moment is a delightful surprise. I notice the small things and celebrate them. I tell the people that I love that I love them. Every chance I get. And I don't make excuses for why things aren't working. I figure out why not and make them work.

My story?

I'm living the life of my dreams one day at a time and opportunities present themselves each and every one of those days that continue to make it possible for those dreams to come true.

My story?

I'm the author. And believe me when I tell you, the coming chapters are set to be even better than the last.

Will you tell me your story?

In health and beauty and all things magic-filled..

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Skinny Bitch..

I’m skinny. Correction: I’m thin. So, most people make a screwy face at me when I tell them I need to lose weight. I’m careful not to say it around other women most of the time because they make a face like they want to kill me. I’m 5’3” and weigh anywhere between 128 lbs. and 134 lbs. depending upon the day, time of day, my mood, water retention (closely linked to my mood), weather patterns, the position of the moon..
So, why does a woman, nearly 41 years old, who has given birth, is freakishly strong and relatively fit and who maintains a weight only 10 to 15 lbs. heavier than her high school weight believe she needs to lose those extra pounds? Because 8 to 10 of them are made up of bullshit. That’s why.
I am a mesomorph, which means I’m blessed with a body that maintains lean muscle mass and definition without doing much (if anything) at all to maintain it. It was my gift from God. Well, one of  them. Frankly, I feel rather blessed on many counts. Consequently, growing up with a perfect little size 5 body (trust me, that was small before there was such a thing as -1) that was, if not ripped, certainly toned about as tightly as it could be, I never developed any work ethic around maintaining it. It was free so I didn’t work to keep it. See.. you don’t value things you don’t earn. You just expect them to always be there.
Now, approaching my 41st birthday in July, I’m in what I would consider to be an intense process of (deep) internal transformation. Within that I’m attempting to exorcise once and for all the last vestiges of victim that are clinging to my insides for dear life. Being a victim is boring. It keeps you stuck. It lets you off the hook over and over again but it doesn’t get you anywhere other than continuously spinning on a hamster-wheel that should have hit the dumpster a decade (or more) ago.
I am an entrepreneur by nature and have recently been blessed (again!) with the opportunity to become a part of a phenomenal organization that I am incredibly proud to be affiliated with and which grants me every possibility for bringing my every dream to life—even the ones that at one time seemed unattainable. There is nothing that is unattainable. Nothing. That said, there is effort that must go into reaching those soaring heights. Nothing comes for free. As I stated above: one doesn’t value things that one doesn’t earn. So I am working for and earning my dreams as they come. And it feels good. Better than good, it feels incredible. It feels like every day is filled with magic. That’s a feeling that I believe everyone ought to be experiencing in their life at all times. I certainly have no plans to the contrary.
And… right now.. I’m a bit stuck. At a plateau. Having a battle with my former self who is hell-bent on convincing me that I can’t do it, don’t deserve it and so on and so on--that nagging, whiny little brat--because if I achieve it, she dies. The survival instinct is the most powerful. She's fighting HARD to stay alive. She needs to know.. I’m going to win this one.
Part of my work-plan, part of what is essential to me for getting there.. potentially, in fact, the most important part of me getting there is my own self-care, my commitment to SELF above all else. Now that may seem contradictory for someone that intends to live a life largely in service to others. But, you see, I cannot be available to them if I am not first available to myself. Being my very best me requires strength and endurance and an unyielding will to keep going even on the days when my belief waivers. Not only that, I’m striving to educate others about health and wellness and coach them through their own bog and smog to a life of abundance. I must be the poster child for that life. Key components to the plan are nutrition, which I have covered—I am wholly committed to my lifestyle of wellness through nutrition—and fitness, and that’s where I keep slacking off.
I am aware (because I have been coached into this awareness) that my physiology will shape my psychology. If I am trapped in my body-armour of defense, self-pity and inertia, I am just that—trapped. I cannot mobilize my dreams into action from such a place. And alllllllll that’s required is action. And it’s not even difficult action much of the time. It’s simple action. I know EXCACLTY what I need to do. And if I WERE doing the very things that I need to do to get un-stuck and kick this little internal victim brat to the curb once and for all, I can just about guarantee you, those muffin-top causing, make-my-jeans-too-tight frustrating final 8 to 10 pounds of Samsonite luggage that I’ve been carrying around, despite the overweight surcharge that I’m paying every day I don’t do something about it, would melt away as though they were never there.
It’s not about vanity (okay, there is a tiny piece of it that’s about vanity), it’s about being true to me first.
I can’t be a leader if I’m not even willing to follow myself.
Lightning Dove Over and Out

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sacred friendship..

You mightn't know it necessarily. If you log onto my Facebook profile, you'll see I have 1080 'friends'. One might jump to the conclusion that a girl with so many 'friends' is unlikely to place much value on friendship. You may assume that friendship is something I toss off like a spare coin, carelessly, to anyone shooting off a request.

Quite the contrary.. though I DO sincerely value each of those 1080 connections for their myriad possibilities and the big and small ways that they enrich my life, friendship, real friendship, to me, is rare and precious and sacred.. If you don't really know much ABOUT me then it's unlikely you really KNOW how true that is OF me.

I believe friendship manifests in a variety of ways. Each starts with a seed. Much the way a plant differs from a tree, each grows at its own unique pace, one taking many, many years to develop and unfurl and another sprouting up with the passion and exuberance of a zealous weed. Neither is more or less a friendship. None is necessarily more or less valuable, more or less revered. Each has its perfect qualities and characteristics making it like no other that has come before or will ever come again.

Frienship is chemistry.

Friendship is magic.

Friendship is a subtle, nearly inexplicable DNA-level response.

Friendship is a deep and spiritual connection with another, an exchange of energy, an opportunity to learn and grow and support. In encountering friendship in another we are magnetized by the qualities that we have yet to fully realize within ourselves or that we have disowned and must learn to reintegrate, though we may have no awareness of the unawakened need. A friend provides support, sometimes in very quiet and subtle ways, other times with much more of a sledgehammer-over-the-head, tough-love approach, in precisely the places we need it until we learn and shift and expand and awaken, later requiring different support in a different way or having it to offer in return. It is infinitely reciprocal. It is eternally giving and receiving.

When I make the choice to give of myself in friendship, sacred friendship from where it originates in the deepest recesses of my heart, it is with the utmost reverence and in the truest, simplest and most pristine form of love.

Once I have granted you access to that place in my heart, you will forevermore find a home there. I will carry you with me always. You will have come into my life and I will have allowed you in. You will have touched my soul and changed me. Forever.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Every detail was so vivid that morning..

He stood there at the corner of King and Dufferin amidst the morning commuters with their iPods, lattes and frustrated expressions. I observed him from my vantage point on the King Streetcar. He shook visibly. His jacket was just a bit too big, his pants a bit too short, his shoes worn and misshapen by another man's feet. Though his hands struggled to cooperate, his face was set with determination as he fought to open the slippery plastic packaging of a five-dollar ice cream bar. It may have taken him hours to beg the money toward its purchase. The juxtaposition was striking: pure decadence clutched in a trembling hand against a backdrop of need. I wondered what had been the last thing that he'd eaten and how long it had been.

There was a desperation about his eyes and I noted my own sense of panic, so afraid that, after all of his effort, he would drop the bar to the sidewalk without ever savouring a bite. Time was suspended while I watched, silently cheering him to victory.

And there it was.

The defiant hands overtaken.

The slick packaging conquered.

The ice cream revealed.

Even before he allowed himself his indulgence he reached to discard the plastic wrapper in the trash bin next to him. It was the sort that is divided into three separate receptacles for trash, plastic and paper. An elderly woman approached to dispose of her own litter in the same moment and from the scowl on her face it was apparent that she was scolding him for placing his garbage where the bottles belonged. She was oblivious to the struggle that had let up to the moment. She had no idea that getting the wrapper into the bin at all was a coup.

She was clearly perturbed.

He stared back in disbelief, the reward of his efforts slighted by her anger.

He turned from her and took the first bite he had been so painfully anticipating.

I wondered if it tasted as good as he had hoped.



A lemon yellow Lady Macbeth
Her smile fills a room
While she thinks about death
And seeks out a soul to consume
In the room
A lemon yellow chair sitting there
And in it hides a lock of his hair
And the lady ponders on about death
In the gloom
Of the evening there’s the sound of her breath
And she fears not this thing they call death
And she won’t be beholden to doom
And she basks in the light of the moon
In her town
Where the crazy circus world spins around
In her head
Where the Candyman tells her that she’s already dead
Where the fat lady sings
And the supper bell rings
Where lions and tigers and grotesquely pretty things
Live for the spotlight
And the warmth that it brings
And the lock of his hair
Is still hiding there
In a lemon yellow chair for Macbeth

author: Lara Marjerrison
circa: April 17, 2009