Create A Chrysalis, Transform Your Life

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“New moon’s kick-ass list: feel the feels, release your pain, get present, be grateful, ask for help, pray, make change your greatest ally, allow every chapter to reveal a new superpower, set your own pace, don’t worry about “time”, stop competing and belittling, walk the path of your own authentic heart, love how you wanna be loved, relax into your life, travel inward to places you haven’t been before, forgive and cut chords, be patient and dedicated to your higher self, and remember to sparkle, bro. That’s it.”  – Tanya Markul (Thug Unicorn)

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ― Maya Angelou

As I sit here typing this on my laptop, there is a warm golden sunbeam shining on me through my front window.  I am snuggled on my antique couch I scored dirt cheap and I’m wrapped in an insanely soft leopard print throw blanket I just snagged for a double-discount. I’m sipping the perfect cup of coffee made just how I like it. Comfort and serenity does not require a 5 star resort, or day at the spa.  It can be created within your own living space and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune, in fact, it shouldn’t. Keeping it simple and affordable will keep the emphasis on meaningfulness and authenticity which will make you feel more satisfied with your creation in the long run.

I have come to recognize through my own commitment to personal growth and doing the work of intentionally transforming my life into what I want it to be, that our environment can be incredibly helpful to us. Doing the work of getting to the core of who we truly are through balancing the mind, body and spirit, is definitely a joyful and meaningful process, but let’s face it, it’s sometimes also painful. Facing your fears, healing old wounds and pushing personal boundaries can be uncomfortable, lonely and scary.  It’s also a daily challenge to stay inspired and motivated and not slink back into unhealthy lifestyles and old destructive patterns. Like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly, our own transformation leaves us vulnerable, sensitive and feeling raw. Taking our cues from the all knowing wisdom of Mother Nature, we too require a protective chrysalis when we intend to transform ourselves. The good news, is that this doesn’t need to be a difficult task and the gains can be quite literally life changing.

While we are limited by only 5 well-developed senses, they are powerful tools that can help put us into the right mindset for personal improvement. Maybe you would like to spend more time meditating, doing yoga, dancing, reading, journaling or just taking a rejuvenating nap. By intentionally creating a space within our home that ignites peaceful feelings within us, we make it easier for ourselves to commit to doing those things we love that are so transformative. Just the simple act of filling a small space with things that make us feel good is a start. Once your eyes are happy, maybe some tranquil music or a little trickling fountain will provide the right sound healing. Make yourself some tea or hot cocoa to warm up your tastebuds. Put on some clothes that feel really good on your skin, light a candle for ambiance and wrap yourself in your coziest blanket. Now that you’re feeling wonderful, take the whole space to the next level by appealing to your sense of smell. Often overlooked, our sense of smell is incredibly powerful and is significantly linked to memory. Many of us have experienced memories triggered by certain smells and we are continually creating new memories linked to new scents all the time. So, why not intentionally choose to introduce scents into your mind/body/spirit practices that you will learn to associate with peacefulness, tranquility and your own personal evolution?

I have recently been introduced to Brie’s Botanicals, which have become a go-to, to immediately boost my mood and make my home feel like a haven. There is something so simple yet powerful in the experience of returning home from a hectic day and being greeted by a comfort-inducing scent like their Holiday Spice Air Freshener, or Festive Forest Oil Blend. I give myself and my pillows a spritz of Lavender Love Mist (hair, body, face and pillow spray) before I go to sleep each night, and it feels luxurious. My kids now ask for me to spray their pillows with I Love You to the Moon Mist, or Serenity when I tuck them into bed, because it helps them fall asleep. Every day when we return home from school pick up, they say “it smells so good in here!”. That is a little piece of happiness! Brie’s Botanicals are a simple and affordable way to make a real and immediate impact on your feelings of well being. Arriving home and getting to spend time in your self-created space should be therapeutic, comforting and a joy you look forward to. Our home should be our sanctuary where we are able to lighten our heavy load, recover and recharge.

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Here’s the best part, Brie’s Botanicals are made with 100% pure, all-natural essential oils, spring water and are charged with Reiki, as Brie Henderson, the product creator is also a Certified Reiki Master and Yoga Instructor . All of Brie’s Botanicals are biodegradable, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral and CHEMICAL FREE! It’s no wonder their Multi-Purpose Cleaner and Om Shanti Yoga Mat Cleaner are customer favourites! I’m particularly enamored by their Gem Infused Mists which each have different gemstones inside (eg. quartz, rose quartz, moonstone, green aventurine, amethyst, etc.) that are purposefully chosen for each of their different blends. Soon to become treasures for my kids when it’s time for a re-fill! To top it off, Brie’s Botanicals are committed to being environmentally, ethically, and socially responsible. You can return your used bottles for a $1 discount off of new purchases. Wait, it gets better! They are a locally-made Winnipeg company! You can order directly from their website here, or find their products at their partner businesses throughout Winnipeg!

Do yourself a favour and get familiar with the transformative powers of Brie’s Botanicals! I promise you, they will be a welcome addition to your daily rituals inside your intentionally created chrysalis space and they’ll make it just that little bit easier to get down to the business of transforming yourself into the best possible version of you!

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Michael Sanders, Electric Monk Media

STYLING, HAIR, MAKEUP & ARTISTIC DIRECTION: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Patron of Dreams

Special note: The painting in these photos was created by my two sons Lief and Finnley, my Husband Gregory, and I all together on the beach last summer. We captured the process which is included in a previous blog post The Art of Life.

MUSIC *S.O.S (since 1962)

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Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to                                                                                                              get through this thing called life. *1                               

What have they done to the earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
And tied her with fences and dragged her down
I hear a very gentle sound
With your ear down to the ground
We want the world and we want it
We want the world and we want it now *2

And when the broken-hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer
Let it be

For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, Let it be *3

How many ears must one person have
Before he can hear people cry?
And how many deaths will it take ’till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friends, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind *4                        

So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through                                                                            Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes Turn and face the strange Ch-ch-changes *5

Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Mmm, mmm, mmm
Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older and I’m getting older too *6

Well, I won’t back down
No, I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won’t back down
No, I’ll stand my ground
Won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
Gonna stand my ground *7

Let’s get together to fight this Holy Armageddon (One Love!)
So when the Man comes there will be no, no doom (One Song!)
Have pity on those whose chances grows thinner
There ain’t no hiding place from the Father of Creation. Sayin’: “One Love”!                                                                                        What about the One Heart? (One Heart!) What about the – ? Let’s get together and feel all right. I’m pleadin’ to mankind! (One Love!) *8

Lay down your funky weapon, come join us on the floor
Making love and music’s the only things worth fighting for
We are the new power generation, we want to change the world. *9

But it’s been no bed of roses, no pleasure cruise. I consider it a challenge before the whole human race, and I ain’t gonna lose. We are the champions, my friends.                       And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end. We are the champions. We are the champions.                                                                                                                            No time for losers ‘Cause we are the champions of the world. *10

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one *11

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change
You gotta get it right, while you got the time
Cause when you close your heart
Then you close your mind *12

*1 PRINCE (Let’s Go Crazy 1984)

*2 THE DOORS (When the Music’s Over 1967)

*3 THE BEATLES (Let it Be 1970)

*4 BOB DYLAN (Blowin’ in The Wind 1962)

*5 DAVID BOWIE (Changes 1971)

*6 STEVIE NICKS (Landslide 1973)

*7 TOM PETTY (I Won’t Back Down 1989)

*8 BOB MARLEY (One Love 1977)

*9 PRINCE (New Power Generation 1990)

*10 FREDDIE MERCURY (We are The Champions 1977)

*11 JOHN LENNON (Imagine 1971)

*12 MICHAEL JACKSON (Man in the Mirror 1987) patron_stvital-8137patron_stvital-8118patron_stvital-7946patron_stvital-7981patron_stvital-8040patron_stvital-8158patron_stvital-8011patron_stvital-8286patron_stvital-8362patron_stvital-8061patron_stvital-7958patron_stvital-8127patron_stvital-8049patron_stvital-8300patron_stvital-8213

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Michael Sanders, Electric Monk Media

STYLING, MODELING, HAIR & MAKEUP BY: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Patron of Dreams

CONTEMPORARY FASHION: Booties from Rooster. Sunglasses from Urban Waves

VINTAGE FASHION: Denim bellbottoms from Vintage Glory.  Vintage military hat from Antiques and Funk.  Vintage velvet Indian caftan from Shakti.  

*S.O.S = Save Our Souls

 

Warrior of Diversity

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“Human diversity makes tolerance more than a virtue; it makes it a requirement for survival.” –Rene Dubos

“Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one”
John Lennon, Imagine

“Whatever you are physically…male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy–all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside.”
Cassandra Clare

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It’s okay to be different.  It’s okay to be an individual.  It’s okay to be these things because there is no such thing as being completely the same as anyone else.  We all have similarities and things that we have in common with one another, but there are no two people on planet earth that are exactly the same.  Even identical twins have differences. We are, by nature of being human, very diverse. Each one of us is a complex combination of various traits.Yet, it seems deeply ingrained within humanity to attempt to categorize and label one another so that we know where each other fits within the puzzle of belonging. It tricks us into feeling safe and secure. I know who and what you are, therefore I know where I stand in relation to you.  Unfortunately, this always seems to result in an over simplification of one another and inevitably results in us deciding whether another human being belongs with us, or with them. We focus on the differences so emphatically which leads us to take sides, choose teams, we exclude, we ridicule and we reject, until we have separated ourselves from each other so efficiently, that we as people, loose the ability to see past the labels and categories to the essence of sameness that lies underneath.  The sameness, that is ultimately, our individuality and difference.  It’s a conundrum.  We are all different from each other in some way, yet our focusing on the differences instead of the similarities is what divides us and leads to separation at best and hate towards each other at worst.

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Let’s look at the past. If we look back throughout history to the beginning of humanity, we can see a pattern. People began living within small groups or communities with a basic set of rules and values that everyone agreed on and followed, until an individual had a different idea or opinion.  This created conflict within the group if one person, or a few people were not willing to conform.  Often, this led to that individual or individuals, being rejected by the community and they became outcasts.  Quite literally, they were kicked out, or they left of their own volition.  If their ideas were so different that no one agreed with them and went with them, they would often parish, and their ideas would parish along with them. If a few people agreed with them and were brave enough to leave the larger group, this led to the development of another separate community that represented new ideas.  This pattern has repeated over and over and over and created a diverse human civilization. When we look back at history, we can clearly see that the world is not the same as it was in the 1800’s, 1930’s, 1960’s, 1990’s, etc.  Every new generation has new ideas, new values and new dreams about how they want to the world to be.  If history has taught us anything, it is that the old ways die out and the new ways determine the future of humanity.  If you want to know where the world is going, whether you like it or not, look to the youth of your community. Look to the new ideas and values. Whether you agree with change and evolution or not, history has shown us that it is inevitable.

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When we look back at human evolution, it becomes clear where we got the idea that being different, or not conforming was bad. It often lead to conflict and separation.  It meant being rejected and having to survive on your own.  It meant having a tougher path and possibly death, yet we can also see how incredibly important it was to human development.  Each individual that challenged the status quo, lead to the evolution of the human race.  We now live in a time, where human diversity is so incredibly vast that it is becoming more and more difficult to label and categorize people. Yet, we still try our level best to continue doing so.  We sort other people constantly.  He/she is the same as me, he/she is different than me. Us and Them. Yet, it is almost impossible to know someone’s ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, political views, or basic values, just by looking at them. There were times in history where this was much more obvious and simpler to do, but it is far more challenging in today’s world. There are a few obvious exceptions of course, like clothing intended to signify someone’s religion, but generally speaking, we still make far too many assumptions about one another based on very little actual information. We also get very frustrated or even angry when we can’t easily put people into boxes, or if our assumptions based on appearance lead us to reprimand people for cultural appropriation, or mis-representation, without actually having the slightest clue what someone’s culture, life experience, or up-bringing has been.  Just when we think we have someone pegged, they surprise us with something we never knew about them.  For example, most people don’t know, that I have at least six different ethnicities in my heritage, one of which is Mi’kmaq (First Nations people indigenous to Canada’s Maritime Provinces).  You may just see a white girl with naturally blonde hair and blue eyes, and an Irish name.  The truth is, I am much more diverse than that.  I have also been asked on many occasions if I am Scandinavian because of how I look.  I have a diverse heritage, but Scandinavian, the ethnicity I apparently look the most like, isn’t part of it. Funny now, that I married someone who is partly Scandinavian, and so now my children are, so it has become part of my family’s culture. My story, is a common story, especially in Canada, and it is becoming more and more common with the globalization and integration of many cultures, religions, ethnicities, etc.  Inter-racial marriage, adoption, mixed families through marriages, not to mention all the people who live and raise their families within a culture that is not their culture of origin. Our ancestors fought for generations to allow the diversity and integration that is now common, to become socially acceptable. Lest we forget how it used to be, and the intolerance that previous generations had to endure.

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So, I ask myself, given the state of the world, what if we are at a tipping point in humanity, where a pattern that existed to focus on the differences between people in order to sort and separate for the sake of creating human diversity, is no longer in our best interest for our evolution?  What if, we have become so diverse and so separate now, that the only way for us to evolve further is to switch our focus to the sameness and oneness that is humanity?  What if carrying on in the same manner as we have been with a population as large and diverse as it currently is, will only lead us towards conflict and self destruction? I mean, how separate can we possibly get before it all falls apart? History has shown us again and again that too much separation makes us vulnerable. We know innately that we are stronger together, and I can’t help but notice that a shift in much of society has been occurring.  A shift towards inclusion and tolerance and in the allowing of each individual to just exist without a constant need to label them. This shift becomes quite obvious when you listen to the youth.

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To see just how complicated the world has become, just watch people ordering a coffee at Starbucks or buying a pair of jeans, there are so many options now, it’s overwhelming.  It is also overwhelming to try to constantly put people in boxes.  Gay? Straight? Bi? Male? Female? Trans-Gender? Religion? Ethnicity? Culture? Age? Liberal? Conservative? Rich? Poor?  AHHHHHHHHH?!!! Let’s not even get started on all the sub-cultures, sub-religions, etc. The diversity makes some people so frustrated, that they flatly refuse to even acknowledge some of the diversities that exist. They can’t even process more categories so they simply say, “There is male and female, that is all!  Blue and Pink.  End of story.” Well, here’s another perspective. If the complex diversity of people makes you feel threatened, or confused and overwhelmed so much so that you don’t even want to acknowledge it’s very real existence, why not stop trying so damn hard to label and categorize everyone, and just see other people as human beings instead? Admit it, trying to figure everyone out and sorting them into boxes gives us anxiety. So, let’s stop! Ask yourself, what is the point?  Why spend your time and energy doing that? To what end, and for what purpose? Why not take a load off of yourself and surrender to the simple fact that we are all Humans? We all live on planet earth, we all have a heartbeat, we all come from a woman’s body, we all have families and friends, we all feel love and fear and a multitude of emotions.We all breath air and look up at the same starry sky.  The sun rises and sets on all of us and we all move through our lives within the same 24 hours per day. We all are born, we live life and we die. We are also, each and every one of us, complex and diverse individuals.  This too, makes us the same.  We are one people. One race.  The Human Race, and our diversity is our strength.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Michael Sanders, Electric Monk Media

STYLING, HAIR & MAKEUP BY: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Patron of Dreams

VINTAGE & THRIFTED FASHION: Fur hat, fur coat, mukluks, military-style cropped jacket, leopard print skirt, necklace, belts and rings.

CURRENT FASHION: tie-dye tights and faux septum ring from Urban Waves Winnipeg,  black military-style coat by Ralph Lauren.

HOBO CHIC

Down around the corner
A half a mile from here
You see them old trains runnin’
And you watch them disappear
Without love
Where would you be now
Without love…

Where pistons keep on churnin’
And the wheels go ’round and ’round
And the steel rails are cold and hard
For the miles that they go down
Without love
Where would you be right now
Without love
Where would you be now

-The Doobie Brothers, Long Train Runnin 

The Doobie Brothers, Long Train Runnin-Video

“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” -John Steinbeck

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Each and every one of us is on a journey.  A journey away from where we have been, towards some kind of unknown future.  In this we are the same.  No matter how organized, well intentioned or thoughtful you are about planning the course you want your life to take, the truth is none of us really knows how our life will unfold.  We have plans, wishes, desires, dreams and many of us have plotted out a course to achieve all those things. But life often has a different idea about where you’re going doesn’t it?  Life seems to direct us all over the map, throwing up obstacles and curve balls and even sending us in what appears to be the opposite direction from our goals.

When I was in my 20’s, I had my life very clearly planned out. In fact, most of it was set out in my mind as a teenager. I was more than a little bit Type A and a bit of an over-achiever, but still far from a perfectionist thank goodness. I knew what I wanted and I was adamant that I be one of those people that accomplished everything that they set out to do, instead of someone who just talks about things but never gets around to doing them.  The truth is, I was rather effective with this approach to life.  I fell in love, started a career in Environmental Science, bought a house and a car, got married, travelled to exotic locations, got a dog, and was pregnant with my first child all before the age of 30. I had accomplished everything I set out to do in record time. Some call this success.  But I wasn’t completely satisfied, and I was only moderately happy.  The key thing that never sat right with me was that the road to get there was really difficult, and somehow I always felt that if I was on the right path, I would find more ease in the process.  If I am completely honest, it was a real slog.  I was exhausted and drained and getting where I was going felt like an up-hill climb against the grain.  I had proven to myself that whatever you put your mind and focus on you can achieve, but what had I put my mind and focus on?  I was completely focussed on all the typical milestones that society has deemed worthy goals.   I put all my attention and focus on the things I thought I was supposed to do. Things I knew people would approve of and encourage and praise. I was following the path of millions who came before me and I was looking for external gratification and approval instead of following my own passions and dreams.  In doing so, I landed precisely where I aimed.  The middle.  I was completely successful at landing right smack dab in the middle of mainstream mediocrity, and it was a slog to get there.  I had created a perfectly average, middle-class, working for a pay-check lifestyle.  Life was ok. Life was beige.  I had very few lows, but I had almost no highs.  Every day was just “meh”.  Rise and grind, sleep, repeat. I was taking very few risks and as a result, was completely un-inspired!  I feel exceptionally blessed that I had a wake-up call in my early 30’s. The road I was on came to a screeching halt when my first son was born.  Not to be cliché, but it truly opened my eyes! I think it saved me from a fate too many experience. The all too common mid-life crises.  At 30 I looked at my life and all my accomplishments and said “what now?”  Is this really all there is?  Is this really what I’ve been working so hard for?  I was bored and stressed out all at the same time.  Something was seriously amiss.

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One of life’s little synchronisities.  Me and ‘ol Chimney Top had a moment.  He gets me! 

So here’s what I’ve learned since.  The more you try to control every experience in your life, the smaller and more mundane your life becomes.  Control is based in fear. The fear that if you let go and leave it up to anyone or anything else, all hell will break loose.  When you live like this, the energy and passion and purpose you are here to fulfill gets sucked out of your experiences and life becomes an endless series of to-do lists.  Life only started to get interesting for me when I started to let go.  I mean really let go. It was an act of loving kindness towards myself when I began to surrender to the twisting, turning, strangely winding road of life with trust and faith instead of trying to control every twist and turn.  This has been exceptionally difficult for me at times, but oh so necessary.  The word surrender has always had terrible connotations to me.  It was something that the weak did when they had no more fight in them by waving their white flag and giving up, whereby ending up a prisoner in someone else’s kingdom. The feisty warrior woman in me was repulsed by this idea.  I’d rather die fighting than surrender!  But life isn’t an action movie and I’m not on a battle field.  The truth is, I’d rather live than die fighting. I had to re-define surrender for myself. I realized that my definition was holding me back.  Surrender really means letting go of the need to control every situation, and by doing so, releasing all of the resistance you create as a result.  I was a ball of tension and I needed to let that shit go!

So, I gave up!  I gave up my average, mediocre, safe little life in the middle.  I started living with passion.  I started taking risks, I started focussing on things that really mattered to me, whether people approved and praised it or not. I gave up on average and started shooting for the moon, so even if I fall short, I’ll land among the stars.  When I started doing this, an amazing thing happened.  My life started creating itself.  I no longer had to force things into place by exhausting myself trying to control everything.  As I took one step towards my goals, things just started to unfold and one positive experience led me to the next.  This is what people mean when they say follow your bliss.  You have to let go and trust and move in the direction of your enthusiasm and excitement. This is where the magic happens and the momentum begins to pick up.  This is where strange twists and turns you could never have planned out lead you to the most incredible people, situations and opportunities.   The second I begin to tightly clutch at life or try to make things happen instead of allowing them to unfold, all the obstacles show up and life gets really difficult again.  This is not to say that life will ever be easy, but there is a big difference between physical exhaustion from the hussle, and mental and emotional exhaustion from just trying to get through your un-inspiring day with no flow whatsoever.  I’m still learning and growing, but I know I am moving in the right direction. Life truly is a journey after all, and there really is no destination.  I know now, that you never really get there.  We are all just travellers passing through and having experiences at every stop.  So trust in the journey.  Let go, surrender, and allow this crazy train to take you on the ride of your life. The life you are supposed to lead.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Michael Sanders, Electric Monk Media

STYLING, HAIR & MAKEUP BY: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Patron of Dreams

VINTAGE: Hat, blouse, vest, jackets, backpack (I’ve had since I was 17.  It came to Europe with me), wrist warmers, rings and pipe.

CURRENT FASHION: earrings from Urban Waves, skirt by Nygard, velvet boots by Shellys London , from Hudson’s Bay Company.

 

The Art of Life

“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”
― Alain de Botton

“The great Sufi poet and philosopher Rumi once advised his students to write down the three things they most wanted in life. If any item on the list clashes with any other item, Rumi warned, you are destined for unhappiness. Better to live a life of single-pointed focus, he taught. But what about the benefits of living harmoniously among extremes? What if you could somehow create an expansive enough life that you could synchronize seemingly incongruous opposites into a worldview that excludes nothing?” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

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Crystals from SHAKTI, Photo by Michael Sanders

Life can be very complicated one moment and very simple the next.  One minute you feel you have found the perfect balance between all the things that are important to you, and the next minute you wonder how the hell you ever got yourself into this mess of a life!

When it comes to work/life balance, I have learned this.  You need to measure balance not from day to day, week to week or even year to year.  You must measure balance in years or even decades, or you will drive yourself mad with what appears to be a life of complete imbalance and utter chaos.  There is such a thing as a crappy year or a fantastic decade.  Balance can only be seen in hindsight after many years have passed and you can see the ebbs and flows and how it all eventually evens out.  The hard part of course is the patience and faith required to allow life to unfold without madly trying to control every twist and turn along the way.

It’s this patience (with more than a few meltdowns) and faith (interspersed with intense periods of doubt), that I have made a major life overhaul with my Husband Gregory.  As of this month, we are embarking on a year of pursuing our artistic passions full-time while juggling two dogs and two small boys who will for the first time be full-time at school.  Since our first son was born 7 years ago, I gave up my 10 year career in Environmental Science and have been a stay-at-home Mom squeezing out moments to pursue fashion styling, bellydancing and blogging, which were all passions I did as “hobbies” while working. My Husband has worked as a high school teacher by day and an author/illustrator/artist whenever he possibly could.  In a nutshell, life has been madly unbalanced.

“When you go through a hard period,  When everything seems to oppose you,
… When you feel you cannot even bear one more minute,
NEVER GIVE UP!
Because it is the time and place that the course will divert!”
― Jalaluddin Rumi, The Essential Rumi

The last couple of years have been a real struggle for me to re-establish my place as not just Mother, Wife and housekeeper, but Woman, Entrepreneur and Artist.  I have reached that place where I couldn’t stand one more minute, and like Rumi said, I did not give up, because somewhere deep in the depths of my being, I understood that the road was about to divert.

So, as the summer ends and September arrives, we have given up the steady, reliable pay check and a status quo lifestyle, for a taste of living our art.  My greatest hope is that the four of us will find some beautiful way of weaving all of our interests and passions together in an overlapping and entwined creation all our own. This year will be about making things, sharing and designing a lifestyle that suites who we are instead of trying to force ourselves into boxes we have never properly fit in or liked. This year will be about sharing all of the responsibilities in a more balanced way and making room for each other to grow. I hope by watching us, our boys will be inspired to make choices in their life based on what is most important to them and not to fall into the trap of doing things like everyone else because that’s the only choice they think they have, or because they are disheartened by the criticism and doubt from others.

Life is a work of art.  It is your greatest creation and should be treated as such. You begin with a blank canvas and you can create anything you want in whatever way you want to.  In my case, I want to create, but not in isolation from my family. I did not quit my career and stay at home with my boys, just to get so busy now that I never see them. I want us to consciously create our life together and for all of us to be an integral part of each others creation.  I chose to be married, I chose to have children, and I chose to become a fashion stylist/blogger.  I don’t believe that I have to choose one of those things over the others to focus on in order to be happy as Rumi suggests.  I believe I can have them all if I don’t expect every day to be perfectly balanced. Some days I will focus on one, and other days I will focus on another, and sometimes I’ll juggle them all at once. Each stroke of a brush does not make a complete painting, like each day does not make a complete life.  Time and effort, patience and faith, and lots and lots of love, encouragement and unity with my family will create this work of art I call My Life.

My sincerest hope is that you will come along with me for the ride!  I plan to bring you new fashion and life inspiration WEEKLY beginning NOW!

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6×6 Canvas and drift-wood isle made by Gregory, Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

 

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We kept the splattered drift wood for our garden

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beach sand and feathers for added texture

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Michael Sanders, Electric Monk Media

STYLING BY: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Patron of Dreams

MODELS: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Gregory Chomichuk, Lief Chomichuk, Finnley Chomichuk, and our Dogs: Leotie and Saga

FASHION: White bikini by Perry Ellis; wrap-around pants by Patron of Dreams; boys shorts by The Children’s Place; men’s cargo shorts by Old Navy; rose-quartz necklace by BCP Jewelry; and gorgeous giant crystals from SHAKTI.

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Bohemian Homestead

“Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle,                                                             often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties,                             involving musical, artistic, or literary pursuits.                                                                                                          In this context, Bohemians may be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds.”                                     –Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

True freedom to me is the ability to “be” truly and completely oneself, and to walk boldly and bravely through life from that genuine and authentic place .  That is to say, to value your own opinion of yourself above all others’ opinions of you, and be confident in that.  This is easier said than done, especially in an era of social media mania and people evaluating you based on how many “followers” and “likes” you have.  As a fashion blogger, I know about that all too well! At the core of what it is to be human, we all desire love and belonging.  We want to be accepted for who we are. It is that desire that has us deny ourselves the freedom to be who we truly are in order to please others, or at the very least, in order to make them feel comfortable.  We are scared to be misunderstood, not valued and validated and in the worst case, rejected.  It took me years to realize that many people feel uncomfortable and threatened by those people who live a life that is unconventional.  Some are even offended by it.  I used to think that it was just me and that my bohemian tendencies were just too weird for people.  Now I realize that the idea of someone choosing to live an unconventional lifestyle, outside of the popular mainstream makes people uncomfortable because it makes them question themselves and the choices they’ve made in their own life, and that  is what makes them uncomfortable.  When you are living an authentic and genuine life, you light up!  You are full of passion and fire and dreams and that, dear friends, is scary as hell to people who are asleep in their lives and stopped getting excited about life long ago.  It triggers a defensive response in them.  A need to tear you down and discount you in order to validate their own choices and deal with the uncomfortable feeling that they may need to re-evaluate their life which is a messy and difficult process.  Being true to yourself can be a bumpy road.  You learn that surrounding yourself with people of like-mind, who are actively pursuing their dreams, will inspire you, lift you up and make you feel good about yourself. These are the people you should surround yourself with.  These are “your people”.  They will help you grow and evolve and fulfill your potential, and in doing so, you will make the world a more diverse, interesting and fulfilling place for everyone.

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photos By: Gregory Chomichuk (note: photos were taken on my iphone and have not been edited)

Styling, Hair & Makeup by: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Patron of Dreams

Modelling by: Patron of Dreams and Leotie (lay-o-tee), my beautiful Husky cross!

On-Trend/Current Style: blouse by Forever21 (worn backwards and un-buttoned…cause that’s how I roll), vest by Forever21, sunglasses and silver and carnelian cuff from Urban Waves Winnipeg, watch locket from Out of the Blue, Winnipeg, filigree mixed metal cuff by Metalsan Jewelry 

Vintage: hat, fur coat, Rajasthani textile belt and necklace (which is actually a belt…cause like I said, that’s how I roll), rings, Afghani cuff, scarf

Thrift: leather boots and wool plaid pants from Le Chateau

Special Thanks: To my Husband Gregory for playing photographer and taking these shots for me.  To my Brother Preston for lending me his rad looking pipe, and to my Dad and Pam for putting up with my weird-ass self and helping me practice my art by providing an amazing back-drop at the Lake and scavenging antique artifacts from all over the property!  You Rock! Oh yeah, and thanks to the prairie chicken for your sacrifice.  You can take the dogs out of the wild, but not the wild out of the dogs!

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Witchy Woman

“Echoed voices in the night
she’s a restless spirit on an endless flight
wooo hooo witchy woman, see how
high she flies
woo hoo witchy woman she got
the moon in her eye” 

-The Eagles

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Once again All Hallows’ Eve approaches.  For me, autumn has always been an exceptionally magical time.  A time of change and renewal and new beginnings.  Maybe it’s leftover from my old school days.  Starting fresh, a blank slate and a whole new year ahead.  Or maybe it’s the more obvious seasonal changes.  The cool crisp air, the warm gold and crimson leaves and the sky, moody like a love-sick poet.

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Whatever the reason, there is no denying that the fall air is electric and ripe with possibility! I feel more powerful and charged with intentions.  In the light of possibility and excitement, I do not know fear. I have gained a new powerful insight.

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

There are two story’s that lie before each of us.  These two story’s are always present, every day, and in every situation in our lives.  One is a story of woe’s, fears and worry.  It is the “what if I fall?” story that tells of misery, failure and devastation.  The other story is one of endless possibility, celebration and joy.  It is the “what if I fly?” story that tells of fulfillment and happiness beyond our wildest dreams.  Do NOT let them tell you that the “what if I fall?” story is reality! If they try, do not listen! That story is just as make-believe and full of imaginary ideas as the other.  The beauty, is that which ever story you choose to tell yourself and accept, will become your experience.  And yes, you have a choice!  EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! No one ever lived a joyful life because they worried (a.k.a. make-believed) about all the things that could go wrong. If you are going to put your faith in imaginary things, choose the story with the happy ending!  This, dear friends is the true magic in this beautiful life we live.

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

 

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photography By: Gregory Chomichuk (My talented Husband!) Note: all photos were taken with my iphone and kept raw and un-edited.

Styling, hair and makeup by: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Patron of Dreams

Current/On Trend: wine velvet platform booties by Shelly’s London (totally divine and currently on-sale at Hudson’s Bay!!!),black tunic with white and black crocheted neckline by Jealous Tomato (for Winnipeg locals, on-sale at Hush Shout right now!), black wide-brimmed felt hat from H&M (a similar wool one here), white and black sunglasses (definitely statement!), silver and garnet earrings and silver and carnelian cuff from local Winnipeg shop Urban Waves.

Vintage: rings and Kuchi pendant, black velvet coat by Bernard Casuals, Brittany Bay, Vancouver, Canada.

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk