This first

You will always remember your firsts.

First love, first car, first job, first time, first heartbreak, first real love, first accident, first kiss – all of the firsts.

This blog, my first time contributing to a personal blog, this first real and very public project with the sisters, turns a big huge ONE today. The Weather Vane Sisterhood celebrates its first anniversary. A pretty big first in my books.

I kind of can’t even believe it.

It feels oddly similar to the first birthdays of my precious nieces and nephew. I’m bursting with pride, but struggling to understand where all that time went.

It really does just seem like yesterday that we sat down at Jacqui’s house, gathered around her kitchen table, to determine what we wanted this to be, where we thought it could and might go.

I remember then feeling nervous and unsure if I had any writing chops at all – especially compared to my genius sisters. Somehow that feeling never truly goes away and I feel it flutter through my stomach at the scheduling of every post. Some posts are raw and honest, some are lighthearted and maybe even funny, and some may be deeply personal.

This blog has taught me that I am usually not alone in how I feel – not only through connecting with you, our fabulous readers, but also reading the insightful and inspiring stories from my sisters. I’ve learned so much about our sisterhood in this year and, as Julia expressed yesterday, no matter how small our readership may be, I am so thankful for you following along on this crazy journey of our sisterhood. I’m so excited to see what year two holds.

Now that the mush, love and gratitude has been expressed, I get to be Oprah and give away cars!* (here is where I will use the Julia-coined  *Oprah Clause: The word cars in this case represents small tokens of our affection and not actual cars or automobiles, or vehicles of any kind…please don’t sue us. We’re not actually Oprah.)

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

When it came time to choose what I’d like to give you, I had to reflect on the sudden, incredible, completely exhilarating love in my life: my Yoga practice and the incredible community of Moksha Yoga Cambridge.

I have chosen to give away an RBX yoga mat in honor of my passion for the practice of yoga. Between the peace it has brought me during the past few tougher months, to the inner growth I’ve experienced, I cannot put into words what it has done for my life. More than that, until you’ve tried it and let go enough to let it work its magic, I will never be able to describe it to you unless you’ve felt it. All I can say, with 100% conviction, it it’s totally worth it.

To keep you moving

To keep you moving

In addition, I would like to invite you to Moksha Yoga Cambridge  on Friday nights for their Karma practice. It’s $5, a great way to stretch out from your crazy week and, even better, all of your $5 goes towards a different charity on a rotating monthly schedule. This month the proceeds of the Friday evening Karma practice are benefiting The Bridges – Cambridge Shelter. So, even if you don’t win this mat, please grab one and join us at 8:00 pm every Friday to participate in a little good karma.

In order to enter any and all of the giveaways, all you have to do is leave a comment answering the question for that day. You’ll receive one entry for every comment on that day’s giveaway – you can leave one comment or 100 comments, just make sure you’re answering the question. Be sure to enter all of the giveaways before 12:00 am EST on Saturday, February 14th in order for your entries to be considered.

I’d be honoured to share my love of Yoga with you! To get started, all you have to do is answer the question: what is your favourite yoga pose and why? If you’re not a yogi per say, what is your favourite exercise and why?

I look forward to hearing from you, our dear readers. My heart is grateful for this, our very first year.

~Toni

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Craving silence

I have to chuckle at the irony of my choice in topic for this post as it seems there has been a lot of silence from me lately here on the blog.

I refuse to complain and wallow, so I will not rehash the current, lasting WAY longer than I wished difficult patch I have hit in life. I will get through, as I always do.

Missing my blogging outlet got me thinking of the other fundamental activity that I have so dearly missed – silence.

Or rather, the act of sitting, reveling and centering myself in silence.

Tews Falls, Ontario

Tews Falls, Ontario

Some people wrestle with it, just can’t stop themselves from filling the gaps, the blanks, the pauses. They crave the noise, the distractions, the interruptions. It is as though they struggle with a subconscious fear of facing the quiet. I find that as I grow, mature and evolve, this is where I have began to thrive. I’ve realized there is a certain level of self-awareness that comes from being able to be absolutely still, quiet, in the moment, right where you are, without worrying about finding something to keep busy or become consumed by.

Being at peace with the quiet is even more rewarding when you are able to do so with another person. I had a hyper aware moment of this recently – driving down the 401, returning from a trip to Windsor, I could not help but note just how at ease I was with the silence between myself and my travel companion. I did not for one minute of that almost three hour trek home worry about what to say next to make the moments seem full, or feel the pressure to entertain someone else with banter. It was just them and me, the whir of the tires on the pavement and the shared love of the albums rolling through the iPod set on shuffle.

The trick that my generation – well the majority of North Americans in general, really – just cannot get right is that the quiet is where the fullness is found. The stillness is where the relief is found. Much like the rest in a piece of music that hits you at just the right moment, the pauses hold the golden moments.

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It has been easy for me to notice the  importance of silence recently. With my insane-o schedule, overwhelming, constant connection through technology, constantly being on and stress levels through the roof, the ache and nostalgia for the quiet has been sneaking up on me and getting stronger as these weeks carry and continue to pile on. The desire to spend time alone, or at least to enjoy simplistic moments together with those I consciously choose to spend my limited time with, has only gotten stronger.

It has recently had me forcing Michael to get in the car and drive over an hour to Grimsby so I could sit in silence at the edge of the escarpment for an hour. It has recently had me sounding like my father, complaining of the noise of the world blaring through the ‘idiot box’ when Michael instinctively flicks it on a minute after he walks in the door, while I have been home for over two hours alone, taking in the silence. It has recently had me crawling out of my skin, itching for my centre, wishing the warmer weather hadn’t gone so quickly, taking the beauty of the summer and fall with it.

Grimsby, Ontario overlooking Lake Ontario

Grimsby, Ontario overlooking Lake Ontario

I find I am better able to work through problems that are plaguing me when I am able to turn off, shut down and disconnect. I don’t even necessarily have to spend a moment thinking about the issue directly, and when I return to the somewhat unsettling state of modern ‘reality’ I am better prepared to deal with the conundrum because I took pause. I am better prepared to take on the every day hustle and bustle with a little more patience than normal.

I guess you could count this practice as a form of meditation, a time to spend with just myself. My desire to unplug I feel can only be explained by my rural upbringing, however it could also be chalked up to my ever growing distaste for our society’s ever so “evolved” lifestyle – limiting the time we spend completing and participating in the truly important things in life, and maximizing the time we spend at the office, or on our devices or staring at the TV. Even as I write this now, Michael is plugged into his iPhone, playing a game, with the television on in the background while I am curled up with a dog on my lap and laptop on my dog, trying to get this post out, before I a) lose the idea all together or b) get caught with my proverbial blog post-pants around my ankles and not have anything written come Tuesday morning.

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As the incredibly talented (read: sexy), incredibly enlightened (read: great voice), incredibly wise (read: very handsome) Tim McGraw once crooned, “what I wouldn’t give for a slow down, don’t ya know?

~Toni

*Update: Since the writing of this post my prayers have been answered and what I am trusting to be the new and correct direction for me has been revealed, allowing for plenty of stillness and silence.  I’ll fill you in more in the coming weeks; however, in the meantime, if you’re looking for someone to complete some freelance marketing work, I’m your girl! Contact me here via the comments and I will be sure to email you shortly. ~ Toni