Down the rabbit hole, and in my purse

I am a very random person. A free spirit my sisters call me. I have had a weird collection of clothes, weird collection of art hung up around my bed room/apartments, and most definitely a weird collection of things on my person. At any given time these things lurk in my purse, in my car, etc.

My friends and I used to play a game called “What’s NOT in Andreah’s Room.” There were few and far between things that were not located in my sanctuary. One friend jokingly said a kitchen sink one time. I then produced a small miniature kitchen sink from somewhere, and laughter of course ensued.

The weird/strange/obscure things I have found on my person are the following:

Jars of dirt
I have a jar of dirt from Ireland, PEI and Nova Scotia, and for a while after I collected, or received them, I carried them around for a couple months. I know it’s weird, but it’s fun being able to carry around a piece of a far distant place that I either have been to or am dying to go to.

A beard
Yes. That’s right. I own a fake beard and used to carry it around and whip it out when certain situations called for it.
If you are currently asking yourself what situation would call for a beard, then you don’t understand life and the many simple complexities it involves. Or you are just not a strange person who used to carry around a beard.

Handcuffs.
I actually don’t want to explain this one, other than they are an interesting conversation piece. NOTHING SEXUAL. Just used to have them in my backpack.

My button collection
I have a button collection and used to carry around a few key ones that I loved to look at when I was in college. I even found use for some of them along the way.

I am a strange person. With strange things and a strange personality to match. Although I don’t find myself with these things on me on a normal basis, I still have all of them. I still am that strange girl with a beard in her bag, even if it is not a literal beard anymore.

Do you have strange things you used to do? Please tell me someone else has a fake beard.

~ Andreah

Advertisements

Just me

I don’t know if it is something that happens to every one, or even every woman, but at some point in this last bit of my 20’s, I’ve really grown to like me.

Just me, as I am. Right now.

I know it sounds silly, or like I am boasting, but I’m not. I have lots of demons and areas of myself that I know need a shit ton of work and things about my being that I would rather not have to face. But I do. And I am.

Constantly.

What I mean by really liking me, is that I really like who I am growing into. I really enjoy my own company and find myself craving more time alone. I am really comfortable with myself today, even more so than yesterday and even more so than the day before that.

11215789_776502755799835_5018324845689343848_n

It’s an evolution I am enjoying the more and more I learn and understand about life from a spiritual perspective, a topic which is sometimes met with eye rolls and sighs. A few that are closest to me have started to referring to me as a hippie when I speak about being more conscious and awake or the adventures I get up to – a title I am fine with because I know what they mean and that they mean it with love. I have come to the realization that people can only meet you as far as they have grown themselves and that is okay. I have also noted on this journey that when some people cannot accept you for who you are or struggle with who you’ve grown into, it is okay to know their time in your story might be coming to an end.

I am okay with not being normal or what is expected. I am aware that I am a bit different and it feels good to me. I am enjoying being in a place where I can look back and say, I have come so far from who I was and I’m getting even closer to who I really am.

In fact, if you met me last year and then met me again today, I would bet you would say, “You’ve changed”, and I bet I would laugh and say “Thank you”. It would be even more apparent if we were close in a past life and you met me today…if you’ve not been here for the past few years, you definitely do not have a clue who I am anymore. And I am pretty cool with that.

This whole idea began spinning in my head this past holiday Monday. A last minute change in Michael’s schedule meant our plans for a few nights away were no longer an option, leaving me to find my own entertainment for what should have been a holiday Monday for him too. The let down of Michael not hanging out with me definitely bummed me out, but I was not against a day alone.

Now, early 20’s Toni, I will admit, would have panicked a bit about not having anything planned to fill my day with or people to hang out with and it would have been a scramble to try to fill the space with shenanigans with a girlfriend or sister. Late 20’s Toni though, she’s got this. Instantly I began to think of all of the places I have been wanting to explore but either hadn’t made the time or had a willing partner.

Michael started work at noon, so we spent a lazy morning together in bed, had breakfast and coffee and then off to work for him and upstairs to pack a bag for me.

I had no idea where I was going to head, so I threw in a sweater, a sports bra, shorts and extra tank, a bikini, book, towel, earphones, some water and snacks. I grabbed my hiking boots, a pair of sneakers and threw on my flip-flops.

Instead of worrying about directions or a GPS, I just got in the Runner and drove.

I drove myself straight to the coast of Lake Huron and parked there for hours. I read, wandered, laid out in the sun and grabbed a beer by myself in a small town along the way. I didn’t pay attention to my phone, I didn’t take a single picture to capture the beauty of my day and I barely spoke a word to another soul all day.

It was perfect and peaceful and my soul felt full by the end.

During the drive home I started to think of how many other people I know would do such a thing on a day of freedom. I also started to think about how much I had enjoyed my day. How much I needed my day, and my very own company.

Just me.

It made me very aware that while I do love the companionship of my man, my friends and especially my sisters, there are just some days when you need to sit alone with yourself for a bit and be comfortable with whatever you find, good or bad.

As I was finishing up with this post, the most suitable email from Elephant Journal floated across my screen and it read:

“No matter where you go or what you do you are always yourself.
There is nothing you can ever do, nothing you can wear,
no story you can tell that will change the basic fact of who you are.
Instead of running from it, accept it, trust it, embrace it,
love it because it’s all you’ve got.
” ~ Kino MacGregor

I am okay with me.

Just me, as I am. Right now.

~ Toni

When opportunity tackles you

This is definitely long overdue, and with everything that has been going on, I definitely do want to mention this. Our Brother (in-law) gave me an opportunity.

Ben plays Aussie Football. In Ontario. CANADA.

Now I have never heard about Aussie Football, I have never ever even heard about this sport before, and I am not even going to attempt to explain it to you.

What I can tell you is that it is an intense sport to watch, and I am betting an even more intense game to play.
DSC_4709I have known that Ben has played this game for the last year or so, and when I got an email from him, I was shocked, and super excited and touched by the opportunity he presented to me.
DSC_4939.1Ben sent me an email asking me if I would be interested in coming to his games and taking photos for them, the only thing he wanted to make sure is that I knew it was free.

Like that would stop me.

Honestly, I have not been able to touch my camera. I have gotten camera shy.

I don’t think my photos are any good, and I don’t think that I have any talent whatsoever, so it has scared me.

DSC_4730

It has scared me to have a camera in my hand, because what if I let someone down?

However, Ben has given me an incredible gift. He has given me a new kind of opportunity to put a camera back in my hand and get back to my passion and the thing that I love.

This blog is dedicated to you Ben. You are an awesome Big Brother, and I cannot thank you enough for getting me back to what is so me, and something that I have missed so much.
DSC_5006.1THANK YOU.

You should go over and check out more photos, and the game/players over at The Grand River Gargoyles website! If you are in the area for games as well, go check them out! They are great players and a great team and deserve a ton of support.

~ Andreah

Should I leave the lights on?

Recently in the New York times they had a piece on the light pollution in New York City, and about a bill that seems to have caused a bit of discussion on light pollution. On one hand, having fewer lights in the New York skyline would be more beneficial to the environment, and the migratory and mating habits of birds and animals. Another upside to having dimmer lights would be a greater possibility to see what is actually up in the sky in the middle of the night in NYC.

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, and awesome artist, click the photo to be taken to his page!

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, an awesome artist.

However, New York is big and it is filled with crime – fewer lights would mean more cover for unseemly and horrible stuff to take place. It is a good idea, but in they end, they should take a deeper look into the different possibilities and scenarios surrounding the bill in question.

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, and awesome artist, click the photo to be taken to his page!

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, an awesome artist.

The reason that this story caught my eye was because it made me think of a road trip Joe, Elena, and I took up north to Sudbury and down and through Manitoulin Island. After about four to six hours of driving in the middle of the night, Elena told me to pull off to the side, we woke up Joe and stepped outside the car just to stare at the naked sky.

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, and awesome artist, click the photo to be taken to his page!

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, an awesome artist.

Now, I have lived in the country and have gotten some pretty epic views in my life of the night sky, including one birthday of mine in which the Northern Lights appeared above our house.

I have also seen beautiful pictures depicting the night sky without light pollution, and, let me tell you, the real thing…it is even better than you could have imagined.

I wish we lived in a world where we didn’t need lights on all the time and that we could look up at any moment and just see the Milky Way. I wish that everyone would get to experience the ethereal beauty of the night sky unpolluted, with the lights that we have deemed so necessary. I ultimately wish that we could have a world so full of peace and love that lights weren’t so necessary.

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, and awesome artist, click the photo to be taken to his page!

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, an awesome artist.

It is something to work towards, and something to aspire to. Hopefully it will be so…one day.

~ Andreah

Welcome, new Yogi

I watch you cautiously enter the studio – a place that at first glance can seem so intimidating, I know. You’re not sure what to expect or if you wore the right thing, or if you’ll even be able to make it through the hour you’ve set aside for you. I can see you are nervous, almost timid.

You’re greeted with warm smiles from the volunteers and instructors gathered hospitably around the front desk, waiting to help you sign up for a class, answer your questions, show you where the facilities and different tempered rooms are. These friendly faces put some of your fears to rest, at least for the moment. You can feel the shift of energy in the air as more students flow into the studio.

I  keep observing you from across the airy, open, sunny front room. I see your shoulders relax down your back slightly, ease entering your eyes and recognition of something almost home-like about this place  flashes in them. We catch each other’s gaze and share a small, but sincere smile.

You wander down the hall into the change room, where I am sure you’re talking yourself into class. Not sure what to expect, not sure if you’ll like it, not sure if it’s for you. Scared of the heat, the poses, the unknown.

I know this feeling all too well. I think every new yogi does.

What I want to tell you is that what you will find in the heated yoga studio upstairs is going to surprise you, maybe even scare you a little.

I want to tell you of the life-altering feeling you are about experience, the wash of emotion, the shift in perspective, the gains in confidence, compassion and strength you will feel.

health and happy

I want to burst at you with stories and antidotes of feeling yourself truly shut your brain off for the first time and the exhilarating calm that comes with that freedom.

I want to tell you, that if you just let it, this practice, those poses, this studio, will change your whole life and lift up your soul in ways you didn’t think were possible.

I want to tell you that it will only take a moment for you to fall so deeply in love with your practice and you’ll know exactly when it happens.

I want to tell you that it is okay to let go, especially here, and sometimes that very act might even come out as laughter or tears in class – and that’s okay.

asana

I want to share with you that the people that live, work and love here will become a second family to you, this studio a second home, if you let it, if you welcome it with open arms.

I want to calm your fears with tales of the incredible lives that have been changed by this bit of magic you’ve found, allowed into your life.

I want to warn you that you are about to challenge your ego, but it will be the best thing you ever do for your soul.

I want to tell you that you’re going to find out things about yourself that you didn’t know existed, had forgotten once were, and feel more you than you ever have in that 60, or 75 minutes of pure bliss.

self acceptance

I want to tell you about the calm in your soul that will come when you become more aware and more present, at first in class, and then soon every area of your life.

I want to tell you that you will feel more in control and out of your mind in the most calming way, at the same time, in that room.

I want to tell you that when you adopt the true practice of yoga in areas of your life outside of the studio will be when you will truly understand what you’ve found.

I want to tell you to breathe your way through class and that you’ll soon realize that it’s necessary to breathe through life in the same way.

breathing

 

I want to tell you so many things about what you’ve started by stepping onto your mat for the very first time.

But I don’t.

Instead I share one more silent smile with you as we both enter the room. I watch you find your place on your mat, sprawl out on the floor, fidgeting a bit as you start to relax. As I settle onto my mat myself, I say a little prayer for your practice and mine today, sending a little love, light and energy your way.

I can’t wait for the journey that lies ahead of you, the breakthroughs and breakdowns, the freedom from what is resting on your shoulders. I am so excited for you and your practice to unfold and the blessings it will so abundantly bring.

Welcome, new Yogi.

~ Toni

5 Things I learned being a little sister

I have learned that being a little sister is not always the joy ride that most people expect, and that you tend to learn things differently. So, here are my 5 things I have learned from being a little sister.

It is NOT always about you.

Granted, some people are going to tell me differently, and some people when they have their youngest child it really is all about them, but not for me. I have a problem of putting everything and everyone first in my life before my own well-being, and sometimes my own welfare. I am not the little princess of the family, but I do know that as a result of me being born last I was raised a little differently than my older siblings.

You will get blamed for a lot of things.

Growing up sometimes (i.e. not all the time) I would get blamed for the actions of my older siblings, knowing full well that they did the incident. Sometimes I took the blame, but other times I would fight tooth and nail that it was not me! And yes, of course, I got to blame my older siblings sometimes, but 7 out of 10 times they wouldn’t believe me anyways!

I was a horrible younger sister.

I really and truly was a terrible younger sister. I would not listen to my sisters when they were in charge, I would go behind their backs when I didn’t like what they were doing and call mom, I was a huge tattle-tale, and, frankly, I was a huge pain in the butt. I always whined, always cried, and just was not a nice person growing up. I am still learning to be a better little sister, but I know I still have a ways to go before the whiny child side of me is gone for good.

You have built in friends.

I did not have a lot of friends growing up, and spent a lot of my time alone, but I knew when my sisters were home and they were not busy with their big sister homework that I could spend time with them, play, and get into some small amounts of mischief.

You will always have them.

I know that no matter what is going on, if all my friends get mad at me or hate me, that I will still have my three sisters at my back, in my corner, fighting with me and for me when I need them, and when I don’t need them I know that they are my silent cheerleaders for whatever I may be going through.

This sums it up... Love you guys!

This sums it up… Love you guys!

I may not be the best little sister ever, but hey, I am a little sister, so at least I survived the childhood part!

~ Andreah

The Roomie Awards

I have lived in a lot of different cities, and in those different cities I have had a lot of roommates, I counted it up and in total I have had a whopping 18 roommates. That is a lot of people I have lived with that aren’t family.

So I am going to give Roomie Awards to the people I currently live with! I live in a house with Joe and three other people, so I sat them down and had them nominate each other for things, and when we all agreed, here is what we came up with:

The winner of the BIG CHEESE/CHIEF AWARD is… Justin.

No I don't know what is happening behind the tree.

No I don’t know what is happening behind the tree.

It tends to be that whenever we are sitting around with nothing much to do, Justin comes up with stuff. He also is the main person of the house. He tends to also be like the big brother of the house and is always there to lend a hand when needed or just help out.

The winner of the SMEAGLE AWARD is…Ponee (a.k.a. Josh).

Isn't he a strange one?

Isn’t he a strange one?

Josh is a little strange, a little weird, and sometimes really annoying, but he knows this and owns it. Josh can also be really helpful and a good guy when the time calls for it. He also takes the guys harassment on a daily basis, and doesn’t really care that much about it.

The winner of the HYPERACTIVE AWARD is…Hanna.

She's so Pretty!

She’s so pretty!

It has been said that if we got a hamster wheel big enough, we could run the house off her energy. She is an awesome girl, an amazing friend, and just a little *cough* a lot *cough* crazy energetic! She is an overall amazing person, and a real best friend.

The winner of the SPEDCIAL AWARD is…Joe.

Handsom isn't he?

Handsome isn’t he?

I did not nominate Joe for this one, and yes the ‘D’ is really supposed to be there. Joe has the uncanny ability to get himself into the weirdest of situations, which makes sense as he did ask me to marry him!

The winner of the FUZZY/DINGO AWARD is…Cleo!
Cleo is the house puppy. She is adorable and crazy and is always up for snuggles.

The winner of the JELLY BEAN/BUG-EYED AWARD is…me.
Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 9.18.55 PM

This one was a weird description, but I am going along with it. Hanna said that I should get the Jelly Bean award because I am so colourful and random. Justin says that I get the Bug-Eyed award because I always have an interest, I am always doing something, and it is never the same thing. Ever.

I have had so many experiences living with people of all walks of life, and this one is just a new adventure. With all new good people…even if they all are slightly crazy.

~ Andreah

Authenticity

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the importance of being authentic.

It may have to do with my beautiful circle of friends growing once again as I slowly meet more of ‘my people’ by living more like how I feel inside, regardless of what other people’s opinions, judgments, or expectations are. It’s amazing what you attract when you like who you’ve become and know that the right people will love you and stick beside you, the wrong ones will eventually drift away.

It may have to do with realizing the toll my recent employment took on me and being able to reflect on how down it made me – the lesson being that I do not want to ever feel that way again about a job.

It may have to do with the added free time I have had to actually slow down and enjoy life a bit while I am off – not to say it has been a walk in the park to not FREAK OUT about not having a clear direction set out for this next chapter, but Michael and my Tuesday day adventures have been pretty fantastic and plentiful.

One of our many adventures <3

One of our many adventures ❤

It may be my unquenchable thirst to learn, to see more than what we are provided easily in today’s western culture when it comes to news, health, way of life – this bubble we’ve grown accustomed to because it’s comfortable and familiar, filled with distractions from what life is supposed to be. As I grow, my soul desires to be more self-sustaining in all areas of physical life and the knowledge to do so is just as accessible, if you just look for it. There are big plans for greenhouses, chickens, a bit of land and a tiny house for Michael and I.

Whatever the trigger, I feel as though our society is losing their authenticity. I feel as though too many people are acting, playing a role, presenting something they do not authentically feel to the world. Too many people worried about how their lives look, and not enough concerned with how they feel at the end of the day. Bigger houses, newer cars, the latest phone, more money, more things, less love, less touch, less authenticity.

I felt this way when I over-heard antidotes from two young women at a local coffee shop, of the strategic moves being made to secure a second, third and fourth date – covering off the silly things they were pretending to like or be interested in to seem more attractive to the potential mate. I found myself wondering if that is really how some people find a life-partner, or if I’d stumbled upon a more (thankfully) rare breed of singleton. Would it not be more advantageous – if the goal truly is to shack up with a life-mate – to be purely authentic from the get-go?! Okay, okay, maybe not allll of the crazy cards at once, but at the very least being straight about who you are, what your interests are, where you came from, where you’re going, where your heart lies and having the confidence to know that you’ll be okay whether or not the stranger across from you likes it or not. Wouldn’t you rather the person who loves you for life know YOU, all of you, the dark and the light in you? I don’t know if I could trust a love that didn’t know and accept the whole package. I feel we need more authentic love.

BeSeen

I felt this way during an interview where the interviewer seemed surprised at how many questions I had prepared. I let him know that I prepare for all of my interviews by making a list of all the details that are important for me to make a good decision in where to invest my time and talent. It opened a conversation about the shocking number of candidates that they have interviewed that did not understand it is as important to interview the company you’re applying to as much as they interview you; it helps to ensure the company matches your requirements as well or it will be a waste of both the company and employee’s time. I know I am a good self-advocate that can land a job by selling my skill set and experience, however I know first-hand the importance of being authentic in your work and wanting to make the best decision for your life goals. You give up so much of your life to your work, I believe you should somewhat love your life’s work. I feel we need more authentic work.

greatwork

I felt this way when I began to get more involved in the Moksha Yoga Cambridge community and had multiple ‘aha’ moments with the beautiful souls I have met there. The ‘aha’ of my soul as I recognized so much of myself – my true self – in them. That second family feel that reminds you that you’re not alone in the desires you have for the world, your communities, your family, friends. It made me realize that by living more authentically and searching for those outlets that feed my soul, I have in turn started to attract the kinds of people, opportunities and lifestyle I have been craving my whole life. It also made me realize how rare it is to find what I have found, that many people will never allow themselves to be open enough, vulnerable enough, and authentic enough to let who and what is meant for you, find you. I feel we need more authentic lives.

Amen!

I feel if we all followed our hearts a little more, learned to trust the universe a little more, searched for knowledge a little more, and especially lived a little more authentically, there would be a lot more fulfilled and happy souls in this world.

~ Toni

Can I hear it for some love, peace and understanding?

Everywhere you go there is racism. People judge harshly, quickly, and without cause. We hurt people who had nothing to do with the bigger picture, and too many innocent bystanders suffer.

One place I am going to highlight on is France, especially in light of what happened there this January. This is not to place blame but to recognize that nothing is always as it seems, and that there is more going on then we know. We just need to take a deeper look.

I just want to define something here, an Extremist (which exists in any religion or culture) is a person who favours or resorts to immoderate, uncompromising, or fanatical methods or behaviour, especially in being politically radical.

Extremists, who were under surveillance last year, but got taken off of it six months prior to the shootings, were the root of the problem. Not Muslims.

A Muslim, as the Sufi spiritual leader Ibn Arabi says, is a: person who has dedicated his worship exclusively to God…Islam means making one’s religion and faith God’s alone.

I have recently read an article in the New York Times, written about how Muslims, even if they have lived in a country for their entire life, do not feel like they are home, or that they are welcome.

Can you imagine living somewhere and not ever feeling like you could just live, just be?

Why is it in peaceful places does racism and biased reactions, based on one small group, instead of the whole, reign true? Why can’t there be peace without the violence and why can we not just see that everyone is wrong, and the only right in the world is peace, light, and love?

People judge so harshly based on religion or even just skin colour. We take the leap before we even slow down enough to find out who someone is and to know that they aren’t all bad, just like we aren’t all bad.

I want to stop time and just make sense of all the nonsensical violence, all because of pigmentation or the right to believe in who and what you believe. It will never make any sense. It will never get us anywhere judging people for something that is theirs alone and is in their hearts. You shouldn’t judge what you do not know, and I don’t know much, but I know that when you are walking down the street towards me, I am not going to judge you on the pigmentation of your skin and I am not going to judge you based on which headdress you wear. I am going to smile, keep walking with peace and love in my heart.

As my one roommate says “We all want one thing: to live.”

We will learn. I have hope.

We will learn. I have hope.

~ Andreah

Knowing more

This past year has been a crazy one: moving away, finding new passions, trying new things, falling down, picking ourselves back up, engagements, wedding planning, moving back, and just generally trying to figure out what works.

This has been a year of learning for all of us with the blog, and in life. We are just living, and life always has a lesson to teach.

This has been an amazing, eye-opening experience for me.

I always knew my sisters were talented, amazing and beautiful women, but reading their thoughts has shown me new bits about each of the sisters.

I feel like you can find out a lot about people through their writing, and it holds true to this experience.

I mean, in all of our very first posts, there were timid steps as we each set foot into blogging, but we found our way, kept going, and the sisters and the readers all ended up inspiring me more than I had thought humanly possible.

This blog has been a new push through everything, and when I re-read all the posts, I realized how much we all changed, or at least I have changed. I realized how much I have been able to still keep pushing through all the negative that can come with change.

Change usually scares me, but this time, I’m not scared at all! I’m excited and can’t wait for the next blogging year for our sisterhood!

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

And now, without further ado, my giveaway is hand-crafted jewelry and a survivalist bracelet made from parachute cord made by my friend Kate, and a tea wallet so you can have that fresh tea anywhere made by Kate’s awesome Mama!

Survivalist bracelet, beautiful hand crafted ring, and necklace, and a tea wallet!

Survivalist bracelet, beautiful hand-crafted ring and necklace, and a tea wallet!

I want to thank you, dear readers. You have been a wonderful and captive audience, and we owe you lots of hugs for the past year! And my question I pose to you is: What is the one accessory that you’d feel naked without? 

~ Andreah