The First Cuts are the Scariest: Life lessons from a haircutting adventure

Last night I did something crazy…

I cut off my hair.

Not like, “I went to a salon and had my hair cut,” (although I did that this afternoon…just to tidy things up). Nope. I stuck my hair in 2 bunches, grabbed the scissors, and lopped it off. Seriously.

The last time I did that was when I was 19 an in a major bout of depression. And it SUCKED (the depression AND the haircut). This time? This is something different.

 

…Before…

 

I’ve been feeling increasingly weighed down. Not just by my hair (although I have…had…a HELL of a lot of it), but by all kinds of garbage and limiting beliefs that have built up over the past 2.5 years. “I can’t”s and “I should”s and “I have to”s. Bitterness, resentment, martyrdom, victimhood. It’s been pressing down on me.

Yesterday I was playing guinea pig for a friend’s art therapy session, and my drawing of myself looked like this:

 

See that hair? That hair is the weight of the freaking world, my friend.

 

Last night I had one of those pivotal moments of realization…one of those moments when everything clicks into focus and all my patterns turned into what they really are: not “this is the way it is,” but “this is the way I have been limiting myself, and I’m effing tired of it.” And my hair felt like the embodiment of all of it, just like in my drawing. So I cut it off (honestly, I was this-close to giving myself a buzz cut).

 

…the clippers were RIGHT THERE. It was a near thing!

 

Before I started cutting, I took a deep breath and visualized my hair containing all the limiting beliefs and emotional baggage that was holding me back and weighing me down.

And then…

Snip snip snip.

The minute the scissors hit the hair, I was terrified. There’s a certain “Holy shit, I can’t go back now” to beginning a major transformation (whether it’s a haircut or something bigger). All I could do is keep cutting and hoping that everything would turn out OK in the end.

I kept cutting. The hair came off.

…I’m thinking of donating them. That’s a LOT of hair!

 

It turned out OK…

No…more than OK. It turned out really freaking awesome. It was JUST what I needed!

Eeeeeeee! No regrets whatsoever!

Honestly, I was pretty thrilled with the end results. I felt 10 pounds lighter, and infinitely freer. It was amazing.

And here’s the final cut, after the hairdresser fixed it up a bit.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

And I feel different. More present, less stuck. Ready to make other, bigger transformations.

The moral of the story: The first cuts are the scariest. Everything else is just shaping and trimming.

Into the Woods (a picture post)

Last weekend was a long weekend here in Canada.

Usually, we head out of town and stay in a cottage with our friends. This year, we’d been planning to go to Portland instead, but that fell through. So we decided to stay at home. I was OK with it…something told me that we were going to have bigger adventures in our own backyard than we would on a trip.

 

I was right.

 

On Sunday, we picked up some friends and went for a hike at Long Lake Provincial Park. This park is technically in the city (I think), and it’s about a 5-minute drive from our apartment. You wouldn’t know it, though.

 

 

The trail heads through the woods and comes out onto Long Lake itself. We played by the water for a little bit, and Xander threw some rocks.

 

Honestly, I think we could have had a completely satisfactory trip just hanging out by the water…but that wouldn’t have made it an adventure.

 

We walked along the shore for a bit. This was our first truly summery weekend after a LOT of wet, and the plants were making the most of it. This was the weekend that all the leaves came out.

 

Eventually, we climbed back up onto the path that leads around the lake. It was a gorgeous afternoon, and the woods smelled of newly-grown leaves and just-blossoming flowers.

 

Eventually, we headed up a path away from the lake. Well…I say “path”…it had turned into a dried-up creek bed.

 

 

Well…maybe “dried up” was an optimistic term. It was still fun, though. It was like a puzzle, trying to figure out which side of the mess would be easier to walk on.

 

 

After a long, messy slog, we reached a spot where the creek bed ended and a stream began. It curved around and headed back toward the lake.

 

 

This part of the trip made all the time in the mud worth it. We found a path that curved alongside the stream. It was much easier going, and it was stunningly beautiful. We stopped constantly to look at the water.

 

 

At one point, we all sat down on a rock by the water. Our ears were filled with the rushing of the stream, the chattering of a nearby squirrel, the sigh of our own breath. It was peaceful beyond all imagining. It was like we were meditating without even trying.

 

 

Xander picked up on it too. Usually, when we’re walking around our suburb, he’ll complain that he’s tired within 15 minutes. That afternoon, he walked for 3 hours and didn’t mention being tired or hungry until the very end.

 

 

We were getting close to the lake, but the path had one more beautiful sight to show us. We stayed by this waterfall for a long time, taking it in.

 

 

And then we reached the lake. Even though you could see the city in the distance, it felt hundreds of miles away. I felt like any amount of time could have passed…we could have been like the people in stories who go off into the woods and come back months later, thinking no time has passed.

 

 

As I dabbled my feet in the lake water, I was filled with a sense of wonder and well-being. I felt so connected to the earth and to my ancestors who spent their lives walking through woods. I felt the arms of Mama Earth embracing and supporting us. I felt my muscles, tired, yes, but strong and capable…more capable than I’d thought.

 

We picked ourselves up and walked back to the car, full to the brim of sunshine and peace, and already planning our next trip back to the woods.

Sometimes you don’t need to travel far to have adventures. You just need to step outside your door.

Making Space for Magic

For months I’ve been doing my blogging and planning on the dining room table.

I don’t know how this started. I mean, last year we said that my office was going to be in the guest room. During the World-Changing Writing Workshop, I participated in a whole teleclass about creating office space to support me in my creative work. I tried. It’s just…I don’t know…it didn’t really “take.” It was a guest room with a wobbly desk in it, not a space for magic.

And after a few months, the guest room became the Place Where Things Go to Die. Then it really REALLY wasn’t conducive to working…or doing anything, really, other than Dumping Stuff and Running Away. The cats liked it. That’s about it.

Last weekend Matthew and I decided that Enough was Enough. It was time to make some space. We started by clearing out the guest room.

(I purposely didn’t take “before” photos of the Hell Hole, but here—including that shopping cart and its contents—is about 3/4 of the stuff we cleared out of the room, not including furniture. Or the contents of the closet. Yeah…)

 

We rearranged everything, and spent about an hour scraping cat hair off the rug where under-the-bed used to be. And then it was time to settle back in.

At this point, Xander decided to come and help us put things away. This was his contribution…

 

I worked until bedtime on Saturday, sorting papers, organizing things, and putting pictures back up. I even reorganized most of the closet, but I didn’t photograph it because it still looks messy.

And here is the result:

Bookshelf. Business-y stuff on the right, crafty and household stuff on the left.

 

Actual space for pretty things! Matthew bought me that rabbit sculpture on the day we had Xander <3

 

Prayer flags from Goddess Leonie, standing work station, which I use about half the time, and you can *just* see part of my Right-Brain business plan by the blue curtain on the right.
Xander’s standing workstation…he’s “playing Minecraft” on the alarm clock.

 

I LOVE how it looks. It feels so much better.

But here’s the Magical Secret: this was about SO MUCH MORE than spring cleaning the guest room.

To be honest, the mess in the guest room kind of felt like a metaphor for my approach to my blog-and-business-y stuff. I had plans and projects to do, but they kept getting crowded out of the way by random crap. Papers. Lego. Facebook. Massive life changes. Hairballs…no, wait, that was the guest room, not the blog. As far as I know… 

The point is that my dreams were drowning in random pieces of crap that needed to be cleared out and put away. I needed time and space for action.

Last night I tried the office out for the first time, and this afternoon Matthew gave me a block of time to work as well. So far in this office, I have edited an e-book (not mine), recorded a movement meditation (that one’s mine, and more on that soon), created the beginnings of a new website, and danced for half an hour.

…Most of which I’d been planning to do for the past month or more. Clearing the guest room and making physical space for my work is allowing me to clear out my back-logged to-do list and make energetic space for more creativity and bigger projects.

YES.

This is my magic room, my business sanctuary, the place where Creations Will Be Made Real. I’ve only been in here for a couple of days, but I pretty much never want to leave.

SO HAPPY in my office space…and the cats seem happier too!

 

We’re going to have to find somewhere else to keep the shopping cart…

Dancing Words (a Bodyness Blog Wave post)

 

Two of my favourite things in the world are dancing and writing.

When I dance, I love the feeling of my body moving through space, the stretch of my muscles, the flow of my breath. When I am grounded, centred, and completely IN my body, I feel connected not only to my deepest core, but to the whole of the Universe. My cells dance in time to the rhythm of creation as I express my soul through movement.

When I’m writing, I can get to a place of similar flow and connection. Words I didn’t know I contained flow through my hands and appear on the screen. Images and phrases that delight and astonish me suddenly appear unbidden. My story emerges, dancing with the rhythms of life.

Sometimes, dance and writing collide. While reading a written piece out loud, I come across a word that I particularly enjoy. I take a moment to feel the  shape of the word, to roll it around my mouth and appreciate the dance of speaking. Or, while dancing, a word will come to mind and shape my dance with its meaning.

There’s the dance of the written (or spoken) word…and words that shape the dance.

Below is a list of 16 of my favourite dancing words. These words dance as they are spoken…and they shape the dance I do. Today, I invite you to take a minute to fully appreciate these words. Read them aloud to yourself and appreciate the way your mouth moves to produce the sounds they make.

Feel the texture and rhythm of the sounds—the crisp report of a P or a T, for example, or the soft hiss of a “Sh”—and notice how they feel. Appreciate the marvel of a mouth that can form these sounds, the wonder of language.

 

(Feel free to download the picture so you can play with it whenever you want)

 

And then take another minute to dance your way down the list.

How does it feel to twirl? How is it different from oozing or striking? Move your way through the words and see how they translate into your body.

There is no wrong way to do this…no “good” or “bad.” There is only you, your breath, your body. Give yourself the gift of exploring and enjoying them today.

 

A nerdtastic birthday weekend! YES!

I started out my birthday weekend with a special treat: a night alone. Matty took off right after supper for Top Secret Birthday Errands and left me alone with the sleeping boy. I love my husband and I love spending time with him, and I missed him a lot…but sometimes it’s nice to have the house to myself (even with a sleeping boy on the monitor). Here is what most of my night looked like:

Yup, I’m working through the Right-Brain Business Plan…and this time I’m going to finish it! I made lots of progress on Friday, which was awesome. It felt like a birthday present.

On Saturday, Matthew had been planning to get up with us and make breakfast, but we had a ROUGH night on Friday night, and he only got about 2 hours of sleep before Xander and I got up. So I let him sleep and made a fabulous brunch for two.

Just for the record, I DO make nice circular pancakes...this was Xander's breakfast and he wanted one shaped like a pig. That was the best I could do!

I was pretty tired myself, so I lay on the sofa and watched movies (MY movies, not toddler movies) all morning. We watched Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and The Lake House, both of which I unabashedly adore. Xander played games on my computer because he thought my movies were boring…so we BOTH enjoyed ourselves!

Once Matthew got up, he revealed Part One of my birthday surprise: we were going out on a baby-free date for the afternoon! YAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!! (this was only the second time we’d managed to do this in THREE YEARS, so my excitement cannot be overstated). Matthew went to pick up our friends who were going to look after Xander, and I got ready:

Birthday Girl!

We took off and went to Moxie’s, which is one of our hands-down favourite places to eat. They’re not very kid-friendly, so we tend to avoid it when Xander’s around. It was AWESOME. The food was fantastic, and it was just so damn nice to be out together and be able to converse for more than 2 minutes without being interrupted.

After we finished (which took a while because we had appetizers AND dessert! And I entirely failed to photograph any of it!), we went to Best Buy and got me a new iPod. My old iPod, bless its heart, has been slowly decaying for some time now. It works, but is only audible only out of one earphone and at max volume. So we got me a new one.

Her name is Florence, and she has more memory than my computer’s hard drive.

Everyone, meet Florence. Florence, everyone. Isn't she pretty?

And then we went shopping for my other present: BRAS.

This may not sound exciting…but trust me, if you’d spent the past 3 years in hideous and unflattering nursing bras, the prospect of getting something adorable, supportive, and did I mention ADORABLE? would be enough to make you do a happy dance. Plus, my birthday happened to be their semi-annual bra-fitting clinic, which meant that I got bras that fit, I got 10% off because of my birthday, AND I got 40% off because of the clinic sale. So yeah…happy birthday to ME. They’re fabulous. And no, I’m not going to show you 😛

...OK, I'll show you a little bit. BOOOOOOBS.

And then we went home…and our friends had organized a Doctor Who themed costume party! For real! They even had a costume for me!

Xander as the Tenth Doctor, me as Donna Noble, Matthew as Rose Tyler. The rest of our friends: cropped out of the photo to protect the innocent 😛

 

They had individually hand-decorated paper cups to look like Daleks and TARDISes!

The TARDIS cups were great, but I think this Dalek was my favourite!

 

They got me a Doctor Who themed ice cream cake!

And one friend gave me my very own sonic screwdriver!

It was awesome. We had pizza and cake and after Xander went to sleep I got slightly tipsy on champagne. We played a Doctor Who trivia game that one friend created herself, and then we watched Star Trek IV, which was awesomely lame. It was the perfect nerdy night.

The next day was great too! I went to brunch with a dear friend at a fancy restaurant (Epicurious Morsels, in case you’re a Haligonian. Their brunch is DIVINE), and then we went shopping at some nearby boutiques. I got scented soap and candles just because. And my birthday weekend wound up with a dinner at the in-laws, where Xander got to play with his cousin Russell.

AND, to top everything off, I got flowers not once, but twice. A pot of beautiful pink azaleas from Matty, and a GORGEOUS fall bouquet from Xander’s Nana Terry.

Thank you, Nana Terry!

And that was how I wound up 30 and celebrated 31. It was awesome. I can’t think of a better way to launch into this new year…with family time, couple time, solo time, friend time, good food, great gifts, and a hilariously nerdy party. Perfect.

What’s one of YOUR top 5 birthdays? What constitutes an awesome birthday for you?