Saturday, April 27, 2013

WellX Article #39: On Presence in Parenting

Hi readers!

I know you want to read them here's a link to my first thirty-eight articles published by WellX here. Enjoy!

Our children are the best teachers when it comes to enjoying life in the present moment. They don't spend much time analyzing the past or trying to predict or worry about the future. We can learn a great deal from kids...and that is what this piece is all about.

My little guy Drew finding joy in ripping up  Kleenex!

I have been sharing my posts with WellnessX on a bi-weekly basis long time now...this is #39 (I'm a writer, not a math figure it out!)...and I am so happy that they continue to support me and my writing by sharing it with Wellness professionals across the globe.

Here's the link!

Thanks as always to Brad and Mel and everyone at WellnessX for continuing to share my work and for their on-going support and great work with the wellness community!



Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Only Way Out Is Through

"The most challenging times bring us the most empowering lessons."
 - Karen Salmansohn

We have this mindset here in North America that the best way to get through tough times is to remedy any bad feelings by stuffing them down or covering them up.

We use whatever our "drug of choice" is - be it actual drugs, alcohol, TV, food, sexual promiscuity, exercise, mask any bad feeling that we may have about what ails us.

Yes...even activities that are "good" for us - like working out and sleep - taken to extremes - become not so good for us.

Extreme behaviour, if taken on as avoidance "tools", is not healthy.

If you are going through stressful times - as we all do - addictive tendencies often pop up because we really have been socially programmed to keep up to the status keep on keeping on as mask any unpleasant symptoms in order to keep up with our busy lives.

But really, the only healthy way out of a difficult time - be it a health issue (physical, mental or both), a life-changing event such as loss of a loved one, or a job, a divorce, to bravely trudge THROUGH it.

Hey...I am apparently related to maybe I should listen to him!

Now I am not saying one should not take medication when needed or get sleep, or workout...of course!...but it is the EXTREME behaviours that people must be aware of.

In order to effectively deal with stressful situations, we have to be able to FEEL what we are feeling instead of masking our feelings; masking them constantly.

If we don't learn to deal with stress in healthy ways, the problem won't go away...only the SYMPTOMS will be covered up.

Self-care is something I write about a great deal on this bloggy-blog.

This is partly because I understand how easy it is to fall into addictive behaviours when I am feeling down or going though a particularly stressful time in my life - which seems like more often then not these days.

And I know I am not alone here.

Hence this post.

I wrote a post a while back entitled Your Lonely Addiction - that actually garnered a lot of attention from addicts, addiction professionals and even family members and loved ones of people going through rough times.

But addictive behaviour does not only come in the forms that we usually associate "addiction" with. Alcohol. Drugs. Eating disorders.

My vices?

Well...a few of them include emotional eating, bad TV, sleeping during the day and even too much time social media-ing  (I realize this is not a real word!).

Don't I know it!

Getting lost in these activities as avoidance mechanisms, rather than dealing with whatever it is that I really should be focusing on is not healthy if taken to extremes...and I too struggle.

Even writing is an escape for me. Albeit an often therapeutic and helpful one...sometimes I write when I should be focusing on other things. Yes...I procratiwrite.

Experts agree (and no, I am not one of these experts!) that the only way out is to walk through fire. I talked about this recently in Life is Like Photography. You need those negatives that life throws you in order to develop (and grow) into a fuller, happier person.

These hard times can sometimes be wake-up calls, or as Oprah likes to call them "A-ha" moments; moments or on-going struggles that mean we need to stop and re-evaluate where we need to go next in our journey that is our life.

Take down the umbrella and feel the rain.

And the only way do do this is to feel what you are feeling.

Take the bad with the good.

Instead of assuming that you are supposed to feel great all the time, realize that bad feelings can often be important catalysts for positive change - if we only take the time to feel them, understand them, walk through them and then make choices that bring us to a new and better place.

So next time you are feeling bad, instead of reaching for an instant gratification "fix", try to sit with your feelings. (Yes...much easier said...or written..than done!).

FEEL your feelings.

And ask yourself "What is my self...trying to tell me?

What is my this very moment...trying to TEACH me?

You may learn something very important.



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Highlight Reel

"The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel."
 - Steve Furtick

I recently read Steve Furtick's quote above and it caught my attention.

Being someone who is on the internet a fair bit - blogging, reading, networking, facebooking, tweeting, etc.  I ingest a lot of information about a lot of people on a daily basis.

Being an active participant in the blogosphere and in social networking, I write, I post stuff and I comment on things I find interesting, funny, noteworthy, inspiring, etc.

Where am I going with all of this?

Ummm...where was I going with this?

Well, Frank's quote really got me thinking.

We all have to remember that people get to pick and choose what they post and what they say on the internet.

Let's take me as an example - since I know myself better than anyone else.


 Well I will tell ya then!

Because I know everything that is beyond my "highlight reel".

And there it a lot in the beyond! this Hong Kong-based band guessed it!...

Now, of course there are people in my life that are very close to me - like my family and very close friends - who see more than what they see on this blog and on Facebook and Twitter, etc.

But we all compare ourselves to others. It is just human nature.

We just have to remember that when we compare ourselves to what people show of themselves on-line tend to be from their personal "highlight reel".

That's pageant queen!

Kind of like movies tell stories with the boring parts taken out, rarely do we share all that is real.

We show all that is "reel", if you will.

I could show you pictures of me first thing in the morning.

I could tell you intimate details of my most intimate relationships.

But I don't.

I try to be as real as I can...especially in my writing...but some things...some not for total and complete public consumption.

So if you think I have the perfect life, think again hon.

If you think I am a total beauty...think again.

We are all painters...and we all present "paintings", using light and dark brush strokes to present art to the world that represents not only who we are...but how we want to be perceived.

Some are braver than others.

Some seem to be able to shake their ego to the ground and bash vanity into the wall and let it all hang out.

The good, the bad and the ugly are exposed to the world and we are pulled into to their lives and enchanted by the artist's pure honesty.

I like to think I am getting there.

But I do have my "highlight reel" that I pull from...because I fear that letting all of me "hang out" will expose information about me and those I am closest to that I am not proud of...or that make me feel too vulnerable to show.

I don't like feeling too vulnerable.
Who does?

I also respect the privacy of the people I cherish.

I am the writer...the blogger...the social media queen. But not everyone is. Not everyone in my circle wants their dirty laundry hung out to dry for all to inevitably be subject to judgement.

Sorry. Very predictable photo choice.
Please don't judge me.

And so I keep on keeping on...but with each passing day, I am getting least with my own shit.

I am letting myself get more vulnerable.

I am communicating (I think!) that I have the same struggles, phobias, problems, issues, neuroses, muffin tops, etc. that many of you have.

These are the muffin tops I just referred to...of course!
(What did you think I meant???)

Sharing is a choice.

But the bottom line here is - stop comparing.

And start celebrating.

Woo hoo!

We are all different and if we were all the would be pretty frickin' boring.

As Katy Perry sings: "Baby you're a firework!"

That Katy is on to something!

I may just pull from my "lowlight reel" a little more often one of these days.

But until then...I just want you to know that comparing yourself to me or to anyone else is futile and just totally counter-productive.

Instead, if you are going to yourself today to the person you were yesterday.

If you are happy with what you see...then hon...

THAT is progress.



Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wellx Article #38: On Inspiring Instigation or Instigating Inspiration

Hi readers!

In case you are behind - and I know you aren't...I will point you in the direction of my first thirty-seven articles published by WellX here. I know. I am pretty predictable.

So...what comes first - inspiration or instigation? Does a worldly thought cause you to act, or do you just start and does inspiration follow?

Yup. Kinda like this old argument.

I have been sharing my posts with WellnessX on a bi-weekly basis long time now...this is #38 (I'm a writer, not a math figure it out!)...and I am so happy that they continue to support me and my writing by sharing it with Wellness professionals across the globe.

It's kind if inspiring. I just started writing...and the relationship just kind of revealed itself. And because WellnessX instigated the relationship, I because inspired to write more. Confused? Me too!

Here's the link!

Thanks as always to Brad and Mel and everyone at WellnessX for continuing to share my work and for their on-going support and great work with the wellness community!



Thursday, April 11, 2013


"When you aim for perfection, you discover it's a moving target."
 - Geoffrey F. Fisher

Not to be confused with wasabi - that avocado-coloured mushy, hot stuff that comes with your sushi (which, incidentally, I once confused for a big chunk of avocado and stuffed the entire pile into my mouth at once...ouch!), Wabi-sabi is something quite different.

Looks like avocado right?

Wabi-sabi is Japanese, however, but it has nothing to do with food.

Wabi-sabi - as I learned from writer Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Romancing the Ordinary, "is the Japanese sensibility that reveres the art of imperfection, as well as the paradox of the inevitability of mistakes.

Unlike feng shui, this state of mind requires only a shift in attitude - critical to complimentary - instead of furniture."

The concept - or inspiration - for wabi-sabi, come from the ever-changing looks that arise from Mother Nature.

As Sarah mentions, "the essence of beauty is the slender in the ordinary. The overlooked. The disregarded."

In short, "what's genuine is gloriously flawed."

What a concept!

And yet, I personally find it very interesting to compare and contrast this idea with current Japanese culture - possibly the only one where people work harder, have higher standards, take less vacations and expect near-perfection for their children in their studies - than we do in North America.

But let's get back to Wabi-sabi (which, by the way, I think would make an outstanding Star Wars character name!).

"I am Wabi-sabi...and I am Darth's cat!"

Ponder for a moment the beauty of the bonsai tree. With it's uneven, curled and leaning branches and askew leaves, in writing it sounds rather...well...kinda ugly.

Imperfectly beautiful!

But anyone who has ever seen a little bonsai understands immediately the beauty of their imperfections.

Wabi-sabi at it's best!

I write an article a while back for Yummy Mummy Club about Decorating with Nature. It seems I have been at one with the wabi-sabi thing for a while now without even knowing it!

Here are some more examples to better illustrate the concept of wabi-sabi:

In your own environment - in case you don't have a bonsai tree handy - take a look at your weathered harvest table that your family uses for meals, crafts, homework and what have you.

Once upon a time, it was flawless...but know it has scratches from dinky car races, indents from a pencil that was writing too hard, a water stain or three from spills and a few burn marks from that fun evening of fondue with friends when you forgot to put extra protection from the heat under the tablecloth.

We often call this patina. The Japanese may call it wabi-sabi.

I call it life in its natural form.

And perfectly imperfect.

Just like you.

And just like me.



Sunday, April 07, 2013

WellX Article #37: On Working

Yo peeps!

I know this is getting repetitive, but hey.

I will begin by pointing you in the direction of my first thirty-six articles published by WellX here.

I'm now back working full-time outside of my home...and I am happier for it.

I'm not doing what I thought I would be doing, nor at the level I thought I would be doing it...but it is something new and change...well...change is good.

Me at work. HA!

I am so happy to continue to work with WellnessX and share my thoughts with you and wellness professionals around the world.

This one is a little late getting to my blog...but hey...i've been busy...well...working!

Here's the link!

That's more like it!
Except for the bubble gum.
And the pearls.

Thanks as always to Brad and Mel and everyone at WellnessX for continuing to share my work and for their on-going support and great work with the wellness community!



Thursday, April 04, 2013


"Energy is the essence of life. 
Decide how you're going to use it by knowing what you want."
 - Oprah Winfrey

Yes peeps, I'm an Oprah fan.

And for those of you who are also fans, you have probably heard her talk about "Aha!" moments.

These are moments when you have little epiphanies about life.

Something...anything...causes you to stop in your tracks and say "Aha! So that is what that means!" or "Aha! That is what the feeling has been trying to tell me!" Etc...etc.

I have a couple of little stand-up letters sitting on a shelf in my living/dining room. They are actually letters left-over from letters that used to stand on a shelf in my son Noah's room spelling out his name: NOAH.

Here they are!

The letters are simply "AH"... or "HA"... depending on the day.

When I feel the need to remind myself to relax...I place them to read "AH". As in "AHHHHH...just breathe." Or "AHHHHH...just be." Or "AHHHHH...just take a few moments to relax."


When I feel the need to enjoy the moment more or need a reminder to experience more joy...I place them in the opposite order to read "HA". As in " is funny!" Or "HA...laugh more!" Or  " ain't so bad!"

Ha ha ha!!!

Either way, I usually see these letters and think of both. I read them forwards and backwards to get "AH-HA!" I need to relax and laugh and enjoy and life in the moment and experience feelings in life both good and bad.

Now, I could take the other letters I have leftover from "NOAH" now that I think about it.

I could place these letters to read "NO"... as in "NO...don't think negative thoughts!" Or  "NO...don't take on things that don't need to be taken on." Or "NO... don't eat that extra cookie or four!" Or  "NO... I am not going to say "yes" to something that I don't really want or need to do."

Or...I could turn them around to read "ON". As in "ON with what you really need to get done." Or "It is ON!" Or "Get ON with can do it!" Or as Noah would say, "Rock ON!"

Noah: "Rock ON!!!"

Who knew that the letters in my son's name could be so inspirational and thought-provoking!??!?

Really...all of these reminders are little "AH-HA!" moments.

Yes, I have added a letter to Oprah's famous "AHA!"...but hey, I only have so many letters to work with...and you have to work with what you have!

I suppose I could steal a letter from my other son's name "Julian" to add that extra "A" to the mix...but his are in a different shape and colour...and I like consistency!

The point of all of this is that we all need little reminders in life.

We all need occasional wake-up calls to stop and remind ourselves what is important.

I love these!!! I want one!

Actually, I always wear my three boys' initials on tiny pendants around my neck.
You can't really see them here...but that is what I am wearing in this photo.
They are called "love letters" with good reason.

We need to always keep our priorities in check. And this is just one little way that I do this.

I also have a little "thing" for letters and words and phrases and quotes. I am drawn to anything I can place around my home that give me little reminders of what life is all about.

Like these little stones...

Another example is the "R" that currently hangs in our kitchen.

The kitchen being the "heart of the home" seemed like a good place to hang the letter that reminds us that we are a family. The Rossi family. Hence the "R".

I also have a few throw pillows with simple words on them

One simply has the word "happiness" on one side and the French equivalent 'bonheur" on the other.

The other has "rejuvenate" on both sides.

I usually switch around the location of these little pillows. Currently, the 'happiness/bonheur' one is in my living room. A reminder to be happy. And also a little French lesson for my boys.

My "rejuvenate" one is in my bedroom. For obvious reasons.

When I took this photo of my living room it was on my couch.
If you look closely you can see it!

I have a few little "plaques" in my home.

On reads: "If you're going to fight, use pillows".

A fun reminder to by playful instead of fighting with mean words my boys' case instead of with punches and throwing things! LOL

Another one reads: "I love to cook with wine sometimes. I even put it in the food."

Just a fun one to remind myself that it is OK to enjoy a glass of wine once in a while...which I rarely do anymore of late.

My sweet mom recently bought me a lovely little white sign that reads "You are my sunshine".

This is because I sing this song to my boys. My sons are also my "suns"...and when I look at this sign I am reminded of how lucky I am to have them...and my my life. It currently sits atop my writing desk.

Kinda like this, but in white and much simpler and nicer!

I even have a little sign in my kitchen that simply reads "Espresso". A nod to my husband's Italian heritage and to our love of a nice cup of coffee.

I could go on...but I'll stop there.

Being a writer, I love words and the inspiration they bring. I even have had dreams of opening up a store simply called "WORDS"...that would sell anything and everything - from signs, letters, home decor items, quote decals and posters and art...all dedicated to words.

Hey...maybe one day.

But for now...I take my love of words...and put them together on my page...or my inspire both myself...and

And I leave you with a few words from a man who can rock a red "banana sling" like nobody else I know:

There he is with his famous "accessory"!

"Word up!"

Or as I like to say a little more simply: