Why I Ran From My Troubles Today

I’m  not doing it today; I don’t care; I’m too tired; I don’t feel well…
Those are only some of the excuses going through my head all day at the thought of running after work. Hips aching, and shin-splints still pinching from my last run on Monday, I forced myself to suit-up and set out – I didn’t expect much, a sorry excuse for an attempt only to get too cold and go home.

As I made my way down the street, my inner monologue bitching and moaning louder than the headphones in my hears, I BARELY made it through my warm up and first 60-second jog, when  I encountered a red light. Oh. My. God. Seriously! Was all I could think. Wiggling and bobbing against the chilly early evening, I waited for that little white man to give me the all clear to cross.

And as he did, my experience changed.

Trodding through the crosswalk, I crossed paths with an old Indian woman. She met my eyes, and as I smiled politely (an almost half-sneer), she returned with the most genuine smile I had seen all day, and a “hello, how are you?” So generous was the smile in that strangers eyes, as I passed her all my pent-up crankiness melted away.

Alone now, sun sinking low in the sky, stars beginning to poke out high above, sidewalk below me, and the cold February air all around, I found my stride.  Each lamp post I passed, a goal-marker high-fiving me as I jogged by. One more, just one more light post became my mantra. Even as the coach in my ear’s told me I was finished and could cool down, the voice in my head, now a motivator, pushed: 

One more light post, just one more.

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

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My Musical Education – Part I

Working a close shift tonight, I had a rare chance to do something – create my own playlist. It is not very often that I am given the opportunity to listen to, and enjoy, the contents of my iPod while I am at work, all thanks to satellite radio.

Weird has so often been the adjective used to describe my musical tastes over the years. Almost always do I steer away from mainstream and instead search for lesser known jewels, letting my ears, heart and soul do the driving. 

While some may describe my tastes as weird, or “hipster-esque,” I prefer to use the terms eclectic, unique, and awesome. I’ve never been disappointed by ‘random finds.’ Some have turned out to be musical legends, while others have remained quiet favourites. Musical tastes ebb and flow like the changing of the tides. From country and rock inspired one day, to indie and dance the next. Below is a look at five artists that made an impact on my day:

Journey
With classic ballads like Don’t Stop (Believin’) and Faithfully, how could anyone not love this band. Even the permanent departure of lead singer Steve Perry in 1998 hasn’t stopped these legends of classic rock from touring and recording.

Wakey!Wakey!
Mike Grubbs’ guest starring role on One Tree Hill in 2009 is where I was first introduced to the soulful lyrics of Wakey!Wakey! Car Crash and 1876 – The Brooklyn Theatre Fire from the album Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said The Last Time I Saw You are examples of singing out your feelings – So now you are hurt, And you’re sure I could not be hurt too, And just because you’re bleeding, You think that I’m not bleeding, And just because you’re full of yourself, Doesn’t mean I’m not full of you…

Travis
I was first introduced to Travis in 1999 while staying in England. Their single Why Does it Always Rain On Me was in heavy rotation on every music channel and radio station.
Still able to escape modern mainstream ‘garbage’ that fills today’s radio and television airwaves, the album The Invisible Band boasts songs such as Flowers in the Window and Side, but it’s the chilling Humpty Dumpty Love Song that completes the album for me.
All of the king’s horses and all of the king’s men, Couldn’t pull my heart back together again, All of the physicians andmathematicians too, Failed to stop my heart from breaking in two…

Mozella
With her high voice, cheery and yet soulful songs, you can just sense she’s cute as a button! Introduced to her by a former coworker, I’ve found many a contemplative evening listening to songs such as I Will, Amnesia, and Going Home
“Give me a reason to love you, give me a reason not to go, and this might sound crazy, but I’ve loved you all along, so just humor my senses, as I sing this song, to you…”

Young the Giant
My first reaction to hearing the song Cough Syrup was that it sounds like something straight out of a John Hughes movie (Breakfast Club anyone?). Lead singer Sameer Gadhia’s voice is a cross between peppy 80’s pop and moody 50’s blues. And the entire self-titled album is no joke either, additional tracks worth mentioning include I Got, Guns Out, and Your Side. Also worth a look are their “In the Open” video series on YouTube.
What’s made an impact on your day? 

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox 

Advice From Somewhere

I found this list entitled Advice From Somewhere (my apologies to the original author, I do not remember where I came across it), over the summer. In the midst of setback after setback, I was having trouble existing. I found that many of the advice’s on the list were things I tried very hard to life by already. I was raised in the religion of be nice to others, and don’t talk with your mouth full. I believe in love. And I believe, still, that love conquers all. 

ONE.Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
TWO.Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
THREE.Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.
FOUR.When you say, “I love you,” mean it.
FIVE.When you say, “I’m sorry,” look the person in the eye.
SIX.Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
SEVEN.Believe in love at first sight.
EIGHT.Never laugh at anyone’s dreams. People who don’t have dreams don’t have much.
NINE.Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it’s the only way to live life completely.
TEN.In disagreements, fight fairly. Please No name calling.
ELEVEN.Don’t judge people by their relatives.
TWELVE.Speak slowly but think quickly.
THIRTEEN.When someone asks you a question you don’t want to answer, smile and ask, “Why do you want to know?”
FOURTEEN.Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
FIFTEEN.Say “bless you” when you hear someone sneeze.
SIXTEEN.When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
SEVENTEEN.Remember the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.
EIGHTEEN.Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
NINETEEN.When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
TWENTY.Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
TWENTYONE.Spend some time alone.

Twenty one simple truths about life. 

What are some advice’s you would pass on?

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

Monday’s Mean Reds

At work, among ticking clocks, beeping equipment, cranky coworkers, and a strict, looming deadline. 

It is 930am and I am stressed out. Already.

Sitting in “my” cramped office (which I share with 8 others, including two of my bosses), sipping on STRONG espresso, struggling through a never-ending pile of Monday paperwork, the parade of people who needed a piece of me seemed endless (in-and-out-in-and-out-in-and-out-in-and-out). Only four hours into my day, and I cant WAIT(!) to go home. 

For those of you familiar with Truman Capote’s Holly Golightly, you know all to well what I am referring to:

Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul Varjak: The mean reds. You mean like the blues?
Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat, and maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid, and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

Boy, do I ever!
A bad case of the Mean Reds had a hold of me, and was not prepared to let go.

Bonus. I had my iPod on.

Bon Iver’s Holocene was a pleasant distraction.
This beautiful song (you can view the striking video below) automatically brought to mind images of calm.
A deep breath, I became centered. And, for a brief moment, it ceased to be Monday.

For most of my life, I would allow those moments of stress, those mean reds, rule me. They made my day, and I was powerless to change that. I have learned that powerlessness is never an option. By failing to make a choice, I have (essentially) chosen to fail. Becoming more present in daily life is like going for a good, long run. Only I can do it, but the rewards for doing so are exponential. I feel better about myself. People notice when I’m there and not just going through the motions and they, in turn, respond more positively. 

Taking that moment (or five, thanks to Bon Iver) to breathe and visualize calm in my chaotic environment, was an investment in the future productivity of my day.

I encourage you to take a moment for yourself. Feel your feelings. Experience your breath. Visualize calm among the bedlam. Center yourself, and then continue on. 

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox 

Dark Roman Wine, and Awakenings in the Shower

Source Unknown

I always seem to do my best thinking either in the shower or as I am just about to fall asleep. There’s something about the water beating down on me and the close, warm, slightly darkened quarters that prompts deep moments of reflection. It is in these moments that I have made life-altering, soul-changing realizations.

While taking a quiet moment this morning, listening to Snow Patrol’s Dark Roman Wine, I suddenly heard a small, almost childlike voice in my head repeating the lyrics back to me, like a mantra for the day ahead: I will hang on the hook of your splendor, As the night rolls us up in its arms, And the square of your thumbs and your fingers, Is the blanket of sky that’s so warm…An incredible song by Snow Patrol, to be sure, and a beautiful message to start the day.

Listening to the arrangement below, from Royal Albert Hall in 2009, with it’s haunting organ accompanied to Gary Lightbody`s electrifying voice, I can’t help but close my eyes. As the song builds (The wind shakes the branches above us, And the cars shake the ground at our backs, But the dark roman wine in our bloodstreams, Makes the cold just a word, just a sound…), free of a heavily drummed climax, it rather drifts peacefully towards its end.

It was during my shower “meditation” this morning, that I made a not-so-sudden realization. Everything I have done thus far in my life has been to please (in one form or another) someone else; a parent, teacher, co-worker, employer, friend, boyfriend, etc. And, as a result, I have often felt inadequate, not good enough, and that I was in competition with those around me.

This was not my realization.

What I came to realize is this: The more time I spend alone with myself – in silence – the more I KNOW not only that I am good enough for the world around me, but that I am actually a force of positive energy for the universe!

Just over a year ago, I was overwrought with anxiety and stresses, I couldn’t stand to be alone with myself in a room without the TV on or music playing. I was so trapped within myself, I didn’t know up from down, left from right. Going through the motions of daily life, I was spiraling, content with mediocrity. And then the bottom fell out. My relationship ended suddenly, and I was alone again. I had two choices: (ONE) Live the victim “why does everything always happen to me?”  -OR- (TWO) Grieve, accept the cards I was dealt, and try to move on.

I chose TWO

Pulling yourself up is never an easy task, it’s sometimes more overwhelming than the fall. When I got up (and it was a slooooooooooooooowwwwwwww, and still on-going process), I felt more like me than ever before. I’ve embraced my spirituality. Some days I talk to God, others I talk to myself through meditation. Every day is an opportunity for learning. I am learning how to be on my own, and how to do big, exciting, sometimes scary things on my own, embracing the life I was given.

Writing this post to you now, I am surrounded by the gentle humming of my computer, the clicking of my fingers on the keyboard, my own breath, the imaginary sound of my laundry tumbling in dryer next door, and I am filled with peace.

I am alone in my own company and it is peaceful.

Peace and Love to you all,
Mandixoxox 

What’s Inspiring Me, Right Now – February

Inspiration is all around me. Always. From the sights and sounds of my neighbourhood to the walls of my apartment, and infinity of cyberspace. Music is a constant inspiration and motivating force in my life, in a previous post, I provided a list of albums currently in my iPod, now I’d like to share with you five nearly random things that have inspired and motivated me so far in 2012:

His Holiness The Dalai Lama (http://www.facebook.com/DalaiLama)
I subscribe to his Twitter, Google+ and Facebook feeds, which are ripe with heartwarming quotes and pictures that will really make you think. A recent post reads:
 “Education and knowledge by themselves do not bring inner peace to individuals, families or the society in which they live. But education combined with warmheartedness, a sense of concern for the well-being of others, has much more positive results. If you have a great deal of knowledge, but you’re governed by negative emotions, then you tend to use your knowledge in negative ways. Therefore, while you are learning, don’t forget the importance of warmheartedness.”

Kandee Johnson (http://www.facebook.com/kandeethemakeupartist)
Makeup artist, Craftsperson, Blogger, Vlogger, Mom, and Cheerleader to all, Kandee puts a smile on my face every day. Whether through her makeup and hair tutorials, craft videos, or just with an “I believe in you” status update, Kandee aims to reach out to everyone and add a little beauty to every one’s day.
Follow her on Facebook (link above), her “mommy” blog (http://www.kandeej.com), her beauty and craft blog (http://www.kandeeland.com/), or on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/kandeejohnson?feature=watch)

Encouragement
Perhaps it’s silly for a word to make the list. It’s more than just a word, though, it’s an fantastic support system of friends, family, and neighbours who have gotten me from where I was to where I am. And, where I am today, is writing to all of you! It’s probably a little crass to just assume these people know who they are, so I will take a short moment in a future post to give each of them a little shout out.

Getting Physical
I’ve never been in amazing shape, and that’s suited me just fine – to a point.
In May 2011, I participated in the Bluenose Marathon 10K. I finished just shy of 2 hours (!!) I would have to say that I was probably in the worst shape of my life then, physically and emotionally. After several setbacks between May 2011 and January 2012, I’ve recommitted myself to getting, and staying more active. With the help of my cousin, Sheldon, I started The Biggest Loser Boot Camp (http://www.thebiggestloser.info/the-biggest-loser-workout.html), as well as skating and swimming regularly – all in preparation for Bluenose 2012, where I am hoping to shave at least 60 minutes from my finish time.

Doctor Who (http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/dw)
Yes, the sci-fi BBC show originally from the 1960’s is a major source of inspiration to me! I have been watching the current incarnation of The Doctor (which began airing in 2005) since August. There is something whimsical about the story in general: a man with no name, and a face that changes, travelling through time and space saving the universe from infinite beings and almost always without weapons. I’ve always had a fascination with the night sky, and all the things up there – all the possibilities. It truly puts life into perspective.

What’s inspiring you right now? Tell me in the comments below

Peace and Love to you all,
Mandixoxox 

Hello Sweetie!

Hey Y’all, and welcome to my first ever Blog post, on my first ever blog!
I am so excited to be able to share my inner most thoughts, feelings, and opinions on life, love, and the pursuit of personal oneness. If you’re reading this, I hope that you will click the “follow” button, or subscribe to my updates so that you can come along with me on this journey. 

For this, my inaugural post, I thought I would share a little about myself:

Rapidly approaching 30, I am single and often without direction in my life. Childless, a (newly) part time student and full-time friend, I want the same things we all do: love, acceptance, peace, and above all, happiness!
Artistically minded but spiritually driven.

ALWAYS in search of a new favourite band!! Music is, for me, one of the greatest forms of self expression. I may not always be able to find the right words to express a thought or an emotion, but I can always find the perfect song!
What albums are in my iPod right now?? Here are but a few… (I will probably make some playlists, and post them on here):

  • Adele – 21
  • The Arkells – Jackson Square
  • Band of Horses – Cease to Begin
  • The Beatles –  Abbey Road
  • Bon Iver
  • Childish Gambino – CAMP
  • City and Colour – Little Hell & Bring Me Your Love
  • The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
  • Foster the People – Torches
  • The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang
  • Karmin
  • Kings of Leon – Only By The Night
  • Mumford and Sons – Sigh No More
  • Muse – The Resistance
  • One Republic – Waking Up
  • Pink Floyd – Echoes
  • Ray LaMontagne – Gossip in the Grain
  • The Script – Science & Faith
  • Snow Patrol – Discography, I cannot get enough of them!!
  • The Stills – Oceans Will Rise
  • Train – Save Me San Francisco
  • Travis – The Invisible Band
  • The Trews – Friends and Total Strangers
  • Wakey!Wakey! – Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said The Last Time I Saw You

What’s in your iPod?

What am I going to write about?
A melange of things. From music and make up, to politics and fashion, poetry, observations on life, motivation, inspiration and everything in between. I am going to document my journey from 29 and aimless, to 30 and thriving! It is my hope that I will write something that others will want to read! 

Please, share your thoughts by commenting below. I look forward to each new follower, and writing each new post.
Peace and Love to you all,
Mandixoxox