Breathe Now and Forever Hold Your Peace
This weekend I was reminded of a very important thing that I haven’t done in a really long time…I was reminded to breathe! This may seem like such a simple concept but it’s not as easy as it sounds and we rarely stop in our busy and hectic lives to just sit and take in how great it feels to breathe. Especially as women, we feel we have to take on so many different roles in life: wife, mother, co-worker, business entrepreneur, chauffeur, chef, entertainer etc. etc. and somewhere in the middle of all of this, the act of the breathing gets lost or forgotten…and it’s the most important thing we NEED to do!!
I was fortunate enough (thanks to UsedVictoria who were also there providing a relaxing lounge for people to breathe in) to attend an amazing conference held in my hometown Victoria and the event, fittingly enough, was titled “Breathe Now.” Over the two day event, women from all walks of life came together to focus on themselves and learn ways of breathing more in every aspect of their lives. Not only did I learn some valuable information to help balance my life and live in the moment but I also got a free day pass away from dirty diapers, cleaning up messes and chasing my very mobile son around for hours on end (I’m not saying I don’t love all these things…I do! But as most of you moms out there will agree, sometimes you just need a day or two to recharge and take time for yourself as an adult!)
So what did I learn this weekend at Breathe Now? Well, the first workshop I attended was titled “It’s Okay…to Dress for Success” where fashion consultant Bonnie Pollard taught me how to finally reorganize my wardrobe and purge my closet of everything that no longer fits or that I simply don’t wear. I’ve been wanting to do this forever!
Now I’m sure we can all take a look in our closets and find several pieces of clothing that we never wear but swear we someday will. Like the pair of neon orange hammer pants from 1991 that we’re so sure will come back in style again soon or the lumberjack shirt from our grunge years that is just soooo comfy and brings back wonderful memories of listening to Nirvana and judging society every time we wear it. I’m sorry, but you need to let these items go! Turns out that when it comes to clothing and putting together outfits, less is more! (I know you fashionistas and shopaholics out there are gasping and shouting, “that is sacrilege” but it’s true) Bonnie taught us our lives will become much less complicated and getting dressed will be less stressful if we narrow down our wardrobe to a few pieces that can be worn in many different ways. Her philosophy is the less clothing we have in our closet, the better chance we will wear clothing that actually fits us and makes us feel good about ourselves.
Here’s the challenge she gave us: Take EVERYTHING out of your closet and divide the items into piles such as tops, pants, cardigans etc. Then go through each pile and throw out anything that you haven’t worn in a year or maybe have too many of. Nobody needs six black cardigans which is what I found in my closet this weekend! Next, organize the piles in your closet by these categories so you actually know what you have to wear. I’m telling you, I did this a couple of days ago and I could feel oxygen filling my lungs with each hanger I freed up! Plus, it’s so much easier to get dressed now that I can actually see what I have and know that it actually fits me well.
Another inspiring workshop I attended was called “It’s Okay…to Create Your Own Destiny” in which Rita Chand told us about her inspiring journey of she hugging a different person each day for 365 days! This challenge forced her to get out of her comfort zone and actually live in each moment because no matter how she was feeling, she had to make sure to complete her goal each day and approach someone for a hug. This really got me thinking about how much time we spend either thinking of the past or planning for the future (particularly making lists in our heads of things we need to do…I am notorious for doing this all the time!) and never really taking time to actually live in the present and take in what is actually going on around you right now.
I was at boot camp yesterday morning (at 6am!!! Ouch!) and as we were lying on our yoga mats doing stretches, I consciously decided to just look up at the sky and take in the beautiful morning as the sun peeked through the clouds. Normally I would use this time to figure out my day and the million things I NEEDED to get done that day but instead I just looked and breathed and I’m telling you, it was soooooo wonderful. I felt refreshed and it gave me the recharging I needed to actually tackle the daily chores.
The highlight of my weekend was hearing (and meeting) Canadian singer Bif Naked give a keynote address. Like the other workshops I attended, she spoke about really taking time for ourselves in life and connecting with others in a positive way. My favorite point she made is that everyone is born into the world optimistic and that somehow we lose this pure optimism as we get older. It made me think of my 11-month-old son and how I find him in his crib every morning grinning from ear to ear and ready to start the day, filled with excitement over the possibilities of the day. I want to try to be that way every morning too! (Well, at least after I’ve had my cup of coffee…I’m sorry but that’s just never going to change. Those who have seen me pre-coffee can attest to this.)
I think it’s important to be reminded of the little things in life that really make us feel happy and at peace with ourselves and this conference was exactly the kick in the pants (don’t worry, no one actually kicked me at the conference…I go to boot camp for that! lol) I needed to regroup, reorganize and take time to breathe and take life in as it happens. I hope passing along what I learned this weekend will also help remind you to breathe…How about giving it a try right now?
Coupon Tip of the Week: I want to remind everyone to try to wait on using coupons until the item goes on sale so you can get the best deal or even get the item for free. I almost made this mistake this week. I had two coupons I could stack which totalled $8 but the item wasn’t on sale and cost $12 so I would still be paying $4. Since my coupons don’t expire until July and I really didn’t need this item right away, I suddenly realized it would be best to keep these coupons and wait until the item went on sale, saving me more money.