Peace in Pieces

If I close my eyes, get very quiet and still, and work to slow my breath—matching the length of each inhale and exhale, I can faintly remember what my life was like before COVID. Before the masks and the constant hand sanitizing; before others didn’t look at me suspiciously as though I too may be ‘infected’ everywhere I went; before I didn’t need to answer a lengthy series of questions in order to send my kids to school; before human contact and connection held a much higher value in our society; before we were all indoctrinated to believe we need to live in a constant state of fear for our lives; before I knew what is was like to never be alone. If you told me one year ago how much our lives could change in the blink of an eye, I would not have believed you.

For those who do not know me very well, I am both an introvert and a homebody. And while it may not seem like a big deal, the adjustments of our family’s ‘new normal’ meant sharing my precious personal time and space, with little to no reprieve—EVER. My husband took over my home office as his satellite workplace one year ago and our two kids have completed two lengthy rounds of home schooling in the past 12 months, making our kitchen their classroom. On top of the additional stress the pandemic has brought to us all as a collective, these factors have been extremely challenging for me. Public health restrictions encouraging people to stay at home, except for essentials, only further aggravated my difficulty, leaving daily dog walks as my only escape from the constant barrage of chaos and noise in my environment. 

Not long after the first round of stay-at-home orders were introduced in Alberta last spring, I turned to puzzle making, both as a way to pass the seemingly endless hours I suddenly had available, as well as to disassociate myself from the sensory overload I was experiencing. I am extremely sensitive to sound, and with the accoustics in our home taking noise levels to an all-time high, I needed something to keep me from jumping out of my own skin. Looking back on those early days of lockdown, puzzle making was much more than a distraction or time waster, though. It was an attempt to control at least one thing in my life in a time when absolutely everything seemed wildly out of control. Puzzle making became my escape and therapy.

Loss of control is always the source of fear. It is also; however, always the source of change.

James Frey

Since building approximately 15 puzzles over the past year, I’ve come to expect a certain level of comfort in the formulaic predictability of the process. I always start by separating the edge pieces from the others, subsequently creating piles to group like colours together. Next, I work on completing the frame because it makes sense to my brain to have this predictable framework from which to build the remainder of the puzzle.  

Time after time and puzzle after puzzle, I carefully and methodically joined the oddly shaped pieces together to create some sort of order from chaos, both internal and external. I would get lost in a flow state for hours. Channeling my time, energy, and attention into finding where each piece fit, knowing there was only one correct answer and one definitive solution, 1,000 piece puzzles became my drug of choice for combatting anger, frustration, boredom, and powerlessness. 

Then something strange happened… 
After experiencing the euphoric delight of completing the first few puzzles, I became so attached to the notion of completing these beautiful pictures that the universe thought it best to throw me a giant curveball that made me reconsider my entire approach to not just puzzling, but also to life. 

Thanks to several missing puzzle pieces, mostly compliments of a mischievous puppy who will chew and eat anything he can get in his mouth, I had no choice but to come face to face with my fixation on perfection, completion, totality and wholeness; the belief my worth is directly tied to my ability to uphold these impossible standards and, conversely, my worth erodes dramatically when I fail. My mind became a warzone of constant worry and self-judgment after investing countless hours into these creations only to repeatedly learn they would never be entirely whole and fully complete. I remember so clearly the all-consuming awful feelings of anxiety I was not only creating, but also fully participating in by allowing myself to get pulled back into this vicious loop of lies, time and time again. The activity of puzzling, which I had come to enjoy so deeply, was also taunting me and wreaking havoc on my psyche. The pattern of lost and damaged pieces was repeated several times with each subsequent puzzle, and each time my habitual negative response was a slap in the face that stung more and left a deeper pinkish-red mark. I died 1,000 deaths every time I came to the end of the puzzle I was working on only to realize I would never have the satisfaction of truly completing it, or it was otherwise tainted by one or more damaged pieces. 

Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.

Wayne Dyer

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while—teetering on the brink of nearly 11 months, but I’ve come to see how I wasn’t ready until now. I hadn’t assimilated the lessons puzzling so graciously offered: the subtle shift of allowing versus controlling, the distinct advantage of going with the flow, and the decision to stay present to whatever your current reality may be, regardless of weather you perceive what’s happening as good or bad. 

I suppose there is something to be said for sitting with what is uncomfortable, rather than numbing out, distracting oneself, or engaging in spiritual bypassing. The seemingly simple action of letting oneself steep in discomfort is integral to the ability to see life clearly and to building the capacity to experience life fully, including the huge range of ups and downs. It is in this process of steeping that the seeds of change begin to bear fruit.

With some time and distance in between—more steeping than time, really, I’ve come back down to earth to remember who I am and why I am here. Puzzling reminded me about how identifying too strongly with the ego never leads to anything good, how excessive attachment to objects of desire or specific outcomes can be very detrimental to one’s wellbeing, and even how aversion or avoidance of what you don’t want leads to tremendous suffering. 

Having been an active participant in perpetuating my own suffering for so long has been quite a puzzling experience, but I am eternally grateful to have stumbled upon these clues that pointed me toward finding my peace in all the pieces.

Extreme Makeover: Pantry Edition

A few weeks ago, I boldly showed off my drawers. To be clear, I showed the insides of my makeup drawers after a fit of purging and organizing induced by the first full moon of 2020.

At the time, the energy of cleansing, purging, and release hit me like a tidal wave (as in I chose to catch that wave and go with its flow, rather than go down like a sinking ship), and this very same energy has carried me through January. Back when I showed the world my drawers I also declared my pantry was next up on my list for a complete overhaul, and I’m here to tell you, with much pride and excitement, I’ve followed through with my intention to do just that.

Let me start by saying that I am no expert in the organization department. While I am a true Virgo at heart and I certainly appreciate the finer details of organizational systems and processes, I’ve never been great at creating those very systems in the first place. And after many failed attempts at organizing the items in my walk-through pantry, I essentially conceited defeat and threw in the proverbial (dish) towel. I distinctly remember the moment when I realized keeping my pantry neat and organized had become an exercise in futility. My kids were around one and three years of age, and at the time I knew I needed to choose my battles carefully. In other words, I was a working mother with two young kids and I only had so much energy to go around (and so many flips to give). My pantry was one of the things I decided to stop obsessing about, and I simply let it go.

Over the past ten or so years my pantry and all its contents grew increasingly unruly. After all these years of neglect, it became an overgrown jungle of pasta, rice, cereal, dry and canned goods, and the occasional half-eaten bag of chips that got tossed in willy-nilly, never to be found again, or at least not until well after the bag’s expiration date. Each time I went to look for something I needed, I would wince and my right eye would twitch a little. That is, until I pretty much stopped caring all together, as you can see in the photo below. (Ack, it’s such a mess!)


I recently came across some photos of beautifully organized pantries on Instagram (the kind pantry dreams are made of) and I got a little insta-jelly. But thankfully that was just the kick in the pants I needed to do something. So I set to work researching online the various products available, and came up with a plan to restore order in my pantry.

After much deliberation, I ended up choosing Rubbermaid Brilliance containers, which boast an airtight seal, stack-ability, a wide variety of canister sizes/sets, and an overall simple and clean design esthetic. I started out with one 10-piece set (purchased from Amazon) and an additional 4-piece set (purchased from Bed, Bath & Beyond with a 20% off coupon), which I planned to use as the starting point for my pantry project, along with some Mason jars and baskets I already had on hand. I may end up purchasing additional Rubbermaid Brilliance storage pieces in the future, but we’ll see.

Other items I purchased to complete my pantry overhaul included:

  • Two rolls of Con-Tact® Grip 12-Inch x 15-Foot Non-Adhesive Ultra Shelf Liner
  • Two medium sized Spectrum Diversified Scoop stacking storage baskets
  • One SimpleHouseware stackable can rack organizer
  • And although my spices are not technically part of my pantry, I also purchased a set of 12 (4 oz) square jars with chalkboard labels to help me clean up my spice cupboard.


Following is the basic process I followed:

  • Take an “inventory” of what I had on hand to determine how many storage containers and what other types of organization products I would need. This step also required taking measurements of the shelf space.
  • Source and/or place orders for pantry organization products and food storage containers. Upon arrival, unbox and wash new containers thoroughly in hot, soapy water.
  • Remove everything from pantry, one shelf at a time. This is a great time to check expiration dates and dispose of anything that’s out of date or will no longer be used. If food is still good and just not something your family will use, consider donating to a local food bank.
  • Do a thorough clean (wipe and/or sweep) the shelves to remover any residue, crumbs or debris.
  • Organize all food items into “like” groups and categories: baking ingredients, pasta and noodles, rice, cereal, etc.
  • Cut strips of shelf liner material to size for each shelf.
  • Transfer dry goods out of packaging into storage containers.
  • Place food back into pantry, keeping in mind regularly used items should be more centrally located. Items that don’t get used as much can be placed on higher or lower shelves. This step may entail some trial and error to determine what works best for you on a daily basis, so don’t be afraid to start somewhere and make changes as you go.

I’m so very happy with the way my pantry turned out! Here are some pics of the finished product:


I know this post may seem entirely out of character; like it doesn’t jive with the type of content I normally post on my blog. Despite how it may appear, there is something deeper going on. If you read my last post, Sacred, you may recall how I chose that as the word I would use to guide me with the intention of bringing depth and greater meaning to my life this year. Indeed, in these first few weeks of 2020, I have been focused on creating routines that honour my sacred nature, specifically those that nurture my mental and physical health and overall wellbeing. And knowing myself as I do, I’ve come to understand the importance of order, cleanliness, and organization in my world. In fact, these qualities are so important to me that I would go so far as to call them, sacred.

Sure, the pretty pantry pics I found initially inspired me based on their functional beauty and esthetic appeal, but I wanted to tackle mine because I see it everyday, and its previous disarray was negatively affecting my mental state. I would become mildly annoyed and even agitated as I walked by or through it multiple times a day. Over time, the frustration grew to the point where I could no longer stand it. This is but one small example of how outer order plays a huge role in creating inner calm, or conversely, how chaos in my physical environment (in this case, my pantry) was causing me to feel mentally chaotic as well.

The underlying energy encouraging me to take small steps and inspired action in all areas of my life is an intentional focus on the sacred quality of simplicity. Cleaning out my pantry, taking stock of what I’ve actually got (so many types of tea!), streamlining its contents, and getting rid of expired and outdated food products was so satisfying. This seemingly small act feels like a form of simplification that will inevitably result in making my life easier.

The other huge bonus of having a clean, organized pantry is being able to clearly see and access all of my cooking ingredients, knowing exactly what I have on hand, and also when I’m low or have completely run out of something that needs restocking.

What I’m really saying is this pantry overhaul was about much more than what the eye can see. Transforming it from ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ to ‘A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place’ has brought me so much joy and peace of mind. And now that I’m riding this high, having discovered the profound effect a clean and organized pantry can have, I feel like there’s no stopping what I’ll tackle next. Watch out junk drawers, cupboards, and closets: I’m coming for you next.

**This is in no way a sponsored post.**


2018 reflections, plus one word, a vow, and a blessing for 2019

With the holiday season, and all the excess that comes along with it, rapidly drawing to a close, it feels only natural to reflect on the past year in preparation for transitioning to a new one.

And while we’re talking about excess, I don’t know about you but my body is certainly feeling the effects of “too much,” particularly heavy, rich, gravy-laden food and boozy coffee. Too much noise and too much hustle and bustle have also taken a toll. I chalk it up to having a highly sensitive nervous system, because even though I knew it was coming, my efforts to brace myself and proceed with caution seem to have been for naught. 

As I languish in the slow, soupy, drawn-out days between Christmas and New Year’s, the in-between time when time is pretty much irrelevant, I’ve been hit hard with the awareness that I’ve gone pretty far out of balance. My body has been talking to me and reminding me it’s time to return to healthier ways again. And as I reflect on my journey through the past year, I can certainly see how ‘going out of balance’ in order to figure things out is a common theme that’s reflected in each of my key learnings. 

You may recall I chose three words to guide me in 2018: intuition, intention, and inspiration. Little did I know the starring role these words would play in almost the exact opposite way I had expected…or perhaps I knew precisely what I was doing all along? Ya, right. That’s it…

Hits of Intuition – I can see quite clearly in retrospect how, on numerous occasions, my intuition was giving me some serious warnings signs and signals that something was amiss. And I‘m certain I made things more difficult for myself by not listening and trusting the simple signs before me. As my chest tightened and my entire body constricted in the presence of individuals whose intentions were not the most honourable, I was literally being shown how energy doesn’t lie; only people do, and my body definitely knows the difference before my mind has a chance to catch up. I’d like to think I’ve learned a valuable lesson—the importance of trusting myself and my gut, beyond everything else—but I suppose time will be the judge of that. Still, I’m not giving up. I will continue to work on building up my intuitive capacity, flexing it like a muscle, and learning to listen to what it’s trying to tell me. 

Honouring Intentions – The biggest lesson I’ve learned about setting intentions and honouring them is that the time and action (or the energy) you commit toward nurturing their growth are what matter the most. And again this is something I had to learn the hard way. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve squandered countless hours, many of which were consumed with mindless scrolling on social media, to the extent that I decided to remove the Facebook app from my phone for most of December. And you know what? This may have been one of the very best decisions I’ve ever made in my life to date. It has clearly shown me the value of limiting my exposure to the impressions I take in from social media, and that I have much better ways I can spend my time, not to mention my life is better lived in real life. I also know now with greater certainty than ever that, if and when I decide to wade back into the Facebook world, I will certainly be treading lightly, and will do so only with very clear restrictions in place.  

Harnessing Inspiration – In the simplest terms, this year I learned that when I’m not trusting my intuition and not honouring my intentions, when I’m preoccupied with drama and negativity, when I’m emotionally exhausted and not taking proper care of myself, or wasting my life away on social media, inspiration is an elusive wench, plain and simple. And that’s really all there is to say about that. Except for maybe that I’m curious to see how I may be able to cultivate more inspiration in 2019, when I’m better aligned in other areas. 

The good news from all of this is I’ve learned which areas of my life I want to refocus on and place a greater amount of emphasis, and also with whom I want to spend my time and energy going forward. I know I am better poised to enter 2019 with awareness, the ability to set firm, clear boundaries, and the knowledge that I‘m no longer willing to trade my authenticity for someone else’s acceptance or approval. 

I’m also aware that all these failures and deficiencies sound quite negative. Let’s face it: 2018 wasn’t entirely kind in many ways. But as I’ve said before, I can see how the situations that brought me the greatest pain in 2018 were a necessary catalyst for my personal growth, and I can now look back with deep gratitude for the refreshing new perspective it brought me. Also, by being brutally honest about what really didn’t work well or serve me in 2018, I absolutely know what I need to move forward, which brings me to my word for 2019: 

FC36BC0C-A90A-4F24-8857-768C82BC249DAlthough there are many food-related connotations around this word, and even though food/nutrition is very much an integral component of the healthy life I am focused on creating, I actually chose this word, or perhaps it more accurately found its way to me, because it feels all-encompassing of the way I want to approach every facet of my life in the coming year—with the love, care, attention, and nurturing that I so want and richly deserve for myself. 

Just as a seed needs fertile soil, water, and sunlight to sprout and grow, my life needs the proper nourishment for me to grow into the fullest expression of my highest self in the coming year. 

I spent some time thinking about what feels nourishing to me—mentally, physically, and spiritually. And while by no means is the following list exhaustive, it will definitely serve as a guidepost for me as I look to bring the energy and spirit of ‘nourish’ into all areas of my life. And you’d better believe this stuff is going on my vision board, too.

I am nourished by:

  • Meaningful connection and deep, soulful conversations about the nature of the universe, life, and humanity.
  • Creativity and new ideas.
  • Movement—the mindful kind.
  • Introspection, quiet, solitude.
  • Helping others.
  • Positivity.
  • Time spent with good peeps, soaking up the good vibes.
  • Nature and beauty. Trees are my favourite, followed very closely by mountains and water.
  • Singing and dancing.
  • Music.
  • Writing. Reading.
  • Learning. Growing.
  • Sleep, glorious sleep.
  • Water.
  • Hugs.
  • Feeling supported by my peeps, knowing they believe in me and always have my back.
  • Riding my bike.
  • Movies.
  • Practicing gratitude.
  • Fresh air.
  • Walks.
  • Baths.
  • Deep breathing.
  • Simplicity. Order. Organization.
  • Doggie cuddles.
  • Beauty.
  • Sunshine. Rainbows.
  • The sky, the moon, and the stars.
  • Travel. Exploring. Adventure.
  • Mindfulness.
  • Presence.
  • Surrender.

As I dive, head first, into the blank slate that is this New Year, rather than making resolutions that come from a place of fear or inadequacy within myself, I am choosing to focus on what feels like a more positive, growth-based intention setting practice. That’s why, in 2019, I plan to  nourish myself deeply; my overall physical health, as well as my emotional and spiritual well-being. I want to devote energy to nourishing my creativity—tending to it and cultivating it as I would a garden of beautiful flowers. In all these ways and so many more, I intend for 2019 to be about choosing only to engage in what feels good and brings nourishment to my soul.


Along with making NOURISH my faithful companion, and of course based on everything I learned from this past year—the good, the bad, and the ugly (because there was all of that and more, and I’m grateful for every part), this is my solemn vow to myself for 2019:

May I always remember my life is worth a billion blessings to everyone I meet on my journey. But I am not for everyone, and everyone is not for me. And that is ok. 

I was born of the heavens and am part of all that eternally exists in the sky above.

I am the vastness of my greatest thought,  and the infinite power that sources and sustains the entire universe.

On this day, I remember who I am, what I am here for, and why I chose the experiences that have come to me this past year.

Today, I promise to leave the smallness of my darkest thoughts behind and melt with open arms into the love of my highest self.

I surrender to the endless possibilities 2019 has in store for me, allowing each day of the coming year to surprise me and NOURISH the deepest desires of my soul.

I will remind myself to always return to the spark of the divine from which I was created, using my innate power to light the way forward, for myself, and for others, should they choose to follow.

This year, I will give to others what I want back for myself. If I want love, I will find a way, however small—a smile or silent blessing, to love every person with whom I cross paths.

If I want peace, I will think peaceful thoughts, say peaceful words, and pray for peace for all those experiencing chaos.

If I want success, I will work diligently to help those around me succeed. And I will focus on and honour the commitments I make to myself.

If I want respect, I will begin by respecting my own life—body, mind, and spirit. I will respect those around me and those who work to make this planet better for all of us. I will respect the earth, my body, my past, and the unique gifts I possess that I am meant to share with the world. 

I will surrender judgment in exchange for reverence, and in doing so, I trust that what I give to the world will be echoed back to me.


As we all ride the wave of the last hours, minutes, and seconds of 2018, I extend my sincere wish for each of you to receive the  things your heart desires most in 2019. 

May you accept the love that is extended to you. May your heart embrace it fully and may it warm you to the depths of your soul. 

May your spirit know the deepest sense of peace.

May you be blessed with good fortune, and if not, may you be resilient enough to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and carry on with even greater strength and determination. 

And may you be healthy and know what it feels like to be completely nourished in all the ways that bring you the greatest joy in the year ahead. 

With all my love,

my Phare Lady

The Long Way


For as many times as I’ve heard the song, Take the Long Way Home by Supertramp over the years, which coincidentally was released in 1979 when I was a mere babe of three, I never actually paid much attention to the lyrics. And while I may never know why this particular song made a very peculiar, out-of-the-blue appearance in my consciousness yesterday, now that I’ve taken a closer look at the lyrics, I’m pretty sure it’s about a heck of a lot more than a guy who’s not so eager to get home to his less-than-loving wife.

Taking the long way is often perceived by the lazy as an inefficient waste of time. To those who suffer from chronic impatience, doing so seems plain silly. And to the faint of heart, taking the long way in anything can be daunting; every single step an unbelievably grueling grind.

But when we come to think of home as less of an actual physical dwelling and more an idealistic place of peace and comfort within ourselves—a way of living and loving from the heart, if you will—perhaps taking the long way actually does have its advantages.

It certainly calls to mind some important questions. For example: What would you do if you had more time? And, moreover, if all those things you want to do are really so important to you, why aren’t you doing them in the time you have right now?

The funny thing about time, though, is the realization that it has less control over our lives than most of us would care to admit. The truth of the matter is time becomes an easy target, a willing scapegoat of sorts, when it gets away from us, or when things don’t work out the way we plan. I am certainly not immune to this flimsy belief system, having fallen prey to its clutches on more than one occasion.

After only recently making the switch to seeing my life as a long game, I’m still trying to shake this belief system all the way loose and out of my consciousness. Because I’m no longer buying into the need to beat the clock or believing the perception that I’m running out of time.

And that’s why this year I am celebrating a different type of birthday than I have in the past; one that more accurately reflects the person I’m becoming with each twist and turn on this long and winding road. This year, my birthday is not about hoopla. There will be no confetti or balloons, and most likely there will be no cake. I am not looking for fanfare, because I’ve come to the point where this day is about much more than being showered with attention and gifts. And I’m perfectly fine with that. In fact, it is exactly the way I want it.

Instead, this year I am choosing to celebrate the depth of the person I continue to become, the complexity of my journey, and the bittersweet richness of doing this life my way.

Today, I will refrain from spending time on Facebook or Instagram, instead setting my phone to airplane mode. I will use my time intentionally and wisely. I may choose to do some writing or complete an art journal spread. I will almost certainly spend time outside, walking, enjoying the opportunity to breathe in the fresh air, and simply being in the calming presence of the trees. I may indulge myself in a handcrafted latte, some luxurious chocolate, and a gourmet lunch prepared just for me. I will, no doubt, sit in silence, listening to the wisdom of my heart. And I may just go ahead and dream up a list of 42 random acts of kindness to be completed over the course of my 42nd year on planet earth.

Continuing in this spirit of giving generously, I also commit to doing something meaningful for me: making myself a priority and giving myself the gift of time, not just today, but for the next 42 consecutive days:

  • 10 minutes of meditation
  • 20 minutes of writing
  • 30 minutes of movement/yoga/exercise

The idea and meaning behind this gift to myself is two-fold:

  • Writing down these intentions (and declaring them out loud for all the world to hear) is a major maneuver in holding myself accountable; and
  • Doing these things for 40 days in a row will set me well on the path to establishing these priorities as part of a nourishing daily ritual for myself. (I’m basically just sweetening the pot by adding on a bonus two days!)

In the place where I stand now, I’d like to think I’ve become at least a little wiser over the past 42 years. (If my grey hair is any indication, I should be very smart. You can ask my stylist. lol) But I’ve said it before and I’m not afraid to say it again, right here and now: I can be a slow learner. And so I continue to learn my lessons as I take the long way on my journey through life, all with the intention of finding my own unique way of living and loving from the heart.

One such lesson I’ve needed to receive on more than one occasion is about allowing what comes, to come; what stays, to stay; and to simply let go of the rest. And although I suspect I’ll always crave meaningful connections with my fellow humans, I’ve come to see the futility in grasping and clinging to people and circumstances that were perhaps never meant for me in the first place. And of course I continue to see the tremendous benefit of practicing gratitude on the daily. I am endlessly grateful for every single person and situation that has come my way, realizing they each held an important place in my world, whether in my life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

So, as I round the corner to 42 Street, it feels like I’m inching ever closer to finding my ‘heart home’ and tapping into a more permanent place of peace within myself. And as I do, it occurs to me that maybe birthdays are merely time and route markers on our journey. And then I wonder if maybe we’re all just taking the long way home?

After all, maybe it’s the long way—with all of its peaks and valleys, detours and dead ends, speed bumps and plot twists—that makes this life worthwhile.


Take the Long Way Home

So you think you’re a Romeo
Playing a part in a picture-show
Take the long way home
Take the long way home
‘Cause you’re the joke of the neighborhood
Why should you care if you’re feeling good
Take the long way home
Take the long way home
But there are times that you feel you’re part of the scenery
All the greenery is comin’ down, boy
And then your wife seems to think you’re part of the furniture
Oh, it’s peculiar, she used to be so nice
When lonely days turn to lonely nights
You take a trip to the city lights
And take the long way home
Take the long way home
You never see what you want to see
Forever playing to the gallery
You take the long way home
Take the long way home
And when you’re up on the stage, it’s so unbelievable,
Oh unforgettable, how they adore you,
But then your wife seems to think you’re losing your sanity,
Oh, calamity, is there no way out, oh yeah
Ooh, take it, take it out
Take it, take it out
Oh yeah
Does it feel that your life’s become a catastrophe?
Oh, it has to be for you to grow, boy
When you look through the years and see what you could have been
Oh, what you might have been,
If you’d had more time
So, when the day comes to settle down,
Who’s to blame if you’re not around?
You took the long way home
You took the long way home
Took the long way home
You took the long way home
You took the long way home, so long
You took the long way home
You took the long way home, uh yeah
You took the long way home
Long way home
Long way home
Long way home
Long way home
Long way home
Long way home
Songwriters: Richard Davies / Roger Hodgson
Take the Long Way Home lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Good Day

Two geese are meandering in the grass near the shoreline.

Several trees are rooted in place mere feet away from the water’s edge, but one in particular catches my eye. It’s early spring, and like so many of the others, its leaves are just beginning to bloom.

But this tree is different than the others. It’s special. This one is my tree.


I approach, gently placing one hand on its bark; a gesture meaning, “I come in peace”.

My tree looks strong, with five main limbs branching out from its trunk.

I take a few breaths before I slowly begin to move again.

The lowest of the limbs is a little higher than my chest, and looks solid enough to support me.


I scan to see if there’s anyone around, anyone whose disapproving glances may prevent me from accomplishing my secret mission.

Only my friends—the two geese and my tree—are here with me.

I come up with a quick game plan in my head.

Get one foot on top of the low limb and then hoist myself using upper body strength assisted by the two higher limbs? Can’t get my hand position right and not enough leverage. Ironically, the realization takes me back to the challenge of indoor rock climbing, and the frustration that ensued.

With renewed determination, I take a few deep breaths and try again. The geese are honking, and I imagine they’re cheering me on. Alas, both feet end up back at ground level.

I approach from another angle; one hand on each of the higher limbs that ascend almost as straight up as the base of the tree itself, as I use my feet to scale its trunk.

My grip is slipping again, and just when I think I’m not quite strong enough and will have to let go, I get one foot up into the crook of my tree.

I pause for a moment—to catch my breath and figure out what’s next.

I’ve been afraid of heights since I broke my arm falling off a four-foot structure when I was six. It’s interesting how much I changed and how I learned to embody fear on that fateful day…

I’m only about five and a half feet off the ground, but my heart is racing. Part exhilaration, part fear. The exact ratio of the two is unclear.

I walk my feet forward over the lowest limb, very slowly, testing to see if it will hold.

There’s no discernible movement in the limb, so I lower myself into the crook, shifting my weight forward slightly to settle into this perfect resting spot.

Here I am now, grown woman in a tree. Not a care in the world—except for maybe how to get myself back down to the ground. But for now I’ll just stay up here in my tree, enjoying the view for a while.

From my sturdy perch, I look out beyond the thick of branches over the water. My thoughts are consumed by the simplicity of nature. Its sheer existence is breathtakingly beautiful.

Birds are singing to each other in the manner of call and reply. The water is still. Grass on the verge of turning green. Sky above, earth below.

In these precious moments as the trees and shrubs begin to emerge from their winter slumber, there’s a prevailing sense of calm, and a palpable sense of hope for the future.


A penny for my thoughts?

Despite my struggles to get here, I feel strong and supported.
I feel as though I’ve come home.
I am at peace.

The auspicious nature of this day far exceeds finding two quarters in the grass on the way back down.

It is neither luck, nor coincidence.

It is all meant to be.

Every detail unfolding exactly as it was written in the grand design of it all:
The geese and the tree. The struggle and the climb. The perspective and the view.

The journey and the destination.

No doubt in my mind I’ve arrived here, in this place, on the wings of an idea called freedom.

I’ve waited a long time to be here and to feel this.

I know there is immeasurable joy to be found in simple pleasures, like riding my bike and climbing my tree. Remembering what it feels like to be a kid.

There’s so much life here, and I finally see I’m part of it.

Now that I’ve found this place, I’ll definitely be back again.

Good day? Yes, I suppose you could say that.

Just for Today

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Is this thing even on?

Hi, it’s me. I know it’s been a while. Like 56 days, I think. But who’s counting?

So, the kids are back in school and it’s eerily quiet in my house today.

The sounds of doors slamming, footsteps thumping, and raised voices fighting have been replaced with the soothing nothingness of an ambient hum.

Today no one has expected me to referee an argument. No one has come to me hungry, looking for a snack only 20 minutes after they ate their last meal. And no one in my house is whining about being bored, eyes fixed on me as the sole proprietor of fun and entertainment.

Needless to say, I’ve been looking forward to this moment—secretly, or then again maybe not so secretly—and actively counting down to it for the past week.

I am basking in this glorious alone time. I love the peace. I relish these silent moments. I’m soaking it all in on a deep, cellular level.

I can be quite extroverted when the situation calls for it, but I am an introvert to the core. This time is very much essential to my sanity and overall well-being.

But much more than that, this time affords me the luxury to get quiet and listen to the tiny whispers of my soul. It is in these beautiful moments I remember that the truth of who I am is not who or what my ego self would have me believe. I have nothing I need to do right now other than to just be. Best of all, there’s absolutely nothing I must prove to anyone.


The shift from doing to being—from living a life ruled by the voices in my head to being guided by the truth in my heart—is something I must constantly bring my awareness back to, over and over again. ‘Just Being’ is deceptively tricky, and it is perhaps the most important work I can do, here in this lifetime. It represents the totality of what it means to be the best me I can be. This is my commitment.

Yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t arrived.

So, even though the kids have returned to school and there’s at least a thousand things waiting to be completed on my to-do list, I am committing to the practice of just being.

Just for now.

Just for today.