Today, I PLAYED! (and you should have seen the stares from the other mamas hahaha)

I am going through a class with an incredible group of women, where initially, I showed up to be there for a friend for moral support and encouragement as she taught. I knew I’d learn a lot, but what she has to say, has literally changed my life. There is much I can say, but I’ll leave that for when she teaches her next session and you all attend, but what I want to share has to do with food and exercise. I love food, hate exercise. I never wanted to be a part of any of the diet/health trends and tried my very best to really stay away. I did a quick loss/try to eat healthy –  plan once, when I was getting ready for a photoshoot and single release, and I did lose a lot, 30 lbs actually. I looked great, but I saw that everyone else seemed to appreciate that fact also, and they were paying way too much attention to me and my new slimmer figure, whereas, I was really ok with myself even at the 30lbs heavier me. Needless to say, I went through many difficulties after that, and I gained much back. I wasn’t miserable. Just living my life. In fact, I’d freed myself from trying to figure all the weight stuff out and just lived my life to enjoy it. Lately though, as I have been sick, as well as getting older, I’ve realized that it’s so important to take care of myself. I didn’t want to join a club, or a gym, or eat nothing. To me, thats not LIVING for me. Hear me now, these health decisions have to personal for YOU. Everyone is DIFFERENT. And that’s the amazing thing about this. So, Monica ( my friend and soon to be super global kind of professional trainer freedom fighter ) shared that we must change our mindsets.

DIET is now ” NOURISHMENT ” – WOW – what a paradigm shift, and EXERCISE is PLAY! HOW FREE I AM!!

I never looked at exercise as play. It always seemed like hard work. And it is, IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT. That’s why this paradigm shift has changed me. I realized, that even growing up, I didn’t play a lot. I was on musical instruments most of my elementary and high school life, and LOVED IT. Its what I do still now, so I know that paid off. But, play? That stopped I’m sure when I hit grade 7. I was focused, determined at school, and lost my urge to PLAY! In fact, I think play seemed immature and irresponsible to me. And yet, how UNTRUE that is.

When we change the word, we make PLAY something we love, whether that be for some – going to the gym, running a marathon, hitting the slopes. For me, I had to redefine and come up with what that meant, as a 32 year old. Well, I know what I LOVE to do. I love to be with my kids in the park, on the beach, on our bikes, walking with friends. Theres more, but Im just getting started. So, today, I JOINED THE KIDS, and I didn’t just watch them play. I joined in.  AND IT WAS THE MOST FUN! We went to Kits beach as our kids had some auditions in the city, and we just headed to the park after. We swung on the big round disc swings. I sat in the middle and JJ and Zoey stood on the sides and swung me, (with their butts in my faces and all! ). We LAUGHED SO HARD! My stomach felt all weird, and I just couldn’t stop laughing. Then we all jumped and ran around the round-about. We went so fast I almost fell off. And again, LAUGHED so much. I was having the best time of my life. And at that point, when I saw all the other moms at the park looking at me wondering what I was doing, I realized not just a day ago, I would have been one of them. I would be looking at me thinking ( she’s a weirdo ). Possibly what I may have been asking myself too was ” Why does she get to have so much fun? ” Hmm. ( Also, last time I checked there were no rules at this park where the parents couldn’t play WITH the kids lol ) I realized, as a woman, and as a mother, I’d given myself rules and regulations of doing life. Some are great that keep me focused on goals. But some – mostly to do with play and exercise, totally SUCKED and I just never allowed myself to just have fun FOR ME. I could for the kids, because thats a good ‘mom’ thing to do, but when did I last play because I wanted to? I’m not sure.

I’m not saying every Mom is now going to jump on the roundabouts, but you see, today, that was my ‘exercise’ and I LOVED every minute of it. I don’t go to the gym, and you know, thats totally ok. I won’t over eat, because I will try to only eat what my body needs, BUT I also won’t feel guilty if I’m eating a treat with the kids thinking I have to run it off at the gym harder the next day. I’m FREE.

Even as I write I can’t contain my excitement, even thinking of how I can teach my kids to live free from the world’s way of thinking and  teaching especially my daughter, who – even at kindergarten age – is having conversations about weight, and looks etc. Its a new day. And I’m loving every minute of this new – hopefully long term – way of life!

ps. I’m sorry I don’t have pictures of my day, I was having too much fun being in it, as opposed to taking pictures from the sidelines like usual 🙂

~ M

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Changing my narrative. Thank you Arlene.

PersuasionAll of us – I think – at some point in our lives have experienced or will experience incredible hardships that could really make or break us. I have found  – and I agree with Arlene as she writes this – is that what often defines how we move forward is how we play out our own narrative in our heads. Are we the victim, or the victor in our situations? Right now, I’m reading this incredible book called “Persuasion” by leading entrepreneur and hands down ( in my opinion ) one of the best Dragon’s on CBC’s Dragon’s Den, Arlene Dickinson. Her book ( which, by the way, talks about how even the term ‘persuasion’ is viewed as negative, but is actually a positive term when used correctly in situations) speaks of life, identity, mistakes, motherhood, business, and integrity all in one pretty incredible read.

What I’m learning, is that I have made a lot of mistakes, but I get to decide what happens next. It’s so freeing. It also allows us to believe in who we see ourselves to be and go after that.

The one thing I find interesting in the book is that Arlene talks about growing up in the Mormon church, and how her early life was shaped as a result. She describes feeling a lot of condemnation, guilt and hurt from her early mistakes. I don’t know what, or how she believes now, but I know as a young person, and young married woman also, I can relate especially because I also grew up in an environment that seemed to be more about looking ” perfect ” than the power of who Jesus is and how he loves us AS WE ARE.

Arlene, if I ever get the chance to meet you ( or if you ever read this blog, which is totally not a impossibility ), I’d tell you that you are an inspiration and an encouragement to myself, as well as so many in this country. As a mother, I understand. As a business woman, I grit my teeth as I watch the show when entrepreneurs pick the “guys” over you just because they are “guys” in the Den, and as a wife, I wish you all the best in your marriage and your family. You are by no means finished taking on Canada and the world, and I hope I get to walk some kind of journey with you at a point in my life! Take some time to rest, and if there’s anything that I have learned in this business, it’s Restful increase is so much better than stressful increase. Thank you for writing your book, and being exactly who you are.

A fan, Marika

Persuasion Photo credit: Kathryn Hollinrake http://www.hollinrake.com

To learn more about Arlene and buy the book: http://arlenedickinson.com/

Media Literacy & Modern Day Slavery.

TaraTHer name is Tara Teng. She is a young woman who is a gift to our family, who encourages me to carry on fighting for what I believe in. Tara is an abolitionist. She is also Miss World Canada. But most importantly, she knows who she is and what God has called her to do on this planet, and she literally, on the front lines, helps rescue those who have been enslaved in human trafficking. She is one of my friends, but also one of my heroes.

I have always had a passion for changing the mainstream view of women in media. In fact, its one of the main reasons I am in the music industry. I want to be a different kind of entertainer/performer/CEO. For the most part ( and there are numerous professionals giving global talks on the subject ) women have constantly been thrown into sexualization in media and subjected as objects for the sake of selling something, usually a product. You don’t need to go far to realize that. The subject is deep, as well as far reaching, and it is in EVERYONE’s everyday lives – even if we don’t consciously know it. The challenge is, it is YOU & I as the consumer that are constantly encouraging it. From the magazines we buy, to the television shows we watch, to the music we listen to – or even the clothes we buy our children. We continue to grow up in a world where the sexualization of women has not only become more than acceptable, it has created an ever increasing demand for men and women to think that a subject like human trafficking is ok. IT IS NOT OK. Nor is it OK to watch our young women grow up in the music industry and completely lose themselves and destroy themselves for the sake of a paycheque and fame. I have also consistently seen how the entertainment and advertising culture have become a catalyst for which many men and women form their beliefs of human beings. But the REAL TRUTH of our IDENTITY needs to be coming out louder than ever before. Our girls and our boys are suffering because of it, and so are we. We need to be aware, VALUE OURSELVES so that we can VALUE OTHERS.

Last night I got to hear a documentary on media literacy by Jean Kilbourne (Killing Me Softly 4) in a talk that another friend and hero of mine Monica was presenting. Monica is a professional personal trainer, and she speaks on identity, grace and the truth and how it relates to our health and the ideologies that society puts on us. Monica will soon have a website up and I’ll be linking her so you can find her too ( Monika-ka wink wink haha ) ( I’m trying to help her with her site, and it’s coming soon! ) but it was just the kick in the butt I needed to get my heart going all over again to how important this issue is. When I was moping the day before in my blog, I really realized that my issues were very small compared to what’s going on in the lives of women and girls globally. The wednesday talk was timely, and so was the topic.

I know why I am where I am. It could be a slow going fight, but I’m in it for the long haul. Always have been, always will be. I am just blessed that I have some new companions to fight with! I encourage you to be an educated consumer. The world is full of junk, but I am hopeful that there are more people that desire to take a stand for the generations all over the world, to bring LIFE and not death. HOPE and HEALING, and not violence, pain and slavery.

~M

Photo Credit: Annette Biggers www.triplecord.com