My Happy place ~

Where is your Happy place?

Tracy Tracy’s trying real hard to get there~

Have you ever felt like you just wanted to escape from life in general, if even for a moment!  You try desperately to tune out everything and everybody around you.  You start to day dream of where you would much rather be ….it’s called your “Happy Place. It’s the mental state achieved when one wants to avoid the unpleasant or uncomfortable.  Everyone has a different  happy place that usually consists of the things that make them feel warm and fuzzy.

Ahhhh My Happy Place…I have been trying to get there lately but it’s been like a bad dream, your running as fast as you can but you are moving in slow motion!!  I have been literally running from one task to the next with absolutely no time to spare between for the last month and it is starting to take it’s toll.  The balance in life can sometimes get away from all of us and I will go on record right now and say mine is OUT !!  It is my own fault, I take on too much, have too many interests and my independent attitude doesn’t help!  I have wayyyyy too many cool things I want to be working towards, Tara Cronica, Writing a book, Kids, Silpada Jewelry, Exercise, Running a business, Girlfriends, Making Jewelry.  The list keeps growing !  I am taking a breath now~Rarotonga

My Happy Place consists of me sitting in a white wooden chair on the beach in Rarotonga, The Cooke Islands, completely alone with no one in sight.  There is a panoramic view of just water, sand and palm trees as far as you can see.  My chair is in the water so that my feet feel the warm waves slowly roll over them.  I have no where to be, nothing to do but sit and contemplate.  I have my ipod and I am listening to Enya or Enigma while my mind just goes far far away.  I have been to My Happy Place in reality, and it was such a serene wonderful place to be.  If I could fly there right now I would board the plane with no luggage, just the cloths on my back.  When you have so many things on the go it’s not hard to have your world start to spin in circles.  I need to take a chill pill and really try hard at least in my mind to get to my Happy Place!  Wish me luck !

Bonnie Johnson's PostBonnie aligns herself~

I have learned that when I find myself out of my “happy place” it is always because I’m out of alignment.  What does that mean exactly?  Well, for me it means that I’m not tuned in to Who-I-Really-Am; that bigger part of my Self that is connected to Source (God, the Universe, Allah, whatever label you choose).  The disconnect happens when I’m not aligned with that source of joy and inspiration (which is, in fact, our natural state).  It’s easy to let myself slip out of alignment, all I have to do is focus on something negative or something that makes me feel bad and then I see some more stuff that makes me feel bad and then I notice something else negative that I hadn’t noticed before,…and so it goes.

So here’s a 30 minute energy-alignment I learned through the teachings of Abraham and the Law of Attraction series that really works for me.  I’ll just rename it “How to get to my happy place” for this post.

  1. Start the night before:  As you put yourself to bed find things in your immediate vicinity (your bed, your pillow, your sheets) to direct your appreciation toward.  Set your intention to sleep well and to awaken refreshed.
  2. When you wake up lie there for 5 minutes and think about some more things you appreciate.
  3. After you’ve washed and eaten, sit for 15 minutes and quiet your mind.  Allow resistance to fall away and feel your vibration rise.
  4. Open your eyes and sit for 5 or 10 minutes writing a list of things you appreciate about your life.

That’s it.  30 minutes or less and I’m feeling good again.  It’s all about choosing a positive point of attraction which not only yields to me activities and rendezvous with good feeling people, places, and things – but my ability to experience the delicious depth of them will be dramatically enhanced.  “Getting yourself feeling good before you take any action is always the best process; and when you do not feel good, you cannot be inspired to any action that will solve the problem”. – Abraham

happy face

Post Insert JacquieJacquie knows it’s right where it’s always been~

I think I discovered the secret to my happy place a long time ago when I was a typical angst-ridden emo 17 year old living in Paris and dealing with loss, loneliness and betrayal.  I spent a lot of time writing poetry…and teaching myself how to knit and crochet and design my own pieces.  By focusing my attention on something positive and pleasurable, I found I was able to let go of the issues that were the cause of my unhappiness. For me, being actively creative is a form of meditation, and it allows me to stay connected to my true Self by providing plenty of time for reflection.   This is the poem I wrote as a melodramatic teenager. I think the sentiment, though perhaps a little over-wrought, still rings true.

I hate to look forward
Because all I see is pain
And pressure and loneliness
And a hurt I can’t explain.

I’m living in a fairy tale
Without the magic wand.
This one’s filled with blackened dreams
That I can’t see beyond.

So by myself I’ve learned to move
And pass my time with me
When those around are cruel and dark
I’m my best company.

We are responsible for our own happiness.  It’s up to us individually to find out the best way to stay in tune, or, as Bonnie put it, stay in alignment.  The only way to do this is to regularly shut out all the noise that can cloud your judgment and distract you from your goals.  When you feel that confidence returning, only then can you feel balanced and ready to tackle the next hurdle calmly, with a smile and an open heart.

Svaha,

jacquie3

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Oops! I Took The Wrong Baby Home!

The scenario:

You discover that your wonderful one-year-old child is, because of a mix-up at the hospital, not yours.  Would you want to exchange the child to correct the mistake?

babies switched at birth

Bonnie Johnson's PostBonnie ~

After doting on and loving a baby, any baby, but especially one you believe is a part of you, for a whole year to then be told it doesn’t really belong to you?  Ouch!  That would be a major shock, wouldn’t it?!  The bond between a mother and child after a year is iron clad, and not something easily broken.  This would be a heartbreaking situation to find yourself in.

I researched “babies switched at birth” and discovered that it does happen occasionally but not often.  Hospitals take fingerprints, foot prints, or palm prints of newborns in order to prevent babies being mixed up. Nurses also double check with the mother, checking the identity of that person as well, in order to prevent errors.  Hospitals also have policies in which a medical record number is assigned to an infant at birth, and bands with this number as well as the last name of the mother of the infant, the gender of the infant, and the date and time of birth are placed on the infant and the mother immediately after parturition before the mother and child are separated.  And yet I still found a few cases of this happening despite the policies.  Mistakes were made and when they were discovered the hospitals were sued.

What struck me most when I read about these cases was for some reason the majority of these mix-ups were not discovered until years later.  In most cases the mothers all had a feeling early on that something wasn’t right but were convinced by hospital staff that they were mistaken and everything was as it should be.  Listen to your inner voice, believe in your intuition!

So, would I exchange the child after a year to correct the mistake?  Yes, I would.  It would probably be the hardest thing I would ever have to do but for the sake of both children I would.  Again, after reading about stories where this really did happen, the saddest part, once the truth was discovered, was how the children themselves often felt.  Some discuss having the feeling that something wasn’t quite right and the feeling that they didn’t quite fit in.  One woman, when she found out the truth at 43 years old,  felt like her whole life up until then had been a lie and now she felt torn between two families.

I would have a very hard time giving up a baby I had loved so deeply for a year but I would also want to be the one to raise my own child.  If faced with this scenario I think I would ask that I still be allowed to continue a relationship with the other child too.

Post Insert JacquieJacquie ~

My daughter Emilie was one of 50 babies born at North York General Hospital in Toronto on June 12, 19……… not tellin’.  I’m a very trusting person and it never occurred to me to worry that she might accidentally get switched with another half Asian/half Caucasian baby girl.  The security on the maternity ward was unlike anything I could have imagined, and I remember having to go through at least two check points where our hospital bracelets were scrutinized before the staff would allow us to leave the floor.

I know an awful lot of bonding takes place in the first few years of life but I have to say, if this terrible situation happened to me, I’d want to get my biological child back.  It definitely would be heart-wrenching to give up a child I’d cared for and loved for a year, but I believe it would be the right thing to do.  Truthfully, I’d want to keep both babies, but I guess that wouldn’t be fair.  I wouldn’t be able to handle someone else raising my child due to hospital error.  I would hope that the other family would feel the same way and really, in a perfect world, we could all be part of an extended family group.

PS.  I have a teenager I’d be willing to trade for …let’s say… a 21 year old right now, if anyone’s interested? : )

TracyTracy gives back ~

I remember being concerned about this with my first child.  I wanted to be awake during my C-section because I had heard of this happening.  Lets call it first child paranoia.  I remember my Mom telling me in the operating room when the ID band was secure on my son’s wrist.  I think she may have double checked to make sure it couldn’t slip off.  My son was the spitting image of his Dad so no one could have made a switch with us not be aware of it.  He was also 10 lbs 3 oz and the other babies in the nursery were triplets, with the largest one weighing in at a whopping 5 lbs.  The nurses nicknamed my son baby sumo because he looked 3 months old at birth.  Any other Mom would have felt ripped off had my son been sent home with them by mistake,  kind of like getting a puppy at 6 months old.

mine!!!

I can’t imagine having to actually go through this in real life.  Unfortunately it has happened, more than once.  This topic made me reflect back on the first year with both my son and daughter.  Time goes by so quickly, and the first year is monumental for bonding with your baby.  I would have to take the perspective that I was a surrogate to this child for the year we spent together.  I am certain the mother of the child I was given would absolutely want their child back, as would I.  I would have complete confidence that she gave my child unconditional love.  When you have natural motherly instincts you love all children.  I can’t imagine not loving ‘a’ child no matter whose they were if I were responsible for it’s welfare.

Bonding in hospitalAll children are special and unique.  I would want to make the change gradually so that both children were able to adjust as naturally as possible.  I think that the babies would sense a mistake with how they are known to recognizes a mothers smell and and how they react to the sound of their mothers voice from having heard it from inside the womb.  A mother’s love is pure and unconditional so I know that after spending time with my child everything would be just fine in no time.  I would hope that after an experience such as this you would form a friendship with the other mother that I would last a life time.  Everything happens for a reason and I would just embrace it for what it was.

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Image is Everything ~ Arya Tara

There are literally thousands of representations of the Goddess Arya Tara to be found on the internet, in print form and as statues.  She is the oldest Goddess still worshiped extensively in modern times and can be found in pretty much every cultural back story on the planet.  Of all the images of Tara out there, which ones are bringing meaning to your life right now, and why?

post-insert-jacquie3Jacquie~

You know those gorgeous postcards art galleries send out when a new exhibit is going to take place? Well, I have a number of them displayed on my desk at any given time and piles of them in my ‘inspiration’ files in my studio.  I collect them whenever I visit a gallery and want to take home a piece of the artist’s workArya Tara but can’t afford an actual painting.  Just looking at these treasures brings me joy and reminds me of all the beauty being created in the world.  On, or is that ‘in’, my computer, I also have a file of images of the Goddess Arya Tara that I like to wander through whenever I need a spiritual fix.  I’m a very visual person and seeing the Goddess in her many colourful depictions makes it easier for me to feel her warmth and her message.

I was thinking last week that we needed to display our own modern version of Tara more prominently on Tara Cronica and that’s what prompted me to ask Tracy and Bonnie about the images of Tara that inspire them right now, and why.

Arya Tara Image

This image of the White Tara has been jumping out at me each time I enter my Tara file and so I wanted to figure out why.  I love the colour choices, but I knew there must be a reason why I’ve been especially drawn to it, besides that fact that it reminds me so much of our own design by Akiko Michael.  I’m curious as to why her leg isn’t outstretched like a typical Tara, ready to jump up and offer help at a moment’s notice, or set to travel upon the road to enlightenment.  Does that mean I’m not ready?  Am I analyzing this waaaay too much?

I was a bit shocked when I read that White Tara doesn’t work (I may be at home but I think I do work)!  She “doesn’t step off her lotus like Green Tara does, but just by ‘being’ she shows her compassion and good things come from that”.   She is also known for helping her followers overcome obstacles.  So, maybe being at home playing on the computer is my way of showing how much I love interacting with people?  Maybe a touch of what I write hits home and allows others to feel more connected, even if I’m just talking about shoes.  We all go through those times when you question everything you’re doing and if it’s making any sense, and so I’m going to look at White Tara as a sign that I AM doing something right and stop doubting myself!  Anyway, that’s what’s been on my mind.   Love you all!  Thanks, Tara!

Bonnie Johnson's PostBonnie~

Jacquie has asked us to find one of our favourite images of any of the colourful Taras and tell what inspires us most about the Goddess right now and why.

I thought it would be difficult to choose but I was immediately drawn to this picture of Green Tara.

shakti_grtara-compassionhealingprotGreen Tara represents compassion.  Compassion has been coming up a lot for me lately so this beautiful aspect of Arya Tara is an easy choice for me at this time.

When the Buddha was asked “Would it be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is a part of our practice?”  The Buddha replied, “No.   It would not be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is part of our practice.  It would be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is all of our practice.”

One of my favourite quotes is by the Dalai Lama when has said,  “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.   If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”  I love that!

I also love that in this depiction of Green Tara she emanates light.  She is, after all, the archetype of Inner Wisdom and the Goddess of Spiritual Travel along the road to Enlightenment.  No wonder she glows!

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha!

TracyTracy’s Tara~

My favorite Arya Tara picture is the one we had drawn by the artist Akiko Michael.  We gave Akiko a few web links to pictures of Arya Tara and asked her to come up with a simplified drawing of Tara that would be unique to our site.  The simple clean line reflect what I love about our Tara.

Arya Tara Line Drawing by Akiko Michaels

I love that she is seated among a bed of flowers.  Tara inspires me to live my life authentically and be true to myself.  Arya Tara crossed my path at a pivotal time in my life.  She was also a “Critical Choice” in my life.  What I love most about her is that she is the “Goddess of Spiritual Travel along the  road to enlightenment.”  Tara is an archetype of our own inner wisdom. She guides and protects us as we navigate the depths of our unconscious minds, helping us to transform consciousness, our own personal journeys of freedom.
It is the goddess Tara who helps us to remain “centered”. The myths of the Goddess Tara remind us of our “oneness” with all of creation and the importance of nurturing the spirit within.

Tara is completely pure and joyful in her endless giving, generosity, patience, and wisdom. She is not jealous of other deities!  Jealousy is a sign of insecurity, not a sign of love!

I have grown and and unfolded in many ways since meeting her for the first time.  Tara was our choice for representing us here at Tara Cronica for so many reasons, if you visit Goddess Tara’s bio page you will see all the reasons we chose her to represent us, as our Goddess.

I just came across another gorgeous Tara that I couldn’t resist sharing with you!  There are so many beautiful pictures of Tara it’s hard to pick just one!  Enjoy !

White Tara Purple Light

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Going Back to School ~

Okay Girls, we’re going back to school for a semester, what are you signing up for?

TracyTracy signs up for~

I have been spending time with my friend Kelsey who has completed her 3rd year in Human Kinetics.  Kels puts every ounce of her being into her studies, which is reflected in her marks.  Each time we talk I hear the wealth of knowledge she has acquired.  She is a young woman who has found what interests her, and can do anything she wants to.  There is no doubt that Kelsey will be the BEST at what she does when she completes her studies.  I wish I had been as focused as Kelsey when I was her age.

Kelsey has inspired me to think about what I would take if I was to re-enter school.  I know when it comes to school the opportunity is always there, it’s just how badly you want it.  I would take a real mixture of classes, some that would lend themselves to what I am doing right now, others that I just find interesting.

Creative Writing~ I am passionate when it comes to writing.  My Dad, Robert Westerholm, is a writer.  I really love how visual and descriptive his writing style is.  I can appreciate his passion for words when reading what he puts to paper.  Check out his website Caterwauls to get a taste of his style.  I have a love for words in general.  There are so many different writing courses that interest me, but I think I would like to try my hand at  romance.  My Dad has written one of the most  psychological  love stories I’ve read Acts of Empathy.  Inspiration is everywhere!

Silver-smithing~ I would love to learn how to work with silver to create unique treasures.  I used to make jewelry and love the creative process.

Spanish~ Si Aún me siento un vacío cuando se trata de aprender esta lengua y considera necesario seguir adelante con él, así que un día cuando me conecto los puntos veo por qué soy tan apasionado sobre el aprendizaje de ella.

(Yes I am still feeling a void when it comes to learning this language and feel it necessary to keep going with it, so that one day when I connect the dots I see why I am so passionate about learning it.)

Introduction to Theology~ Theology describes the study, writing, research, or speaking on the nature of gods, especially in relation to human experience.  Typically the concept includes the premise that such study is done in a rational, philosophical manner and can also refer to specific schools of thought – for example, progressive theology, feminist theology or liberation theology.  I love the conversations that lead to what we believe in and why.

So goddesses what would you sign up for if you could pick anything at all !!

jacquieJacquie~

I went back to school to work on a degree when I was 25 and at that time I thought I was old!  The most inspiring person to me was a new art history professor who, at age 61, had just completed her studies and was teaching for the first time in her life.  She was slightly awkward and uncomfortable but you could tell she loved the subject and that she knew what she was talking about.  I remember thinking how cool it was that she wasn’t letting age get in her way and, at a time when most people are thinking about retiring, she was just starting out.  Every time I begin to think I’m too old to start something new I think of her and push forward.

I recently read a very interesting article in the New York Times about the increase in enrollment at community colleges in America and how people eager to upgrade skills, or change to more financially rewarding careers, are willing to take night classes at unprecedented hours.  To accommodate all the new students, colleges have started offering courses starting at 6 am or night school classes that begin at 11:45 and don’t end until 2:30 in the morning!  I can’t imagine putting in a full day at work and then heading off to school until the wee hours of the night, but I applaud those who are doing it and wish them much success and fulfillment.  I always threatened my kids that when they were ready to go off to college I’d register for classes myself and be able to hang with them at the cafeteria and out in the Quadrangle.  I did take a few more art classes when Emilie started university and thoroughly loved it.  I’m looking forward to being a senior citizen as I believe we can then audit classes for free.  I’m going to go confirm that and report back as I’d hate to give false information.   OK, found it.  Check out Yahoo! Answers for the scoop.   If you’re willing to take classes without getting credit for them them you can do the audit thing.  I’d just want the learnin’ part so I’ll do it when I’m 65, for sure.

Bonnie Johnson's PostBonnie studies~

When I think about the idea of  “going back to school” I know deep down that I just like to fantasize about the learning.  I don’t really want to go to a college/university and sit in a class or lecture hall with a bunch of students half my age…but I do love the idea of learning new things constantly.   Sometimes I wish that all classes were open to everyone and anyone and I could just drop in on some classes and learn something new and interesting, but then leave if it started to bore me.  Without being in trouble or needing a note.  Yes, I admit, I’d like to flit from subject to subject, learning all the while but not being tied down to any one topic.  I’m sure this speaks volumes about who I am.  Perhaps if I’d studied psychology I’d be able to tell you.  I get bored and distracted quite easily.  Learn, learn, learn, NEXT!  And then there are the tests that come with going to school.  I hate tests.  I panic during tests and when I panic my mind shuts down, my memory disappears and I don’t see clearly.  Not a good attribute for a student.

My son is working on his business and entrepreneurial degree.  I’m very proud at how hard he works toward his goal.  I love hearing about the courses he is taking and I’ve often thought I’d love to take some of those classes too.  I doubt these courses would have interested me when I was younger but now that I’m *cough* older I realize the value in the business knowledge he’s acquiring and I’d love to be able to use it myself in business.   I think he gets flashes of that truth now and again too, but for the most part he’s just trying to get through it.  Right now he still has the stress of getting good grades, working to afford it all, and maintaining a busy social life as well.  If I were to go back to school now at this stage of my life it would only be for the joy of learning.  The grades wouldn’t matter, I wouldn’t have to worry about affording it, and as for a social life…let’s just say going to bed early every night would not be a problem for me.

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Have You Ever Hauled Off and Spanked Your Child?

Whether you did or didn’t ~ what did you learn from the experience?

post pic 4-1Jacquie loses all vestiges of her humanity and wallops the living daylights out of …this topic ~

A photo released to the press a while ago sparked pseudo-outrage when it showed a very angry nanny grabbing the arm of one of the cherubic Gosselin sextuplets.  ‘How dare she abuse those angels!‘ the headlines screamed.  What?  Have we all gone so mad to think that a grown up has no right to discipline a misbehaving child?!  It got me to thinking about the many times I needed to discipline one of my kids and, thank heavens, I’m so glad I didn’t have cameras following me around back then.

I used to call Emilie, my firstborn, my practice child.  When I had her I had no idea how to deal with a kid, especially one as stubborn and determined as she was.  I’m not really happy to report that I did fall back on the swift swat on the behind on a few occasions when she was young.  It did the trick, sent an immediate message and got results.  By the time my other two kids came along I was a lot calmer as a parent and knew what I was doing to a much greater degree, and so spanks didn’t seem the best way to deal with behavior issues anymore.  A look, or the tone of my voice and consistency in my behavior worked far better.   I can’t really remember if I’ve ever even given my youngest, Samantha, a spank, though she may have a better memory than me in this regard.

If I were to do things all over again I probably wouldn’t be able to say I’d never resort to physical punishment again. Well, let me clarify… I never did the “wait til your daddy gets home” trip.  If I saw an infraction that needed immediate remediation I took care of it myself.   I always felt that a small wallop on the butt was more about sending a message of disapproval than about administering pain (at least they way I handled it) but I’m sure there were a few times the kids felt it!  I probably had good reasons, but thinking back I do wish I could have managed without ever laying a hand on the kids…in a perfect world, right?

I know they haven’t been scarred by getting a few timely, well-deserved whacks in their childhood.  I do feel sorry for the parents nowadays trying to raise kids, fearful of  having child protective services crash in and take them away if they so much as grab an arm in public.   One of my husband’s favourite stories is of how his mother would chase him around the house with a section of Hot Wheels track.  I shudder just to think of that 3 foot long strip of flexible plastic whipping the 10 year old backside of my dear, gentle Gavin.  We also get a good laugh out of the image, too.  The experience obviously didn’t maim him for life and he’s a pretty stable guy considering…  : )

Let me end by saying that I DO NOT abide by anything that comes close to feeling like child abuse!  That’s a totally different topic, though I imagine some of you out there will counter by saying something like ‘what’s the difference?’  Fair enough.  I’m speaking as one reasonable adult to the next.   You’ll have to trust me when I say I do know the difference and I think most rational adults do, too.  This is just about my experiences as a parent.

Bonnie Johnson's PostBonnie pulls back her arm, releases and lands a big one right on target~

I was spanked occasionally as a child.  It never felt like a big deal to me because I always knew I had it coming and because it was never extreme.  I’d been warned, but I had to cross the line every now and again to test the strength of that line.  It’s something kids have been doing since the beginning of time.  Unfortunately these days I think parents are confused about what is “best”.  There are so many opinions out there.

I parented much like my parents parented me.  I spanked occasionally if the line was crossed.  However, I felt it was very important to take time out to allow my own anger to be taken out of the equation.  I don’t believe it is right to spank when you are still angry.  You are supposed to be teaching a lesson not taking out your own anger on the child.

One of the biggest lessons I learned parenting was that being consistent always produced the best results with my son.  It may not always be easy to follow through on the punishment but if you are consistent and do what you said you would do/not do/take away/etc then eventually they believe you the first time.

I have a really hard time watching young children out there acting out of control and disrespectful to their parents and to other adults.  I cringe when the parents of these kids softly beg their children to behave.  Who’s in control?  I worry it’s because they are afraid, as Jaquie said, that protective services will accuse them of abuse and so they do nothing.  And the child learns pretty quick that they have the upper hand.  On the other hand I certainly don’t want to witness parents whacking their children angrily and going too far.  I just don’t think the extremes of either of these scenarios works.

I really can only speak about my own experience both as the child who had a spanking or two or three in her life and as the parent who had to deliver them occasionally.  Neither was enjoyable but the lessons were learned.

TracyTracy reaches out to touch someone…without any guilt what so ever~

Yes I’ve spanked my kids!   At least once or twice for sure, never hard, or in public because they didn’t need to be.  Kids only need one at an age when they can remember it and then your golden for about 5 years after that. (kidding)  There comes a day when your kids look at you when you have steam coming out of your ears, like you have steam coming out of your ears, you fumble your words and they mock you and laugh and then that form of discipline comes to an abrupt end.  I still remember the day my Mom came down the hall threatening ‘the white handled hairbrush’ to both my brother Chris and I, she just looked silly, we both looked at her like “Really? Are you serious?“  I think we might have been 12 !  If we had joined forces we surely could have taken her!  We laughed because she just couldn’t pull it off, her smiling eyes gave it away, we all started to laugh.

There have been times when I have wanted to reprimand other peoples kids because they were completely and utterly out of control.  Either the parents have given up or don’t want to be judged in a public venue, understandable, but a cop out as far as I am concerned!  TUNING YOUR KIDS OUT DOESN’T WORK FOR ANYONE BUT YOU! Do something that shows your the adult and they are not in control, please!  Keep in mind that the one person in the entire Universe who doesn’t believe in spanking or punishment will be the one standing next to you ready to call family services.  Take one for the team!  I think there should be a rule that if you tune your kids out in public it is left up to the next closest adult in proximity to be allowed to wallop the little creature!

to spank I remember waiting until my Dad came home once and only once, I was horrified.  I started to cry even before he entered my room.  Poor Dad, I think it’s unfair to make Dad deal with something after the fact because you couldn’t at the time.  I had the BEST childhood any kid could ever ask for.  My Mom and Dad were the best in the entire world, they were caring, loving, patient parents that I couldn’t have imagined living without.  Unconditional love surrounded us and I felt safe, warm and loved everyday by both of them.

The way I chose to discipline both my kids when they were young was to take away some of their favourite things.  I also used the “naughty chair” but was always amazed that my son would sit in it willingly.  It used to crack me up.  I only remember really being upset once, I took every toy out of my sons room until his behaviour changed.  I have a thread of guilt left about that. or not to spank

Finding the right discipline is hard, I didn’t believe my kids should ‘fear me’.  I felt like the time out was more for me than them.  When you do feel like your going to lose it, leave the room and take a time out for yourself to put everything in perspective, hard I know when your child has just sharpied the carpet, it does work.  On the flip side I don’t believe in letting kids run your household, they need boundaries and look for them…forever!!!

Now that my kids are older, when they bug one another I put them to bed 15 minutes earlier each time they do.  It only takes one night of them hitting the sack at 6:30 pm and they think twice the next time.  It makes for a quiet night for you and your partner, win win!

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Spiritual Journey~

TracyIf you decided to go on a “Spiritual Journey” where would you go and what would you do?


“Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now… And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love.”
Caroline Adams

Spirituality has long been associated with religion, deities, the supernatural, and an afterlife.  Many equate spirituality with religion, but the two are separate entities, religion being one way man experiences spirituality.  Spirituality may include introspection, and the development of an individuals inner life through practices such as meditation, prayer and contemplation.

Spiritual Journey’s can change and enrich your life.  Whether you ride your motorcycle down to Monument Valley or Hike in the Himalayan Mountains a spiritual journey is a very personal exploration of ones self.  We usually embark on such quests when we are aware that our spirituality need attention.  It can be described as an “Aha Moment” even.  It’s when you venture out of your comfort zone and look inward for answers to questions we all have.  “What is my purpose or path in life?”

If I were to go on a ‘Spiritual Journey’ I would pick one of two.  I would love to spend time with Buddhist Monks to learn about Meditation, Intention and Karma and I would also like to learn about Kabbalah. I have always believed that meditation is a huge part of being spiritual and can calm our souls and shed light on issues we all have.  Meditation means awareness.  “Watching your breath” is meditation; listening to the birds is meditation.   As long as these activities are free from any other distraction to the mind, it is effective meditation.  Meditation is not a technique but a way of life.  Meditation means ‘a cessation of the thought process’.  By meditating you are able to let go of your physical self and get in tune with your metaphysical side.  That is the Spiritual Journey I would like to embark on!

Post Insert Jacquie When I was in my twenties I had small kids that needed to be taken care of and the journey I was on was one of survival.  Mine and theirs.  I believed it was my sacred duty to make sure these young souls felt safe, secure and loved.  Now that I’m no longer necessary in quite the same way, I’ve felt the need to find other  ways to feel complete.  I’ve decided for me that means reaching beyond my comfort zone, past established boundaries and out into the community I share with my global neighbours.

I could answer this question metaphysically, but what I really think Tracy is asking in this post is for a literal description of where I want my spiritual journey to begin, or take shape.  I’ve actually been looking into a place in the Kootenays, about 9 hours from Vancouver near Nelson, BC, called Yasodhara Ashram.  I’ve never been anywhere near this area but I’ve heard of it’s natural beauty and peaceful majesty.  Yasodhara offers yoga, meditation and spiritual guidance for beginners like me all the way up to advanced practitioners.  I would love to spend a week or two by myself totally immersed in the everyday Ashram comings and goings and at the complete mercy of the program.  I would arrive with an open mind and heart and actively seek enlightenment or whatever came my way.   My spiritual journey is about enriching my life with experience and knowledge and I know a stay at the Ashram will only begin to heighten my awareness of all the work I have yet to do, but it’s a good start.   Think of it like an all-inclusive for the spiritual cherry-picker.  It may take several pilgrimages to find what works for you, but each attempt brings you closer to your goal.  Keeping an open mind is key.

Bonnie Johnson's Post

There are many places in the world that are considered “holy” or “spiritual” places to visit.  Places like Jerusalem, Tibet, Machu Picchu, etc.  Eckhart Tolle, who wrote “A New Earth” and “The Power of Now” has said he felt that the west coast of North America and specifically around Vancouver, BC had a strong positive energy which he was drawn to in order to write about his own spiritual journey.  I don’t doubt this.  I have been in different places in the world that seem to awaken something deep within me.  But a true spiritual journey is really about going within your Self.  I don’t think it matters as much about the ground beneath your feet as it does about the degree in which you can tune in to your Source (God/Spirit/Universe/insert whichever label you are comfortable with).

I believe a true spiritual journey is one that inspires you to connect with your own spirit.  I have felt that way when sitting on a flat rock beside a babbling creek in North Vancouver, while floating in a canoe in an underground river deep inside a cave in New Zealand, while looking out at the ocean on a beach in Australia, while exploring our beautiful British Columbian outdoors, and even while watching a spider working on its web in my own yard.  If a place inspires and stirs your soul then it is worth a journey to.  It may be its beauty, its energy or simply a memory it stirs up for you.  Wherever that is for you I hope you are able to go there often.

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If you were to be remembered for one thing, what would you like it to be?

Bonnie Johnson's PostBonnie who?~

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
Leo Buscaglia, quoted in Words from the Wise: Over 6,000 of the Smartest Things Ever Said

When I pass on some time after my 102nd birthday, I’m pretty sure there will be some family members who may still remember me…probably.  Does it really matter though?  I mean, once you are gone so is your ego and that is the part of you that so wants to be remembered.  Eventually the memories fade and you will be forgotten, unless you are a major character in  world history, in which case it will just take a little longer for the memories to fade.

But while I am still around and before every memory of me has evaporated, my ego and I would love to be remembered for being kind.  I will admit right here, right now, that I have probably not always  been completely kind in every situation.  If any of you out there recall any of those memories, please forget them right now.  They must be old memories anyway.  Let’m go!  I want to live up to the quote at the top of this page from this point on.  Being known and remembered for your kindness towards others sounds like a perfect goal and one I’m aiming for.

Post Insert JacquieJacquie~

I’ve thought about this quite a lot and all I can come up with is that I hope my family and friends remember me as being a generous person.  Generous with my time,  money and material possessions.  Generous with my compliments and generous with my laughter.  It’s my way of showing people that I care about them, that I trust them and that I like them.  I’m not stingy, except maybe when you try to go for my potato chips.  I’m a pretty good tipper, too.  Maybe just being remembered as being nice is okay, too.  Nice is never a rousing endorsement, it’s usually a milquetoast adjective, but in this case I’m fine with it.

I’d find it much easier to write about what I hope I’m NOT remembered for.  Then I could be a bit funnier and dazzle with the shock and awe of the mistakes I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned.   Truthfully, I’m not concerned about being remembered after I’m gone because I just don’t think I’m that important in the grand scheme of things.   I trust people will remember me for the right reasons and if they don’t then there’s nothing I can do about it.  I’m working on creating the best life I can live now, and I trust the rest will fall into place.

When my friends look at my photos on facebook (assuming it’s still around in 60 years) I hope they’ll be leaving comments like  “This old broad sure liked to have fun!”.

I would love it if,  when I pass on, my kids and grandkids want to ransack my art studio and perhaps even fight over a few pieces.  That would be so validating to me as an artist!  ; )

TracyTracy will be remembered for ~

I want to be remembered for living life as a good example (most of the time) for my kids~ Let me explain.  If I keep fit and show my children that it is part of my regular routine to run and take care of the body, hopefully they will as well.  If I show by example that eating  healthy is a part of my lifestyle they will too.  If I work hard and show them it pays off then they will naturally work hard as well.  They will see by example how I treat those around me.  “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

I am not saying that I am always a good example!  After all, I am human and to err is human.  I have done things in my life that should perhaps not be followed, but I also teach not to judge so there is a realistic balance in our lives.

I wish to be remembered for is how I approach my relationships.  I hope that living by example in my relationships will show my kids that just because everyone else isn’t doing it, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.  I want to show them that having the courage to be honest in a relationship will lead you to where you are meant to be.

Being a minority is okay and can be a healthy challenge.

I want to show my kids by example that no matter what life sends your way it is a lesson worth learning that can be turned into a positive experience by letting go of stereotyping, expectations and obligations.  There is always an exception to every rule!

What do you want to be remembered for ?

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Oprah, Why’d ya’ do it?

Post Insert JacquieJacquie speaks up ~ Mackenzie Phillips was on Oprah last week ‘opening up’ about her 10 year incestuous relationship with her father John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas.   I didn’t watch but I picked up the gist of it on Internet sites and so-called news programs that ran sound bites for days afterwards.

I’m a huge Oprah fan but I chose not to watch because I had seen an episode with Mackenzie years ago where she spilled about her drug addiction and sexcapades with people like Mick Jagger, and frankly I was a bit disgusted that Oprah would give this girl another hour of good air space.   Incest is definitely an Oprah worthy topic but I think she could have found more believable guests to share their story.  Mackenzie was a minor celebrity once and I feel she’s using the media to stay in the spotlight and has very little interest in helping others with her story, as she claims.

Michelle Phillips, Mac’s step mom, finds the timing particularly interesting as the allegations came out just a week before Mackenzie’s step sister, Chynna Phillips, was set to release a new album.  Oprah’s good, Mac, but you need a professional couch to sit on for some real therapy.

I hope Oprah will concentrate on what she does so well;  introducing us to inspiring stories of courage, love, talent, forgiveness, hope and  personal growth ~  and leave the tabloid garbage to the bottom feeders.

TracyTracy googles ‘Mackenzie Phillips’ and then has this to say ~

I did have to google ‘Mackenzie Phillips’ to find out some of the details and although the topic of incest bothers me terribly and I find these allegations to be of a very serious nature, the only two people who know the truth are Mackenzie Phillips and her father John Phillips.  Unless someone actually walked in on them doing what is claimed it’s all hearsay.  I don’t believe everything I hear as I wrote about in a post  What Can We Believe Anymore .  If I had tuned in to the show I would have tuned right back out as soon as I saw the guest and nature of the show.  It screams Jerry Springer to me.  I am not a big fan of shows that thrive on conflict and drama.

The Mamas and Papas incest case shows that it’s time to stop celebrating the Sixties, says Gill Hornby.”  Well that sucks cause I was just hoping to start celebrating the 60’s just this year as I said in my bio Tracy quote:  I am driven by passion and romance and if were given the chance would go back to the age of innocence when courting and ballroom dancing existed. (I’m rethinking that at the moment)  The 60’s are starting to look better to me now for some reason.” I might leave that alone for awhile until the dust settles.  I love the Mamas and the Papas music though, it sounds so innocent so perhaps we could all use a musical interlude right now…Peace

Bonnie Johnson's PostBonnie reluctantly gives this her attention~

Hmm.  I’m struggling with how to approach this.  I have recently learned that if something doesn’t make me feel good then I don’t give it my attention.  Incest and speaking about it makes most people uncomfortable and I’m no exception.  I knew the program on Oprah would not make me feel good.  However I grew up watching “One Day at a Time” and because of that I decided to watch Oprah featuring Mackenzie Phillips.

My Tara partners did not watch the show or, I suspect, the follow-up show on Friday either.  I understand why they both chose not to view the show, I almost didn’t myself.  If they had seen both shows they would probably have had a softer opinion towards Mackenzie.  They would have learned that there were many others who were aware of the consensual incest that went on for 10 years.  They would have learned that Mackenzie’s sister, Chynna Phillips (Michelle Phillips daughter) knew about the incest and fully supports her sister now and feels her mother is simply in denial which is a normal reaction in this situation.  They would have seen the pain on Mackenzie’s face as she spoke about these things and I’m sure would have felt some sympathy for a fellow human being that had lived through some of the horrors that Mackenzie did.  I’m also sure that they would agree that Mackenzie is already making a difference to many who have gone through the same or similar trauma in their life and have contacted her to speak about it.  This story is about love, forgiveness, hope and personal growth.

When all you hear is the rhetoric around a story and not see or hear the story first hand I think it is truly best to refrain from making any judgments regarding it.  We are always touting that we are not judgmental  here at Tara Cronica after all.

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Bucket List!

Alright Goddesses, what is one thing on your Bucket list you have yet to do?

TracyTracy has yet to~

I want to live in a Spanish speaking country until I can finally speak the language fluently~ At some point in the future I would love to live in either Spain or Mexico.  I love the sound of the Spanish language, so romantic, how could anyone not want to speak it fluently.  I would like a Spanish boyfriend who will have a Spanish argument with me just so we can make up passionately in you guessed it, Spanish.

When I was in high school you only had French or German to choose from.  I never even made it 30 minutes in French class, I walked out because my teacher was really bitchy from the moment she entered the classroom.  I had just been in France and saw first hand how the French ignored those who didn’t speak ‘real’ French so I didn’t really see the point in learning Québécois French. A teacher can make or break the learning process.  My only other options was German and since the people of Germany were so kind I decided to give it a try.  “Ich bin haben sie ein schriber.”  I have a pen is all I took away from a semester in German.  Not proud of that at all!

I finally signed up to a Spanish class last October at a local high school where the teacher was outstanding, Carlos Rabago.  Outside of the class the only person I could find to speak Spanish with was a friend of my sons, Richard, who was 10 years old.  He was really sweet and listened intently each time I leaned a new phrase.  He understood me and smiled as we had our Spanish conversation each day.  When my class was finished and life got busy again, Spanish was put aside.  Eventually all I could say was “Hola Richard”, he still smiled and always replied “Hola.”  It was never said out loud but we both knew I spent $100 bucks to learn how to say hello and it became a joke.  So as you can see by my track record I NEED to live in the country of the language I want to learn or it just doesn’t stay with me for very long.  Perhaps Ginkgo would help?

So I would love if someday I could live somewhere I had to speak this beautiful language everyday.  Hola Jake, can’t wait to hear what’s on your Bucket list!!

Post Insert JacquieJacquie still has to~

Isn’t a bucket list sort of the same thing as a vision board?  They’re both the physical manifestation of future wishes and dreams, right?  If that’s the case, let me just saunter over to the other side of my office and take a peek at my life’s blueprint as designed by me about 6 months ago, and which now hangs above my bookshelf  conveniently placed at eye level so I can’t miss it.   That cabin deep in the woods by a lake still hasn’t been built.  I have yet to run naked along the seashore confidently yelling ‘This is me!  Take it or leave it!’ and I’m still working towards getting my first solo art show off the ground one day.

I’ve got big plans and a mighty long list to get through but perhaps the most important bucket/vision board dream of mine would be to one day pack up only the essentials like paint, a sketch book, Gavin and a good road map, and take a few months to explore the Americas by car.  No, change that to one of those little vans with room to crash in the back for a quickie catnap (nudge, nudge,wink, wink).  I’d stop in pretty little towns and eat lemon meringue pie in friendly mom n’ pop cafes.  I’d visit art galleries and antique shops and wineries and explore side streets and back roads and downtown thoroughfares ~ all while searching for lyrical beauty in everyday spaces.  If I were truly adventurous (and I have been in the past) I’d like to think I would be able to continue the trip into Central America, down through Ecuador and Peru with Machu Picchu as the ultimate destination.  I know I’d have to park the van at some point and join a group on foot to get to the sacred city high in the Andes, but I’d do it in a heartbeat.   Something tells me it might be too dangerous to do the South American part of the trip on wheels so I might have to fly down, but one way or the other I plan on getting to the Incan site before I … kick the bucket ; )

* Come back on Monday and find out more about Peace One Day and the Machu Picchu connection!

Bonnie Johnson's PostBonnie is planning to~

I want to learn to speak french!!! I have to say that I did attempt to learn some languages during high school but I was not very good at any of them.   I took a term of Latin, Indonesian, German and French.  Dumped the Latin and Indonesian and tried to carry on with German and French.  I ended up taking French as far as grade eleven in high school to the frustration of many a french teacher.  I didn’t really see the point in any of it back then.  I was from the West Coast of Canada and had never been to the East Coast so really had no worries of needing to converse with any French Canadians much (except that one summer when that cute French Canadian guy and I…nah, still didn’t need the language).

Since then I’ve done a lot of traveling around the world and boy do I wish I’d paid better attention to those lessons.  As a Canadian I’ve decided that I really should make a better attempt at learning to speak french.  I love the way it sounds too.  Plus if you can speak french then you can figure out a little Spanish which is a bonus for those winters when we get to escape to Mexico!

So I’ve bought all the tapes and cd’s and I even own the aptly named book “French for Dummies” but I’m really no further ahead at this point.  I recently babysat where the child wanted me to read some simple books to him.  In french.  I had to fake it, and because he is only eight months old he didn’t catch on.  Phew!  I’m not giving up though.  I still want to parlez francais one day!

Ah, c’est la vie!

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What events, if any in your childhood significantly influenced who you are now?

Bonnie Johnson's PostBonnie’s Happy Place~ Of course everything that happened in my life has influenced who I am today,  but the one that sticks out the most for me is the summer I spent with my grandparents when I was seven.  They lived on some acreage about an hour outside of Penticton, BC.  There was no running water or electricity and it felt to me like we were back in Laura Ingalls day.   I loved it.Wikiup We lived in what my grandparents called the “Wikiup” which was a large wooden one roomed tee pee that sat on the crest of a dry hill top.  It was a temporary home while my grandfather built their larger house in a better location a short distance away.  Their plan was to eventually build a golf course and the Wikiup was going to be part of the “Cowboys and Indians” themed club house. It doesn’t get any better for a seven year old tomboy.

Coming from my apartment in downtown Vancouver (Davie and Denman no less) to this wild country was better than chocolate to me.  I could run free all day long with Penny, my grandparents little dog.  I had no toys other than nature and I learned to rely on my imagination for my fun.  I was so close to nature and without any modern-day distractions during this time that I really believe I re-connected with my soul…my real Self.  It felt magical and I have never forgotten those times.  When life gets to be too much I can fall back into those memories and feel aligned again.  I can imagine I’m barefoot and jumping from one warm flat rock to the next in the creek or that I’m walking alone along the deer trails.   I can smell the warm pine needles, feel the hot sun on my back and hear the squirrels and birds chattering.  And I’m there again.  I’m back to my Self.

Post Insert Jacquie

Jacquie~ I don’t remember many specifics from my early years but one event really made a huge impact on me.  I had just started grade 2  and, as per usual, making friends was top priority.  I was playing with a group of older girls after school when one of them told a joke that made everyone laugh.  I filed that info away, and the next day in class we were asked to do a bit of creative writing.  I thought I was so clever!  I wrote down that joke as best I could remember it.   When it came my turn to stand in front of the class and read my draft I was sure I was going to have them rolling in the aisle, but instead the teacher very kindly but sternly reprimanded me and explained how hurtful these types of comments could be.  What?!  I had told a …racist joke?  What was that? I didn’t even realize until that moment that the words I had repeated could be so hurtful to so many in my own classroom!  All I had been thinking about was that I wanted to make the kids laugh the way the other girls had the day before.  I really hadn’t thought much about what the words actually meant.   I suddenly saw it so clearly and felt sick and ashamed, but I also remember my teacher being very understanding and me feeling so glad she wasn’t mad.  I looked at the kids in the class that I had offended like I was seeing them for the first time and wanted them to know I was truly sorry, that I simply hadn’t been thinking, and that ugliness wasn’t me.

I see this event as a pivotal moment because it taught me about the power of the written and/or spoken word and that I needed to pay more attention to what I was saying or doing.  It also made me realize I saw everyone as different ~ but equal.  I wish I could remember my teacher’s name and give her a shout-out because she also deserves credit for how she handled the situation.  I’m sure my ‘episode’ gave her a perfect opportunity to teach the kids about racism, tolerance and respect.  I know I learned a lesson that day I’ve never forgotten.

TracyTracy Reminisces~ This ones easy for me Bonnie.   We are influenced so much as children and I often wonder myself what events I have created in my kids lives that will help make them who they are becoming.

I would have to say without a doubt traveling throughout Europe for a year with my family when I was 10 years old would be the most significant event that influenced me.   Although I was only 10 years old and it took many years to really show up in my personality, it did impact me throughout my entire life and still does.  It showed me that there is an entire planet out there to explore.  I learned that people from all over the world were so different, yet so similar.  It broadened my horizon.

Tracy, Mohamad our guide for the Kasbah, ChrisI would daydream after that year long adventure about the people I met along the way, one I still write to after 35 years, Silvia who lives in the Netherlands.  Some only crossed my path for a day but they too are still a memory that will be with me after I am old and grey.

I became more independent.  As a family we compromised and worked things out because we were all we had.  It gave me a sense of freedom and confidence to live my life how I wanted to.  My parents were not like other parents when they quit their jobs and sold their house to travel.  They gave up security to live their lives the way they wanted to.  They were not conformists, which I totally admire.  Having kids didn’t stop them from living their lives.  They showed me that dreams are real, you just have to live them.  I continue to learn even now from that event or experience that happened so many years ago.  I also learned that balance is very important in life experience.  Which is what I am still striving for today.

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Relive One Day!

Okay ladies if you could Relive One Day all over again what day would you pick and why?

TTracy Relives the Past~

While running last Saturday August 15th 2009 which is my son Jesse’s birthday I couldn’t help but reflect back on that day eleven years ago.  Jesse was my first child, who gave me the gift of being a Mom.  While I relived that day in my mind as I ran I wished that I could go back to it and do it all over again.

Eleven very memorable years have past since that day and it still brings tears to my eyes thinking of becoming a Mom for the first time.  On that day my life as I once knew it changed.  My heart stretched bigger than I could have ever imagined.  I felt everything more intensely.  My maternal instincts all came alive on that day.

I remember Bonnie once told me after the birth of her son James that if she was told she had to eliminate everyone on this planet to save his life she would do it in a mother’s heart beat.  I disagreed and said “I would save my husband, my soul mate, you can always have another child.”  On August 15 1998 everyone on the planet was fair game if I was ever faced with that dilemma.  Yes even my soul mate, gone, every single one of you!

The magnitude of emotion that pours through your soul is indescribable.  You can’t believe this little human being came from you and your partner, you created them !  They grew inside of you for 10 months and every moment is surreal, from finding out you were pregnant to feeling your babies first flutter, to the grand finale of holding your precious little baby.  I felt overwhelming love.  It was hard to believe you could love something so small, so much, instantly.  When you touch for the very first time the connection is pure magic.  It’s falling in loves in it’s purest form.  Bliss.  I can tell you without a doubt that being a Mother has been the best thing I have EVER done.  Every day I have the pleasure of spending time with my kids is a blessing I am forever thankful for.  So ladies what day would you like to relive again?   Birth of Jesse

jacquie janzen yeeJacquie~

Great photo, Tracy!   Isn’t it funny how our minds work?  When I read the question I understood it to mean what day would you like to ‘do over’ as in erase from memory with a clean slate and get it right this time kinda thing.  Ha! Like I could pick just one!

I’d have to say I’d love a retake of the day I competed for Miss Teen Vancouver back when I was 15.  My sister had invited several our friends to be in the audience and so the pressure was on to do well.  During the interview portion I remember the other girls getting great questions like ‘Which famous character from a novel do you admire most?’ (Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice) or ‘Should Phys Ed still be taught in high schools?” (yes)

My question was about women’s lib.  Now, I knew nothing about women’s lib, being only 15, and so my answer upset some feminists in the audience and apparently I got some boos from their direction.  Yowza!  I think I said something  about how I felt men and women were made differently for a reason and so each were better suited for specific jobs.  It had to do with how our brains processed info differently.  Yeah, I know…painful!   For years I would cringe whenever I thought of that day, and the way my friends were buckled over with laughter at my faux pas (they did take me out for a sundae at White Spot afterwards to soothe my jangly nerves).

I have a much broader grasp on the topic now and could handle that question so much better if given the chance, but I still think men and women deal with issues differently and bring unique talents to the table based on gender.   I just needed a more PC way to say it when I was 15!

Vive La Difference!

Bonnie Johnson's PostBonnie Looks Back~

First off, I just have to say ~  “I LOVE that photo Tracy!”  The joy on your face is so uplifting.  A perfect moment caught by the camera forever.

When I first thought about the subject for this post I had a few wonderful memories pop into my head.  Some of the “firsts” would be worth reliving (some not).  I thought I might write about a carefree day in my childhood, a time before I knew any disappointment or sadness.

Instead I’m thinking back to the day that James was born.  It wasn’t the same for me as it was for Tracy.  I didn’t feel an instant connection like she did.  I felt odd, like I didn’t know who the strange little person was who lay so near me in his little hospital crib.   I really didn’t.  Everyone around me expected me to just know how to handle him and what he wanted whenever he squeaked.  I didn’t have a clue.  Those maternal instincts did not rush in the moment I laid eyes on him.  It happened slowly for me.  I gradually began to love every ounce of the demanding little stranger, but not instantly.  I did feel a strong need to protect the little gaffer.  Knowing him and loving him the way I do now does make me want to go back and relive that day.   To really understand the gift of sharing the very first day of life with my precious son.

And then I’d like to relive each and every day with him after that too.  Because now that he has grown and moved away I look back and wish I could have appreciated each of those days more.  Yes  I would have done some things differently for sure, but most of all I would have enjoyed every single moment of the time we lived together.  Sigh.

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Tara Cronica Ink’d at Genesis Designs Tattoo!

Genesis Tattoos in Vernon BC

(Scroll down to see photos of the big day)

TracyTracy Gets Inked! Today I got Inked!! (twice)  I have wanted to for years and until now the design and placement has never seemed quite right.  This was not a spontaneous event for me, it was planned and thought out long before the ink went on my ‘Virgin’ body never to be removed!  The Artist was Fraser Pattison from Genesis Designs Tattoo in Vernon.  Fraser’s calm demeanor made me feel very comfortable and in good hands.  My design is our Tara Cronica Symbol that we created which is the Buddhist Goddess Arya Tara’s Tiara and the Lotus.  It represents a time in my life when my passion was found and crossed over my path in life.  The branches reaching out represent growth in both myself and Tara Cronica.  Fraser created exactly what I wanted.  Timing truly is everything!  My entire experience at Genesis Designs Tattoo was incredible !  Thank you to Fraser and the Staff  for making my tattoo experience memorable !

Bonnie Johnson's Post

Bonnie Goes Next! There was a lot of excitement and anticipation and yes, a little nervousness leading up to our appointments at Genesis Designs Tattoo.  It first began during a girlfriend get together months ago.  The three of us decided that we all wanted to be together when Tracy went for her very first tattoo, which led to Jacquie and I both mulling over the idea of another tattoo for ourselves as well.  Incorporating our Tara Cronica symbol felt really right for all of us.  It stemmed from our commitment to Tara Cronica; it stemmed from a shared dedication to our friendship and it stemmed from our shared creative development of this new venture no matter where it may lead us.  The creation of Tara Cronica has allowed us all to grow and stretch in ways we hadn’t imagined.  Who wouldn’t want to memorialize all of that!

post pic 3-1Jacquie Faces the Needle! What a great day we had today!  Up until last night I was planning on placing my Tara Cronica Lotus and Tiara symbol on my wrist but, true to form, changed my mind at the last minute and stuck it on the inside of my ankle.  My friends won’t be surprised by this at all, I’m sure.  It’s classic Jacquie.

Our symbol represents the beginning of an intensely creative chapter in my life where I feel inspired and supported by my wonderful girlfriends.   I wanted my new tattoo to be in a place where I could see it and have it remind me I’m on the Path to Enlightenment and forever searching for lyrical beauty in everyday happenings.  Truth be told, I’ll never not be on that path now that I’ve begun the journey and can see how much I have yet to learn.  I’m so glad I got the tattoo and so very blessed to have Bonnie and Tracy by my side to share in the memory of it all.  And thank you Fraser and Genesis Designs Tattoo.  You Rock!

Waiting to get ink'd

Tracy's Artwork

Tracy's readyI'm ready!
Tracy at Genesis TattoosTracy at Genesis Tattoo complete!Bonnie's Artwork Bonnie's stencil outlineFraser & Bonnie at Genesis TattoosBonnie Being Inked at Genesis TattoosBonnie at Genesis Tattoos Complete!Jacquie & Fraser at Genesis TattoosJacquie getting inked at Genesis TattoosJacquie & Fraser get closeJacquie and Bonnie at Genesis TattoosJacquie at Genesis Tattoos Complete!Bonnie, Fraser, Jacquie, Tracy at Genesis Tattoos Inked!

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What Are You So Afraid Of?

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You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.   Eleanor Roosevelt

Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.   James Thurber

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.   Marianne Williamson

Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom.    Marilyn Ferguson

What exactly is fear?  It is a negative emotion that stems from the “unknown”.  Fear comes in many forms.  There are the common fears; spiders, snakes, sharks, water, the dark, etc. Then there are the less obvious fears such as the fear of commitment or the fear of failure.  The fears we feel for all of these always sparks our escape and avoidance reflex.  So what are some of your fears and have you been able to work past them and even shed them?

Bonnie Johnson's Post

Bonnie Braves it Out~

I actually used to be afraid of birds at one time.  Birds! Can you believe that?  It started when my little brother used to take his pet budgie and throw it under my covers while I slept.  The poor thing would freak out and bite of course and I would wake up with bird feathers flapping in my face and scratchy beak bites.  I was afraid of flapping bird wings for years after.  I finally just forced myself to get close and observe birds for awhile and before long the fear just melted away.  I love birds now.

My fears today are a little more complex but I will try and conquer them in the same way.  I’ll examine them closely, learn all I can about them.  Just stare them down.  It is a little harder to do with fears like the fear of failure and the fear of being inadequate but not impossible.  I’ll just break them down bit by bit and tackle them by reminding myself that all that really matters is to reach for a good feeling thought.  I did that with the birds.  As I observed birds, I would think about how pretty their feathers were or how amazing their song sounded.

So when the fear of failure grips me again I’ll force myself to focus on a positive thought like “I know I’ll learn something from this experience regardless of it’s outcome.”  Another trick I’ve learned is to bring my thoughts back to the “now”.   For example, I’ll ask myself if all is well in this moment.  It always is.  Here’s to finding freedom by facing, fighting and conquering our fears!

Tracy

Tracy Faces hers ~

Bonnie this is an excellent topic.  I have had fears over the years but as I continue to grow I realize that it is very true that on the other side of fear is freedom.  I think there is no other way to release your fears than by facing them head on.  Fear is being afraid of the unknown.  We are assuming the unknown is scary.  What a waste if it isn’t.

I was afraid as a child to be the last one up in the house out of fear of hearing something my sleeping parents didn’t.  It’s 12:26 am and I am the only one up!

I was afraid to sleep over night at  friends houses for fear that something would happen to my family while I was gone.  I know that’s intense for a little girl and I don’t know where it came from but it was a huge fear.  This fear made me miss out on a ton of fun times like Outdoor School, Brownie Camp and slumber parties so it prevented me from living and making great memories!

Having children can make fear creep into our lives, it certainly did mine.  Making sure they are safe, protected and looked after.  But again as we face these fears they disappear and empower us.  I have learned that there is nothing you should fear except fear itself.  Fear nothing and you will continue to grow and move in the direction you are meant to go.  Fear changes your path and prolongs the inevitable.  Truth however makes everything possible.  What about you Jake, are you a fraidie pants?

jacquie janzen yee

Jacquie dips her toe in the water ~

Generally speaking, I’m a pretty brave person, but I do have an irrational fear of large things in water like bridge supports, icebergs, oil tankers and stuff like that.  And if barnacles are visible on said objects, I’d pass out cold like those fainting goats Cheryl was telling me about last night!  I can cross a bridge or travel by ship no problem, just don’t make me imagine …I can’t even think it without getting the heebie jeebies…. falling in the water near any of these things!

Luckily, my fear doesn’t run my life, and as long as I don’t go canoeing in English Bay or dog paddling in the Arctic I’ll get by just fine.

I’m with you, Bonnie, regarding the fear of failure that most of us have to deal with somehow.  Strangely related is the fear of success.  Both of these fears are about the future and have little to do with the reality of the ‘now’ unless you let them take control.  I have to tell myself to relax and enjoy my time in the present and not to worry about outcomes all the time.  It’s a hard thing to do.  And I don’t mean you have to be glib about life and thoughtless.  Not at all.   Sometimes my fear of being mediocre prevents me from, say, finishing a painting.   That’s when I have to remember the great feeling of seeing a completed concept and it sets me right again.

That Marianne Williamson quote (above) has been stuck on my cork board for years and I look at it often.  In fact, the flip side of my art cards has the rest of it…

As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.

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Your Best Friend from High School (the one who secretly made out with the guy YOU said you liked) Just Called. What Do You Do?

jacquie janzen yeeJacquie lays it on the line…

I’m a different person than the one who graduated years ago.  I can only assume that most of the women I went to school with have changed a bit, too.  I got a call about a year ago from someone who thought they owed me an apology but when I thought about it I realized they didn’t at all.   I was able to have a great conversation with this person about what’s been going on over the last few years and we’ve had some great laughs.  If I had carried a grudge I would have missed the opportunity to enjoy this fun friendship.

People aren’t angels.  We make mistakes and we learn…hopefully.  I think you have to look at the whole picture and decide if the friendship is worth salvaging.  Sometimes it’s just better leaving well enough alone.   I’m a fixer and so I like neat endings…or beginnings.  I believe in personal growth and change.  Is that foolish?  Maybe, maybe not.

Girls, please let me know what you think!

Bonnie Johnson's PostBonnie doesn’t hold back…

Well my “best friend” from high school was/is Tracy and she would never ever have crossed that line.  I never worried about that for one minute, but there was this one girl…

She wasn’t really even a friend.  Just someone I knew to smile at and say hi to when passing her in the hall.  Here’s the story.  I went to Australia with my family for a month.  I believe it was around Christmas time in our grad year.  While I was away, my boyfriend, my first love, went to a party and made out with this girl from school.  He knew I’d find out about it…it was high school after all, so he confessed as soon as I saw him.  I then confessed about making out with a guy I met in Australia at that point.  17 year old hormones!  (Making out consisted of kissing and a little groping only by the way.)  Anyway, we were both devastated but eventually forgave each other.  The funny thing is, I never forgave that girl.  If you are wondering, yes, I remember her name.  I remember it very well.  I’m not going to say it though because some of you know her.  Recently on Facebook I received one of those messages that says  “so and so is now friends with so and so and thinks you may also know so and so and wish to be friends with them too”.  I don’t think so!!  She made out with my boyfriend 28 years ago and I haven’t forgotten!  I know it’s silly but I don’t care.  It’s not like I really ever think about the incident or even the girl but if her name ever does come up I still bristle.

It’s like she broke the unwritten law of sisterhood.  You just don’t cross that line…ever.  I might forgive her one day…nah!

TracyTracy Gets Real…

If it was “secretly” how do I know ?  I will assume I found out then?  I didn’t have any issues like this with girlfriends in High School (that I am aware of) mostly because I hung out with guys and also because I was not the least bit competitive amongst my friends.  Bonnie was/is my Best friend and real friends wouldn’t cross that line.  Kissing is usually a mutual connection with mutual consent.

I liked the guys I hung out with as friends so this wasn’t an issue that would have bothered me.  I have always thought that if some other girl/woman can ‘get’ my boyfriend or husband for that matter, he’s all yours !  Have at er!  When I think back about high school I have a hard enough time remembering who everyone was never mind what they did!  I can’t think of one person who I wouldn’t be able to talk to openly and enjoy catching up with today.   Boring I know.  Grad 81 !

IMG_1812 (Small)Rob Thompson, Cheater, Bonnie, Tracy, Kent Holden

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What Can Everyone Learn from Gay Pride?

TracyTracy’s Take~

Pride Parade is today in Vancouver!

I think everyone can learn from those who blaze the trails before us.  Gay Pride has shown me that with your voice however small it may seem, mountains can be moved.

When you live your life proud and authentic you are miles ahead of those who judge.  Being Gay has not been an easy path for many.  Those who are Proud of being Gay make me smile. I have never understood how someones sexual preference is anyone elses business but the two who love one another.  Love is love whether it’s experienced with a man or a women.

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Think of the world for a moment without those who are willing to stand up for the rights of human beings.  These individuals do this knowing they will be judged by many.  They have chosen a lifestyle that is not understood or accepted STILL by many.  I find it heart breaking that there are young souls in the world who are afraid to confide in their families for fear of being shunned and not loved.  No soul should have to endure such conflict just to live their life how they feel drawn to.

I celebrate along side of all the Gays, lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgenders who are living truthfully and are setting examples for those who are not yet ready for that journey.  I embrace each soul I meet with open arms and an open mind.  I accept and don’t judge how each one chooses to live their life.  After all it is our life to live!  We can all learn from one another.  What have you learned from Gay Pride Ladies?

jacquieJacquie’s 2 cents~

This is a bit more difficult for me to answer because I don’t have a lot of first hand experience dealing with prejudice of this sort.  I don’t remember my gay friends in high school being treated any differently from the rest of us and I certainly didn’t see anything hurtful going on.  Was I naive back then and just thought all was okay?  Probably.  It does make me sad to think of what some might have gone through and that they needed more support than was offered at the time.

To me the parade allows young people of every sexual orientations to  see that they aren’t alone and they do have a community that accepts them as they are.  To be honest, I sometimes think it goes a bit too far and becomes more of an exhibition than necessary, but that can happen at a typical Mardi Gras parade as well. Call me a prude, but I don’t think you need to bare your body in order to show your pride.  I think I learn more about the actual issues from watching American politics than I do from the parade,  but it is an excellent platform for many people who would otherwise feel they aren’t given the chance to be heard.  I totally support that.  If the parade can enlighten even a handful of people then it’s a success.  Cheers to everyone participating and attending this year!

Bonnie Johnson's Post

Bonnie weighs in~

I agree that those trail blazers have indeed moved mountains and should always be remembered for their dedication and perseverance.  I believe that is part of what the LGBT Pride Parades are all about as well as a time to celebrate diversity.  The parades send a message for change to those in our societies that still cannot accept all others.  Social acceptance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender beings is slowly coming but there are still 80 countries in the world where homosexuality is illegal and in 9 of those countries it is punishable by death!

During the holocaust  gay men were marked with a pink triangle and lesbian women were marked with a black triangle for “antisocial” behavior,  rounded up and sent to concentration camps.  In 1969 when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York, the patrons fought back against a government-sponsored system that persecuted homosexuals, and the ensuing riot  has become the defining event that marked the start of the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

One of my hopes for the near future is that all communities will accept that all sexual orientation and gender identities have sacred worth and will one day be fully included, celebrated, and affirmed with their chosen faith traditions.  To me, this is what the Pride Parades all over the world hope to teach.

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What Makes You Feel Grounded

Bonnie Johnson's PostI think it is really important to ones well-being to feel grounded.  If you do not feel grounded then you feel out of balance, stressed, harried and scattered.

When I was in my twenties and early thirties I often felt like I was ungrounded.  Life just managed to pull me in too many directions at once.  My trick to get back to feeling grounded in those days was to go and stay with my grandparents for awhile.  They always lived in out of the way quiet places and their life style was slow and calm.  It felt so good to melt in with their pace for awhile.  Now that they are both gone I have had to come up with other ways to feel grounded.

I think being grounded means that our body and mind are integrated and to accomplish that it’s important to take yourself out of your own head a bit.  Most of us live too much in our heads and lose awareness of the rest.  I’ve discovered a whole bunch of different ways to feel grounded again and here are a few of my favourites:

1.  Notice nature.  Even little things like walking on the grass barefoot, studying a spider at work in its web, watching a robin pull a worm, playing with my dog, etc.

2.  Hanging out with my best friend.  Talking or not.  Just being with someone you know so well and trust completely can be very therapeutic.

3.  Cuddling with my husband.   Feeling love wrap around you…can it get any better than that?!

4.  Meditating.  Breathing deeply and focusing on nothingness.  Can’t feel scattered when you do that.

5.  Exercising to great music.  That’s why I love going to Zumba class so much.

How about you Jacquie and Tracy?  What makes you feel grounded?

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In high school I remember being introduced to basic psychological concepts having to do with maintaining mental equilibrium and what could happen it they were to suddenly disappear.  We all intuitively accept that when we go to sit on a chair it’s going to hold us up.  We have implicit trust in the structural integrity of that chair not to let us fall.  Sure, sometimes a leg does break and we take a tumble, but we can rationalize that it was old, or a joint gave way, and so we don’t lose faith that the next time we bend to sit that chair will hold firm again.  Can you imagine what life would be like if we couldn’t trust these basic tenets?  Frightening.  We’d be second guessing every step we’d want to take or every move we’d want to make and our nerves would be shot.

So,  faith and trust ground me when I feel I’m starting to float away and lose that gravitational pull.  Faith that the people I love know my heart and understand me, and trust that most people in my life really do have the best of intentions and are honest and intrinsically good.  If I didn’t believe this then it would be like living in a vacuum.

Being grounded is not a natural state for an artist, I think.  I’m always on the move, dreaming and scheming and planning and pushing, and this sometimes leads to feeling disappointed and adrift.  Setting up the easel and painting is good way for me to refocus, but it’s ultimately the conviction of my own thoughts that gets me back on track.   Whatever method you use to eliminate distractions it’s still your own head that makes the choice between calm and confusion.   The trick is to be honest with yourself, even if you can’t be with others.  Ask yourself the hard questions and expect hard answers.  It’s the only way to grow.

TracyGreat topic Bonnie, especially because after spending 10 days with you and John I felt just that.  It’s so important to stay grounded and finding ways to do that is the key.  For a free spirited Aquarian that can sometimes be difficult.

What makes me feel most grounded is when I spent time with close friends.  I always leave feeling grounded and centered once again.  Certain people in my life just seem to have a grounding effect on me.  Life can so easily get out of balance with how busy we make our lives, so you have to take time with those who bring you back to your roots.

My kids ground me daily and show me what is most important in life, which is living in the moment and just opening your eyes to what is right in front of you!

When I help someone I also feel a sense of grounding, it makes you realize that the little things in life that you do for others makes your life feel balance just a little bit more.  Meditation is also a great way to get reconnected to the earth.  My favorite form of meditation is running while listening to inspirational music.  After a good long run I feel like my slate has been cleared.

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Would You Carry a Hermes Crocodile Birkin Bag?

Post Insert Jacquie

Jacquie’s Perspective…

Every now and then I like to check out the UK Daily Mail website for a little peek at what the Royals are up to and get an inside look at celebrity ~ Brit-style.   Nobody does gossip like the British.  They love to build up their stars and then tear then down just as quickly.   One lady who just can’t seem to keep herself out of the news is poor Victoria Beckham, aka Posh.  Lately she’s been catching lots of flack over the carrying of several Hermes crocodile skin handbags that I’m sure she’s been given as freebies.  The rest of us would have to twiddle our thumbs 3 years on a wait list and then fork out anywhere from 25 to 100 grand for the opportunity to take one home.  But would you if you could?

The issue some people have a problem with is that real crocodiles are killed to make these bags.  The ‘best’ skins comehermes-himalayan-crocodile-bag from the northern coast of Australia where crocodiles have long been a problem and harvesting is seen as a way to keep the populations down, or so the argument goes.  In truth, eggs are taken from the adult females and hatched on farms specifically set up to raise crocs for Hermes.  Does it really make any difference?

I love animals and would hate to think of any creature suffering in any way, but I’ve read about how the crocodiles are killed and I’m satisfied they do it humanely.  I’m also a carnivore.  I wear leather shoes because they’re more comfortable and last longer than man-made materials.  As far as I’m concerned carrying a crocodile bag is really no different than wearing a leather belt to hold my pants up, except that if I had an extra $50,000 lying around it would be used as a down payment on an investment property and not on a new fashion accessory.

I don’t really care what rich people want to spend their money on.  What really disturbs me is the amount of garbage we shovel into the oceans every day.  THAT’S what’s killing the Earth’s animals!  There’s a garbage dump in the middle of the Pacific as big as Texas and it’s mostly composed of plastics.

If wearing a skin grosses you out then don’t do it.  Just don’t hate me because I think they’re beautiful.

What do you think ladies?

Bonnie’s Two cents~

Bonnie Johnson's PostI don’t have a problem with the animal skin portion of this story.  I also eat animals and wear their hides now and then.  I appreciate the comfort and warmth they provide and I try to choose from responsible humane sources.

The issue I have with the scenario you have described Jacquie is the ridiculous cost for a fashion accessory.  I just don’t live within that life style bracket where carrying a simple hand bag could cost the same as someones full year’s salary.   It’s just so lopsided.  But more ridiculous is how many people (women mostly) get caught up in this frenzy of wanting these items just because of the designer label attached to it, and because of how expensive it it.  As if owning something recognized by the really wealthy will make them a better person.  That is just sad to me.

I buy most of my bags at Winners…on sale…and I choose my fashion mostly for style and comfort.  To me, labels are those annoying scratchy things on my shirt collar that I usually cut off.

Disclaimer:  I own a Dooney & Burke Ostrich skin bag and an authentic Prada bag.  Both were given to me and neither were brand new when I received them.  When I have been out with my Prada bag, no one in my social circle has ever said “Ooooo a real Prada bag!”.  They would never guess it’s grossly over priced authentic judging by the rest of my outfit and I don’t mind at all.  That stuff is just not important to me.

What do you think Tracy?

Tracy’s View~

Tracy

I have to start by saying that Jacquie, Bonnie and I are three completely different personalities with different views which is why we created Tara Cronica and came up with our Sunday Collaborative Post.  We all have different interests which makes this fresh for all of us and hopefully you the reader.  That right there is why I LOVE that there are the three of us persuing this venture together.  When I first read the topic Jacquie picked (we rotate turns) I had a very strong opinion on it, I had to do my research.  I would have never come up with a topic of this sort and you will read why in my view.  so here it is…

I have to start by saying I had to Wikipedia Hermes Crocodile Birkin Bag to find out what it was.  I am NOT a ‘designer style’ girl and I am proud of it.  I have a girlfriend who only buys designer brands and I just don’t get it.  She laughs at me for not knowing the names of all the over priced designer products she buys ‘on sale’ of course.

I remember when Sharon Stone wore a Gap T-shirt to the Oscar’s in 1996 when she was nominated for Casino and was also a presenter.  I loved the statement she made there.  Ellen DeGeneres told her to pick her five favourite things from her closet.  She did also choose a Valentino shirt and a Armani dress worn as a coat.

I think designer products in general are not worth the value of the item.  I have a hard time believing that a hand bag is worth $5,000 or more.  I don’t like to wait in line at a restaurant let alone put my name on a waiting list for a purse.  What if by the time yours was ready it was totally out of style?  Not that I would notice.  Then what?

I also wear leather so I can’t complain about a crocodile farm for this purpose, what bothers me is that when you start to ask an exorbitant price for such items ‘other’ take it into their hands to hunt these animals which is no longer controlled it’s poaching!

So to answer your question Jacquie would I carry a Herman Alligator Burken Stock Bag, ahhh no it’s just not me. (insert giggle here)  Thanks for making me aware Jake and filling in the facts so my strong opinion softened a little.  🙂

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Here’s One Thing You Probably Don’t Know About Me

Bonnie Johnson's Post

Bonnie’s Take~

Apparently my partners are struggling to come up with something to write for this post.  I, on the other hand, have a number of options to go with.  Hmmm.  I wonder what that says about me.

I’ve decided to share my fire walking experience.  Yes, that’s right, I am one of those freaks who willingly walked on white hot coals for about 20 feet.  Why would anyone even want to do that you ask?  It began for me when I decided to enter a martial arts contest and I really wanted to win.  I was training with a variety of people for this particular bout.  One of the guys I trained with told me that if I went to the “fire walking” course and successfully walked on the hot coals I would be guaranteed to win my bout.  He said that once you have accomplished that feat there is nothing you feel you cannot do.  It’s a huge boost to your confidence.

I was just fascinated by the thought of learning to control my mind to the point that I could actually be able to have my physical body perform this amazing act.  I signed up for the full day course.  It was many years ago now but I remember that I enjoyed the experience immensely.  Looking back on my notes I wrote 3 things that I hoped to accomplish that day:   1.  Build confidence   2.  Overcome Fears   3.  Become the Best I Can Be In Any Endeavor.   I also see in my notes that it was important to me to prove to my young son that anyone can accomplish whatever they put their mind to.

I remember the main focus of the day was to obtain a peak state of energy.  I did, and at the end of the course the coals were white hot and waiting for us to prove we could “walk the walk”.  When it was my turn to step on to the coals I hesitated with doubt for a moment.  My mind was screaming “are you crazy!?”  So I jumped off.  Disappointed that I had failed I suddenly thought “NO! You can do this!”  I stepped back on with determination like I’d never known before and slowly walked the entire 20 feet.  When it was over I put my socks and shoes back on without looking at the soles of my feet.  I drove the 2 hour long drive home wondering if I had actually really done this crazy act.  Were my soles burnt and blistered?  When I got home I gingerly took off my shoes and socks and examined my feet.  Not a blister, not a mark.  I had done it!  I felt like I was invincible.  A few days later I had my martial arts contest and won my division.  The power of the mind is an amazing thing.

TracyTracy’s Two Cents~

I have to admit this topic was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  Although I am a very private person when it comes to how I spend my time, I think I am also a very open person when it comes to sharing my life through thought and opinion especially now with Tara Cronica.

The one subject that I have yet to address is my religious beliefs.  I think this is one of the very few things people don’t know about me.  I would describe myself as a very Spiritual person.  I find interesting aspects of many different religions such as Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, African Traditional Religion, Wiccan Beliefs to name a few.  I believe in life after death, reincarnation.  I believe in Karma.  I believe we all come from an energy source.  We all have a destiny or life path that we follow to learn the lessons that we as individual souls need to learn in our time here on earth.  I believe we meet for a reason.

Religion is such a wide topic to cover which is why I have yet to explore it here on Tara Cronica.  I try to live by ‘The Golden Rule’  “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them  Do Unto You”.  But I am far from perfect.  It’s pretty basic really.  I believe it doesn’t matter what religion you follow, whether it be one or many, but that you are living your life authentically being aware of others and being true to self.  I look forward to writing a more in depth post of what I specifically like about different religions or religious beliefs that I personally find interesting.   Great topic Bonnie it really got my mind thinking.  How about you Jake?

post-pic-4-11Jacquie’s response~

In 1981 I auditioned for my first ever film role and landed it after about 5 call backs.   I eventually turned the part down because it called for a little bit of nudity and at 16 I was slightly uncomfortable with that.  The movie starred Diane Lane and the Sex Pistols as well as a very young Laura Dern.  It was released on the indie and festival circuit as Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains and has enjoyed a cult following ever since, I’ve been told.  Could’ve been my big break.  Apparently Daryl Hannah was originally offered my role but she turned it down as well, so I’m in good company.

I watched it for the first time last night on some cable channel and I also TiVoed it in case one of my kids is interested to see what their mom might have been if she’d had the guts to pursue her dreams instead of worrying what the rest of the world would think.   I have to laugh it’s so bad!  Courtney Love bad!  Train wreck bad.  So bad it’s good… in an ‘I’m-having-a-mid-life-crisis-why-can’t-I-turn-back-the-hands-of-time’ kinda way.   If I had a do-over I’d take it.  And now you know…

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That’s the Story of my Life

jacquie janzen yee

If you were to write a screenplay of your life, what movie genre would it fall into… and who would you want to play you and why!

Jacquie’s Take~

I thought about this idea as I was looking through a stack of unedited, unsorted photographs a few days ago.  When we put together a scrapbook or photo album, what we’re doing, in a way, is creating our own version of a still-life mini-series depending on what we choose to add or leave off the pages.  Even as I write this I’m creating a mood that could be interpreted by someone else and is entirely dependent on the words I choose to use.

So what would my life story look like up to this point?  In all honesty I would have to say a teen romp or an English farce.  I’m constantly expecting the Maturity Police to pull up outside my house and haul me away.    Sometimes I make drama happen when none is necessary.  In all good ‘coming of age’ films the lead characters learn important life lessons and are enriched by the experiences they face.  I’m always finding out new things about myself and trying to get a handle on the world so I think the genre fits (a little too snugly, actually)

Who would I like to play me?  Nicole Kidman, but if she were busy I’d settle for Sarah Michelle Gellar,  you know, the vampire slayer.  She’d have to get some highlights put in but she’s gives great tongue in cheek.  Anyone who can pull off a role like Buffy and really sell it must be talented.  And we have the same ski jump nose.

Bonnie Johnson's PostBonnie’s Two Cents~

I’m going to start with who I would choose to play me.  When I pondered this question one name popped into my head right away.  I don’t know why exactly except that perhaps it’s because I think she is a great actress and she is multi-faceted enough to be able to capture my many personalities (I am a Gemini after all).  Plus she is close to my own age and plus I just admire her.  Mary Louise Parker.

As for which genre my screen play would fit into, well that’s a tough one.  You see my life so far has not been one big drama or one big romance or one big comedy or one big tragedy, although it has had many scenes of all of those in it.  I would hate to have Woody Allen want to do the play or movie of my life because to me that would signal “not much going on” in this production.  (Sorry Woody, just my personal opinion)  By the way, who calls their kid Woody?  Mr. and Mrs. Allen and Mr. and Mrs. Harrelson I guess! Weird choice for a baby boy’s name  in my opinion.

I’d like to see the story of  “Me” be a great mix of all those genre’s and when the production is over I’d want the audience to all smile deeply and leave the theater with a warm fuzzy feeling.  I’d like the story of  “Me” to linger in their thoughts and to revisit them often when something in their own life reminds them of my story.  I’d like there to be lots of life lessons that they either learn by in this production or at least relate to.  I’d like to have the audience laugh out loud often, wipe away some tears occasionally and nod knowingly all the way through.

TracyTracy’s thoughts~

Great topic Jake!  It really made me think about my life and the tone of it so far.  Without a doubt I knew immediately my movie genre would be a Passionate Love Story with heart wrenching scenes about love and soul searching.  It would have more than one story line playing out the search of love, passion and lust.

As you walk out of the theater you have renewed hope that there is true love out there.  And the ending …well Bonnie just knows me so well so I am going to go with what she said in yesterdays post ‘Princess Reality‘.A handsome prince will ride his stallion into her life, swoop her up into the saddle with him and while she clings to his strong chest they gallop into the sunset to live happily ever after”…sigh ?… or as reality would have it… she lives her life in the moment embracing each and every souls energy that she meets along her path to her destiny, all while having a passionate happy ending.  Yes I said ‘happy ending’  (insert giggle here) which is left open for interpretation…  I personally hate movies that leave anything to interpret in the end, I like to SEE that it ended happily.   Anyone know a good psychic?

Who will I have play me?  I am going to have to say Diane Lane.  I have loved how vulnerable she is when she plays women in love.  Diane draws me right in each time, she is so authentic.  She is around my age give or take a few years and I think she is an incredible actress.  I especially loved her in ‘Unfaithful’, ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ and ‘Nights in Rodanthe’.Happily Ever After

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What’s your favorite memory of a Grandparent?

Happy Father’s Day to all the Wonderful Father’s and Grandfather’s out there!  Enjoy your day!

Tracy’s Take~

Tracy's Grad with NanaWhat’s your favorite memory of a Grandparent or Grandparent figure in your life Ladies?

My favorite memory of my Nana who is my Dad’s Mom was going to her house on New Years Day.   Nana and Jean, her companion would host New Years Day dinner and the entire Westerholm family would attend.

Nana had stockings hung from her fireplace for everyone overflowing with fun gadgets we all loved to play with.  She always found really unique things you didn’t find in the regular stores like 2 inch x 2 inch cameras or boxes that were puzzles.  My stocking always had a new Barbie bursting out of the top!

Within minutes of being there one of us would distract Nana while the other went straight to the heat thermostat to knock it back from 140 degree’s to a mild 85.  She would figure it out soon enough and we would be right back into the Arizona desert within the hour but it was a fun challenge.  Next stop the fudge dish, Jean made fudge to die for, no one else has EVER even come close. There was the smell of Jean’s turkey in the oven with mash potatoes and gravy.  If Jean hadn’t been there we’d all be eating P B & J sandwiches, Nana’s specialty and favorite.  It was what family was to me being there with my Aunt and Uncle and Cousins.  I loved the Chaos of everyone talking and having fun.  It was never boring.  I miss those times and love the memories!

Jacquie’s 2 cents~

jacquieI only really knew one of my four grandparents, my dad’s mother, Agnes Janzen.   Her husband, my grandfather John, died when my dad was a pre-teen.  My mom’s dad lived in Australia and her mother made England her home so there wasn’t much bonding that went on there.

Gramma Janzen was a gem, though, and was the quintessentially perfect grandmother.  She always had fresh baking on hand, was always up for a game of scrabble ( though she sometimes bent the rules. Very competitive lady) and she was a wonderful listener.  She was already quite elderly when I came from Australia so I only knew her as a smiling, white-haired cuddly, slow-moving old person who seemed to really like having us around for visits.

My most profound memory is of a short conversation I had with her when I was 18.  I was venting about the fact that some of my old high school friends had made disparaging comments about my having an Asian boyfriend (now my husband of 24 years ).  She said that in a couple of centuries all races will be mixed and that will no longer be an issue and the world will be a better place for everyone.  I was stunned to hear such a thoroughly modern ideal come from such a conservative, old-fashioned looking woman.  It really made me realize how little I knew about her.

She was all about love and family and good meals.  She passed away three years later, the same night my dad told her I had just become engaged.  I was living in Toronto at the time and so I didn’t see her at the end but I was told she was very happy for me ~ and I truly believe she was.    Here’s to you, Gramma!

Bonnie’s 2 cent’s~

Bonnie's PostI have so many wonderful memories of my grandparents on my mothers side that I don’t know where to begin.  We were always very close which I believe stemmed from the fact that I lived with them when I was a baby.  Strong bonds were formed early and remained always.  The relationship I had with my grandfather and the influence he had on my life was very special to me.  I’ve just shared some of those stories in my last post, so today I am going to share some memories of my grandmother.

Bonnie's Grandma

My grandmother with me and my cousin on her lap

One of the first things that comes to my mind when I think about my grandmother is her laugh.  She had a really great giggle and she found  humour in so many things.  I can still hear her laughing out loud and slapping her thigh.  That memory in itself will always make me smile.

My grandma was one of those people who understood the joy of play and would get right down at my level to join me in all kinds of different play.  She found the fun in these simple things.  One of her greatest gifts to me was to help me learn to read at only 5 years old.  It really gave me a boost when I started school.  She bought me a subscription to receive a new Dr.Seuss book every month.  I’m still a HUGE Dr.Seuss fan by the way.

One year I went to spend the summer with them and she had all kinds of adventures planned for us.  When we found old cow skulls on their property she encouraged me to pretend we were archaeologists  finding dinosaur bones.  She demonstrated the danger of cactus by blowing up a plastic bag and popping it on the sharp needles.  She “helped” me build a tree fort which remained dangerously intact for many years.  If I so much as licked the spoon after she made cookies she would tell everyone that I helped her make them and would brag about what a great help I was.  During my summer stay each night she and I would sit together and she would ask me to describe my day to her and then she would write down in my own words everything I said.  It was my first journal and I cherish it to this day.

Grandma and Bonnie

My favourite picture of us together

I miss her so much but I’m forever grateful for having had her in my life while I did.

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