Story Time.

The One About Monkeys In Peru…

I have recently
I have changed my mind a lot lately… I generally have a hard time following a thought all the way
Whatever… I’m starting a new category on this blog thing… it will be called “Story Time.”  I have so many stories, from so many journies, and I am terrible at sitting down and writing things out in a journal, then rewriting parts of the journal to create a decent story or blog, adding photos and captions so that friends, family, really anyone who is interested, can easily view my trip…
Instead, I think of a great story to tell, or blog to post, or video to make about something, and I begin to tell the story, get super sidetracked (and tell several other stories that I actually didn’t intend on telling) and never end up completing a thought.
One might relate it to a toddler trying to explain their exciting day, or a dog who loses sight of the task at hand due to their distracting tail, wagging in their peripherals. It simply must be chased…

where was I?


So…what I have decided is that I will tell random parts of random stories in no particular order… People close to me will know where the stories came from, and if you feel like you’re part of a story feel free to reach out as I have no intention of calling anyone out if they don’t wish to be!

[One day I will try to link the stories together.]

Let’s start with a random memory I had while staring into a field behind my house this morning… for no reason other than I wanted to hang out and stare into a field.

Scene: Deep Into An Amazon Rainforest In Peru

…. I sat on the dock with some new friends enjoying the perfect April weather and the incredible views.

Everyone ensured me that it was a safe place should I need to talk to anyone about absolutely anything at all. Being too proud to talk about anything that I actually went to the retreat for, I used my time to ask one new friend if he had ever witnessed a monkey visiting the retreat…
Let’s recap… Nothing about the anxiety and depressive states I had been overcoming or the (what feels like) panic attacks I’ve been silently fighting off alone. Certainly, I did not bring up the fact that I had attempted to come to the exact place that we were currently sitting in…right then…only 8 months prior, but had to fly home due to the sudden passing of my 33-year-old sister… Nope! Instead, I asked if he had ever seen a monkey during his time in the Amazon jungle (of course he had) but it wasn’t until much later that I realized how effectively he had actually answered that question, and the questions I had following it.

Looking out at this view…
…you should see it at night, just a clear blanket of stars with sounds of nature coming from every direction.
[Sidenote: I do apologize to everyone for the lack of photos I take on my trips. I enjoy living in the moment and I will leave the professionals to do the work when it comes to taking hundreds of photos.]

Anyways, I basically hung out by the water the entire time I was at the retreat. I could barely peel myself away from the dock for the other activities that this mini paradise had to offer.
At this particular time, most of the others had retreated to their own spaces leaving me and one other member to hang out on the dock. Now, as some may already know (for no known reason) I am extremely awkward, super uncomfortable with one on one silence or forced small talk, as well as talking about myself in general for that matter. So, as I vividly remember the conversation went something like this:

Me: Sooo many noises, eh? That one sounds like a monkey. Is it a monkey? Have you ever seen a monkey while you’ve been here? At the retreat, I mean not just in the jungle in general. Any monkeys?
[Sidenote: They were mostly birds]

Friend: Occasionally if you’re really still you can see them but always remember for every one monkey you see, many more can see you. They’re hard to spot because they want to be. They no longer trust humans because of the hunters and they have had to adapt and learn to not be seen.

Me: NO! People hunt monkeys!? *weird sad face my toddler nephew makes*

Friend: People have to feed their family. Cows are sacred in many places yet you might find it acceptable to kill and eat them where you’re from.
[Sidenote: It is always painstakingly obvious that I am Canadian.]

Me: I think I want to be a vegetarian. I actually can’t imagine having to kill any animals at all.
[Sidenote: I am not a vegetarian but one day I might be]

Friend: Here that would mean that you can imagine your family starving, and possibly not surviving.

Me: *unappealing, jaw-dropped, mouth open face that my toddler nephew has perfected* I’ve never really looked at it that way…

Friend: You’ve never had to. 

At the time I thought “this guy hates me and my ignorant North American views” but now I see that (though maybe that was also the case, kidding, kidding…) he was teaching me something much more.

The moral?!
Whatever you want it to be! Your mind has already created what you take from a story before you even finish reading it. Sometimes it’s a lesson and sometimes it’s just a story. Your views and opinions are yours alone and they are built off of every single thing you’ve witnessed in this life. As time goes on, or you open up, you allow room for change and growth.

What this taught me though, is that life truly is about making decisions that matter to you and those you choose to care for. I mean, the list could be incredibly short because you only love yourself (that’s great, self-love is flippin’ important!) or massively long because you have so many feelings for everything and everyone (also, so damn great) that choice is yours alone.

Just because you don’t agree with something does not make it wrong. Learn and teach and learn some more.

So often on my travels to many different parts of the World, I have “accidentally” learned so many lessons similar to this from unexpected teachers. Teachers who most often aren’t classified as a “teacher” at all. Most are simply incredible people with incredibly different beliefs.
You can find whatever negative information your subconscious mind is looking for if you stay in a close-minded state and the same is true when searching for positivity.

Try to choose the latter and see where it takes you.

“Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”
– William Shakespeare

Easiest Natural Cleaner…Ever.

What you need: 

-Reusable spray bottle*
-Equal parts:    Water & White vinegar (Preferably distilled)
-5-10 drops dōTERRA** Lemon Oil  (Depending on the size of spray bottle)

1. Mix the ingredients in your reusable bottle.
*[I use aluminum or glass because it lasts longer and recycles easier. Plastic is not always best for citrus oils as the acidity can strip away the inside layer of the bottle.]

2. Shake and spray then wipe away

Why this recipe?
I have little ones and pets running around the house all day every day. Sometimes the little one gets a hold of the spray bottle when I am cleaning up, nobody is perfect and kids are really fast. I need to make sure that if the toddler I don’t know let’s say he decides to spray the pets and all of his toys in record speed… I want to know exactly what was in my cleaner and I need to know that it is always safe!
I am sure most of you agree that although vinegar is an incredibly powerful natural cleaner (if you didn’t know that, surprise! It’s more effective than most and more natural than all chemical cleaners you can buy) it doesn’t have the greatest smell – add a little lemon essential oil to give your cleaners a powerful punch and great smell. I just love the smell of citrus! Sometimes I will change it up and add grapefruit or lime but I always throw lemon in there for its natural, powerful yet non-toxic cleaning abilities.

Can I change it? Of Course! Always ensure you are reading labels and checking ingredients. Many essential oils have different cleaning purposes, I encourage you to look into all the different types and their purposes. Be careful as it’s often easy for companies to work around the legalities that require listing everything.
I will leave it up to everyone who reads this to play around with the recipe and let everyone in the comments know how it turned out!

** I use dōTERRA specifically because I know and trust this company especially because of their 3rd party testing and transparency.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or you’re interested in your own wholesale membership!**

Listen Up.

Listen up

A common misconception is that people who choose to hold space and guide others always know the right thing to say or the right thing to do, or in my personal case that I can meditate my feelings away…
No! I am still a human being.
Meditation builds the foundation and locks the vault. It helps me stay open no matter what is going on around me and it helps me help those around me by remaining unbias. Not always in my own head though…
We all have flaws.
Yesterday I had to check myself before I literally wrecked myself and today I can look back and see that it was a strength, not a weakness.

Sometimes when people reach out -especially friends and family- I feel like I know exactly what to say to them to make them wake the hell up and realize it’s going to be okay, and so I don’t say anything…
I often remind myself they aren’t looking for an answer and most times -in my experience- saying nothing at all helps them come to the conclusion that they needed to hear from their own mind.

Some of the many things we really need to stop saying to people who might be reaching out:

“Believe me, I know.”
“I totally get it.”
“You know what’s even worse!?”
“I know how you feel.”

I am guilty of all of these and I constantly remind myself that the automatic responses that come out of my mouth need to be governed a little more.

“Believe me, I know” …Believe me, no one will ever “know” what you are feeling and what you are going through. Not your closest friend, not your siblings, not even your “literal creators” which in most cases was a “Mother and Father” but don’t forget that doesn’t pertain to everyone.

“I totally get it” …No, I certainly don’t totally get it, no one ever will. Perhaps when you’re speaking of a math problem or a riddle then you can claim to “totally get it.” You might understand part of “it” but saying “I totally get it” in response to something that is going on with someone else is absolutely ludicrous. Unless I have somehow broken into your brain and subconscious mind and I have experienced every single thing that you have been through since your brain began to develop and how you specifically have dealt with it I will never totally get it.

“You know what’s even worse?!” – That. That statement -in my opinion- is “even worse” than any response you can say to someone especially if they valued you enough to share what they are going through. This one I have worked on over and over and I am still working on it. It is hard for me to take certain problems seriously sometimes. Sometimes I want to grab people by the shoulders and shake them until they wake up and realize “It ain’t so bad” but I can not possibly know that, ever. I can not possibly know your personal barriers or what they mean to you. I don’t know what you are dealing with our what you have already overcome and for anyone who I have done this to, I sincerely apologize.

“I know how you feel” – I can only speak for myself and I can only feel for myself and you will NEVER know what that is like no matter how hard you try. Equally, I will never know how you feel…ever. I would love to listen and try to relate as much as I can if you desire my personal opinion, noting that my personal opinion has been influenced by incredible people, books, music, places and things from all over the world…but that is all I can give.

If you want to help what can you do? Listen; actively listen to what is being said by the person who decided to share. You have no idea what someone might be going through.

If you need help there is always someone and maybe that someone is you with a pen in your hand, writing out everything you feel – and if you feel like there is no one then remember this post that you somehow ended up getting through and know that no matter who I am to you or who you are to me I am always here -until I’m not-

Nothing is permanent. Do what you can and then strive to do better. We are never finished learning. 

create your path, meditate on your thoughts, appreciate what you have; naturally.


Getting over it: Balance.

I am trying to get over my fear of promoting my intention for a business plan online. Clearly, I have begun; if you’re reading this it is because I have decided to put it on the website that I purchased, with the business name that I purchased. Commitment! Scary.

My internal dialog has been going crazy for the past few years (yes years) as to whether sharing stories, lessons, knowledge, gifts or whatever you want to call it/them online is helpful or pretentious…especially since some of how this has all come to be (or is coming to be) is also about how much being online has destroyed some of us…myself included in some ways.
Is that hypocritical or not?!
Sharing on a platform that you think is directly adding to the stress that you’re trying to take away at this time or with this lifestyle…vicious thought cycle… anyways; I have come to a point where I am ready to share with anyone who is ready to listen.

What I have learned is it is all about BALANCE. There is a time for everything. There are so many different stories, quotes, metaphors, etc. about the importance of balance so I never feel like it is important to write about but clearly, some of us still aren’t getting it so let’s talk about balance. Kind-of.

Only my close friends and I know of my strange… let’s say addiction to what I like to call “secret social experiments.” Disclaimer: I do not ever impede on people’s privacy and I would never. It’s more of just a matter of having little internal assumptions of what people will choose and why, or asking a certain question to see the direction someone takes the answer to.
Okay, It’s actually pretty messed up when I write it out and I promise it’s not always happening but here is what part of my social experiment has come to realize these past few years.

People LOVE talking about themselves.
It’s certainly not the case with everyone and you should never assume that it is; you’ll know very well if someone is not interested in communicating and should always respect that.
That being said it’s a good thing! Talking about the subject you know the best is the absolute easiest way to be comfortable. Why is that subject yourself? Because there is nothing you know better than yourself, and no one knows you better than yourself so really there’s nothing you can share (unless you’re a liar, which is a whole other article) that will make people feel the need to jump in or interrupt and tell you that you’re lying or that you regurgitated a fact wrong. (Mind you many people still will and I encourage you to try not to take offense to it and just be open to listening instead of adding to potential tension. If you like arguing then that’s your choice too! Just be as open to listening as you are to speaking.)
Be sure to balance talking with listening.
It works well if you ever have an awkward pause in a conversation and don’t feel like talking. Simply ask the person about what they like or if they’ve been a certain place, it’s more personal and interesting than talking about the weather, latest political news, or what happened on that show last night.
In most cases I have come to realize that no one actually cares what is going on with many of the everyday issues they see on television or news articles because there is simply nothing we can do about them at that precise second other than memorize the information and spew it out to someone else whenever you can’t think of something to say. Is it going to rain? Pack an umbrella, not a social vent that people might not necessarily be open to the second that they meet you. This is a small example obviously but those are the things that often create a negative vibe and remind us of how much is going on in the world; none of which we need to be thinking when we’re just trying to live for the day or strike a conversation with a stranger!
Why not be happy when we have the chance to be? Speak about what we love or who we love or what will make us happy.
This is what helps us positively make it through each day.

I got off topic, but I think I balanced it with a lesson of some sort…somewhere in there. Something tells me that’s enough for today.

Speak & Listen; Balance.

Thought of the day; If something doesn’t feel right maybe it isn’t. Maybe it can be tweaked instead of thrown away completely.
Change your outlook and reassess.

The Citrus Cocoon: What’s In a name?

“The Citrus Cocoon”  What’s In a name?

Why “The Citrus Cocoon”? Let’s start there…
I will skip the part where I have already over-thought every direction in which this post could go and I have decided I will do what I do best which is accidentally share too much information and lose my point of the whole entry.
I will try to stay on focus but the glory of being part of this environment that we’re attempting to create is that you don’t have to stay focused.
There will be a time for that.
If it isn’t right now that’s just fine.

The citrus part is pretty literal. I am obsessed with the benefits of citrus and it helps that we’re based out of a small town by the name of Orangeville appropriately named after the founder Orange Lawrence. Maybe one day I will dive deeper into that but I don’t want to bore you on our first impression.
A favourite quote around here has always been “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over it became a butterfly” and what I see it as is a reminder that often times when it seems like something is ending it’s simply the beginning of something else. Sometimes it can be an incredible, positive and happy outcome type thing and sometimes a sad, nerve-wracking or scary thing. The way one person perceives something is not always the way that everyone will and that is simply fine, actually, it’s preferable.
How boring of a world would we live in if we all saw everything the exact same way?
You might still be confused if you’ve been following at all and on the inside some of you are wanting to scream at me “Wait, butterflies don’t even come from a cocoon, everyone knows that a butterfly caterpillar forms a chrysalis and it is, in fact, the lesser popular and often feared “moth” caterpillar that forms the cocoon.”
Correct; but get rid of that attitude. It won’t serve you here.
Also, I definitely didn’t know that and I am still learning more and more every single day. The reason I chose cocoon over chrysalis is that so many people often choose butterflies over moths not knowing the beauty and importance of each specific creature. I urge you to look up the “Madagascar sunset moth.”

Back on track…no amount of time or research can really prove whether the caterpillars know what is happening during these processes. Maybe they are ready for it and maybe they have no idea what is happening to them but either way; change is happening. Change that is necessary in order for them to complete their life cycle! I am sure we all know what would happen if we chose to disrupt that cocoon or chrysalis to try and help the caterpillar. It’s best to leave them alone, untouched and beautiful. Let me repeat -change, and giving that change the time it needs- is vital for their life cycle…

The Citrus Cocoon is about diving into the unknown, the inside of your head. It is about taking the time to literally just hang out with your thoughts and observations. It is certainly not a place to show off or let your ego take control. Take everything you know, stir it up real nice and then metaphorically dump it out. Leave it at the door, it’s not going to go anywhere and on your way out you’ll have more power and the ability to choose which parts you want to pick back up and carry with you.

Welcome to The Citrus Cocoon