Creating my happy life on the other side of fear.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Become comfortable with being uncomfortable

I'm currently sitting on the train from Amsterdam to Paris, typing this post on my small laptop, feeling insanely worldly. While I've been travelling back and forth between Canada and Germany for the last 15 years, I'm far from a seasoned traveler. On the contrary, all the unknowns you can't control (train schedules, lost luggage, delays due to traffic/repairs/who-knows-what) always freak me out on the day before I go somewhere new. Is everybody like that? I suspect so, except maybe for travel pros who do it all the time. 

Yesterday I was a wreck, teary and emotional, not wanting to leave Rich and the dogs behind. 
But since this happens every time before going on a trip, I had to accept this annoying habit as part of my travel ritual. I seem to have to go through a brief period of freak-outs and grief, and once I'm on the road, I'm fine. I'm now in the 20th hour of my long travel day, and there is only one leg of the journey left: Taking the metro to our AirB'nB, where I will meet our butler Aurélien who is giving me the keys to our apartment, and waiting for my sister. 

During the flight, I reflected on yesterday (my yesterday, it's really 2 days ago - travel is weird), and my reluctance to leave. 
The reason for it is simple: I don't want to leave my comfort zone. Despite knowing that I have never regretted stepping out of it, it's a battle every fricking time.  

In my ongoing effort to overcome my fear of the unknown, I have a mantra that Jillian Michaels (yup, the tough-talking trainer from 'The Biggest Loser') always used to say: 

"Become comfortable with being uncomfortable."

That's just it, isn't it? If we choose comfort every time, we will never get anywhere. 
If we let fear win, we will never experience the thrill of catching a connecting train at the last second, because the original one isn't running that day, and other trains have taken over the route (this happened to me a few hours ago). 

In our normal lives, weeks or months can go by where nothing uncomfortable happens. We go the same way to work every day, doing jobs we have gotten used to with people we know. We eat the same foods, watch the same TV shows, and go about our normal routines. I do it myself, because, well - it's comfortable. It feels safe and nice. 

However, when it comes down to it, do I want to be a woman who always plays it safe?
Or do I want to find out what happens when I do the scary and uncomfortable thing? 
Judging by my personal history, the very best things in my life have always happened outside my comfort zone. 

I guess all we can do is keep reminding ourselves what we want out of life, and then force ourselves to do it
It will probably be uncomfortable - but it will also probably be worth it. 

Here's to becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable!

xoxo Miriam


Friday, 23 June 2017

Making memories

Guys, I have so much to tell you. However, I'm short on time, so this may or may not be in point form. 
The problem with blogging only about once a week (which I honestly hate, I want to blog moooore) is that, when you finally sit down to do it, you don't know how to make sense of the mess in your head. In lieu of doing anything complicated, I'll just share what's been going on the last few days, okay?

If you've read my last post (or my newsletter), you know that my mother-in-law is in town. Every visit has its ups and downs, but we always manage to have some genuinely fun times together. A few days ago, we went for a quad ride into the high country, and she loved it! So did I, as did Tom Snow, who jumped over the gate and followed us:

We're still busy around the ranch with getting barns and animal shelters built. The sheep's new house already has a name: Sheepy Hollow 😄
I'll share photos when it's done!

We've also been planting a crazy amount of trees and shrubs. Despite the dry climate, there are lots of plants that thrive here, and we're excited to transform this place into a green oasis! 

We've planted Saskatoon Berry shrubs all along the driveway, to create a nice, welcoming entrance

Over the last 3 days we picked up 750 bales of hay from the field; 700 for us, and 50 for a friend. Luckily, we didn't have to do it alone, but had the help of new friends: 4 awesome guys whom we've grown very fond of. They are always in a good mood, with plenty of jokes flying around, and they managed to make a pretty awful task really fun!

Once the hay was in, we threw a spontaneous party with pizza, guitar-music and a late-night fire - it was so Canadian, it almost hurt. Just look at all the plaid going on!

We also had a few of the girls here for a visit, which partly explains my more pronounced absence from online life. Real life has taken over, and I'm not mad about it - I'm making memories like crazy these days.

And now I'm off to bed, because tomorrow morning I'm off to another adventure: Meeting my little sis in Paris. I have the distinct feeling that my brief Instagram hiatus is about to be over ...

What are you up to these days?

xoxo Miriam


Sunday, 18 June 2017

The cure for everything

What do you do when your MIL tells you, in quick succession, that 
a) your corgi is too fat, and that "she won't get old when you keep feeding her like that", and
b) your hips got bigger (said to Rich, not me: "Did she gain weight? Her hips look bigger.", which, in her dialect, is phrased as "Did it gain weight? The hips look bigger.").

The old me would have been deeply offended and agonized about her comments for weeks.
The new me, fortunately, has found a much better way of dealing with it: Shrug it off. 
In a life that feels so good and is so fulfilling, her words are nothing but a little blip. Thoughtless and slightly insulting, but nothing to get worked up about. 
Whenever it gets too MIL-ly in the house, I take the dogs and go for a walk. Nature's beauty is so soothing, it cures everything!

Even fat-shaming my girl and my nice, womanly hips.  

Have a wonderful Sunday! Don't let anybody dull your sparkle. 
We are fabulous!

xoxo Miriam


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Evenings in Cowboy-land

I come home from work just before 4:00pm.
Pulling in, I see 4 guys perched on their tailgates, cold cans of beer in their hands, country music playing.
"Miriam! You're home! Do you want one?" They call, beckoning me over. I accept it gratefully.
They've been working on our fences all day, starting at 7am. They work hard, but they also know how to enjoy themselves. All their lunch boxes contain a few cans of beer, and their supply of jokes is just as well stocked.

"Did you know that Willie Nelson died?"
We're shocked. "What? Really??"
"Yes, he was playing on the road again."

Yes, I fell for it. (In my defence, so did Rich. Willie is getting up there!)
The good news is: Willie is still alive and well, and coming to our town this summer!

We sit on the tailgates, sipping beer, listening to music, and being entertained by our resident comedian. He does a killer Sean Connery!
I love these guys.

Later, I go over to our neighbour's place, to look after their animals. They're away working, and I'm in charge of their cats and temporary dog Rudi. You know that I have no special feelings towards cats, but Rudi is sweet!
Here he is:

He gets along well with the corgi, which is fortunate, because if he wouldn't, we would have a serious problem. But then again, who doesn't get along with the corgi? She has that special gift of being liked by all. 

Another night, we go for a little stroll on the ranch with mother-in-law, who is currently visiting us.

Our destination? The goat pen!
Keeping a safe distance

The goats are the funniest little creatures you can imagine, I love them! I'm teaching them to do yoga with me, one bribe at a time. The most promising one is Adele:
She's the brown one on the left: One more hop, and she'll be up there. 

Evenings are magical at this time of year. 

xoxo Miriam


Monday, 5 June 2017

The reason why

There are the rare moments when everything is easy and crystal clear. 
You are in love, and it was so difficult and controversial in the beginning, that you wanted to write it all down. Not only to preserve the memory for yourself, but also to encourage others who are facing tough decisions, disapproval, and doubt. Oh god, the doubt. I could write an entire book just on that. 

You want to show them that, even though it's so fucking hard at times, it's worth it a million times over. The hardship you face right now, and that may seem insurmountable, will be nothing but a teeny, tiny speck on the vast windshield of your life. It will be nothing but a blip. An amusing anecdote to laugh about later over shared glasses of wine. 

But so many of us never make it past the initial hurdles. 
There is so much uncertainty. 
So many reasons not to go for it.
There is social pressure. 
Family obligations. 
Parental expectation. 
Moral burdens, no matter whether you are religious or not - you will be hit with them (by people just as non-religious as you are), and it will affect you, despite your best efforts. 
Because we grew up with these rules, these expectations to not be like one of them - the outsiders, rebels, the people with scandals that are being talked about by people who play by the rules. 
And honestly, after you've passed the brief, yet intense phase of being a rebellious teenager (and you were only rebellious because, despite your best efforts, you never managed to fit in), all you ever wanted was a good, quiet life. A life of peace, no confrontations, happiness, and universal approval. 
Yet, despite your best efforts, you are still that awkward teenager who simply can't fit in. 
How annoying is that?!?

There is your desire for approval by your peers. By society, parents, church, the whole universe. 

But there is also your heart. And your soul. And they are telling you something with such startling clarity, that you can't ignore it. 
They're telling you that you have an enormous, once-in-a-lifetime chance of happiness
You have the chance of a love beyond your wildest dreams. It's too new, too fragile, too unknown to be understood by your much slower mind. But your heart and soul already know: This.Is.It. 

If you have never been sure about anything,  but you are sure about that? 
If, despite the doubts, and all the well-meaning, rational, smart advice people are giving you - you know that, if you don't do this, you will regret it for the rest of your life - how would you decide?
Head over heart?
Heart over head?

I made my decision. 
We both did. 

It wasn't much liked in the beginning. Most people thought we lost our minds. We were judged and pronounced guilty. 
And we struggled with that. 

But still, a force stronger than all the outside forces pulled us towards each other: Love

The power of love is greater than anything else. 
We couldn't help but comply to it, and we are so grateful for it every single day. 

That's why I wrote down our story. 
Because it's the best thing that ever happened to us. 

And I don't want you to miss out on a love like that, just because it doesn't fit society's expectations. 
Or your parent's plans for you. 
Or the ancient rules written by a church you may not even believe in. 

It may be the bravest thing I ever did - and I wanted to document that. 

With my upcoming book, I have done just that. 

Now, it's your turn. Stop listening to your critics, and start listening to your heart. 

It won't lead you astray. 

xoxo Miriam

P.S. To read the first chapter of my book, you can sign up here.  

P.P.S. I will keep you posted about more details about the book! Obviously. I mean, without you? I would have never written it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

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