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The funny thing is, the day before we came home from our holiday, I’d happened on this poster. It was posted on Facebook by Dr. Wayne Dyer (who’s work I’ve never been into), and shared by someone I follow. I thought it was cool but disregarded it and moved on. And it just stuck with me.

So, that night, I searched for it again for an embarrassingly long time while the Monkey and I were watching a movie; I wanted to save it on my iPhone so both of us could remember it in moments of anxiety or fear, which we’re both prone to. I finally found it, saved it and went to sleep.

It was our last night of normalcy! When we returned home the next day, we opened our front door to loud beeping and (since I was reading a book that takes place in the Amazon)… to the Amazon river: hot, humid and pouring rain. I guess, since the house was crying, the only thing I could do was cry. But, I was mostly in shock. We’d been away for eight days. I was ready to come home! But we had no home.

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Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.

Eventually, we got ourselves a hotel that allowed pets. And we stayed in the small hotel room for two weeks (and over New Year’s), until we could secure ourselves a rented house, and that’s where we’re living now — probably for the next 10-12 months, while we gut and rebuild our entire house.

Our house had flooded, it turns out, because of the eight-day blackout during that infamous Christmas ice storm. We did everything we could while we were away to ensure the pipes didn’t freeze. But it was the radiator that burst in my bedroom. Boiling hot water poured out and started pumping through the ceilings, walls, when the furnace sensed the rad was losing water. We’re probably very lucky we weren’t there when it happened.

And here were are, one month later. Fairly settled. Fairly exhausted now that the adrenaline has worn off. We still have furniture to get, MY SHOES, my good clothes, etc. But friends, colleagues and family have helped us so much, and we’ve stayed in such good spirits.

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It’s taken her a while, but Betty White is finally back to her old sunny self!

Because in a way this is “something wonderful.” As with most dark experiences, there’s some light, you know? There are gifts. And there are many gifts here. As yoga teacher Monica Voss once said, when I was her student a few years ago, we need to “collapse the foundation so we can slowly rebuild.” (Like Dyer’s saying, this, too, has stuck with me.) Like a snake shedding its skin, there’s so much renewal here, transformation, possibility, rebuilding…

And of course, there’s humour in all of this. Ummm, did you read my last blog post? About every day being like Groundhog Day? Well, our entire routine has been turned UPSIDE DOWN. I went two weeks without my precious Vitamix, and we were far away from the kids’ school, their friends, programs, my yoga. The routine and the things I knew I depended on for my family’s (and my own) health and well-being… GONE.

It was the universe saying, “OK, you lost 50+ pounds, and you think you’ve got this parenting and lifestyle thing all figured out, do you? Well, we’ll see about that!” What an insane challenge.

You just have to keep smiling. Indeed, things like this really cast into relief what matters: we’re healthy, we’re together — who cares about the rest.

And you just do whatever you can to stay healthy and sane for your family when the world turns upside down. So I kept doing yoga. No matter what, I woke up early and did my entire Ashtanga yoga practice every day. In the tiny hotel room, as the Rascal snored, in the dark… I rolled out my mat. And yoga definitely kept its end of the bargain.

How? It’s simple: 

There’s nothing else to do but surrender to the moment. 

You see, this style of yoga can be completely hellish. You’re stuck there with 1.5 hours of mostly difficult poses ahead of you — plus, it’s reeeeeally early in the morning, you’re tired, Facebook is calling, gotta get the kids up and ready, so much to do… You can either freak out or surrender. So, you surrender. And you do it. You do the whole damn thing. And you don’t think about how you feel about it. And what a gift that is to take with you throughout the day, throughout every experience, whatever the universe throws your way.

It sounds insane and intense, maybe. But it’s a practice. And, like what Willem Dafoe has said, “I think you need a practice if you live in New York — at least I do.”

The strength this practice gives me, both mentally and physically, is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It 100% helped me get through the flood, and it helped me manage our family, keep things rolling and even continue working while Josh dealt with our living situation. That continuity, focus, strength, equanimity, surrender…

Ultimately, the feeling this whole experience has left me with is gratitude: to Josh, my kids, my family, friends and colleagues, to yoga and my yoga family, the universe and all our blessings.

Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen. 

Love!
xo Haley-O
PS: Next week, my teacher says, I’m to add the commonly dreaded Kapotasana (don’t try that at home!) to my practice. And I’m getting ready… Bring. It. On.

PPS: Look out for my personal article “Chaos Theory” in the March issue of Today’s Parent Magazine. On stands in a couple of weeks! (I managed to slip some yoga in there, too, of course — because, you know, when you wake up every day to practise, come hell or HIGH WATER, a little obsession is inevitable… xo)


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Double rainbow. Photo by my dad.

My dad took this photo today, and he’s been telling all his friends I’m putting it on my site — he’s very proud of me, and I’m so thankful for that. I’m also thankful that he shares his cottage with us, not only because it’s a gift to be away from the city and surrounded by so much nature, but also because we get to spend more time with him and my mom.

It’s a double rainbow and full of significance as I sit here, on Josh-O’s computer, gazing out at the colourful landscape — a landscape painters dream of — here on Thanksgiving weekend at my parents’ cottage.

As always, I have to preface this post with excuses as to why I haven’t been here in several months. Instead of boring you with the usual stuff — aka busy, busy, busy and busy… also busy, like, very — I’ll give my excuses in pictures. CHECKIT:

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I’ve been doing tons of TV as a celebrity parent expert (on behalf of Today’s Parent) on Etalk… Have you seen me on TV? Photo by Etalk.

Spoke at the awesome Blissdom Canada conference about writing/pitching for magazines.

Spoke at the awesome Blissdom Canada conference about writing/pitching for magazines. Photo by Louise Gleeson

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Interviewed Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan – check out the interview HERE! Photo by Emily Piccinin

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This little Monkey is also very, very demanding. She doesn’t like when I write about her, but she insisted I post this photo.

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Scooter-boy, the Rascal, is a little firecracker — 37 pounds of demands. But the cheaty little blondie LOVES his mama.

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This guy, Josh-O, is so so so busy. And I’m thankful for that. But, he’s been away a lot the last few months or working late — leaving me solo with the kids and no time to blog here! He’s photo’d here with the Rascal, of course, and Joe the llama.

This thing is a ton of work, I had to quit Candy Crush because I needed more time to take Instagram photos of her -- like this one.

This thing is a ton of work, I had to quit Candy Crush because I needed more time to take Instagram photos of her — like this one.

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This one has been waking me up all night; that tongue is a magnet, alas, for my face — all through the night. So, you see, I’m simply too tired to blog!

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I’m writing a ton at Today’s Parent — and, as you can see, it’s not all about celebrities!

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I’ve been very busy lately learning new things…

Since I don’t write about the kids as much as I’d like to — they won’t ALLOW me to, and I respect their wishes even if they’re doing it just to be MEAN to their mama — I sometimes feel self-indulgent writing about and posting pictures of ME. But this is an inevitable offshoot of the blogging genre I love (and to which I’m forever indebted), so I might as well accept it.

I am, however, thankful for my renewed obsession with Ashtanga yoga, so I’m thinking I’ll write a few posts on this amazing practice — i.e., why I spend so much of my life practising it and trying to embody its principles.

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See, I don’t really ever get a break. Heh! This was really fun, though! Check out my four-year-old nephew “meditating” in the front of the photo — NO ONE put him up to that!!

Lots of people ask me about how I lost FIFTY POUNDS, too, so I can write about that in another post, soon. Although…, a lot of that has to do with my daily yoga practice. Not only is it toning up my bod, but my mind feels so much more stable, centred and focused — and I can’t stress enough how key that all is for weight loss. Every morning, when I hit the mat, I embark on a physical, emotional and psychological quest. That’s a gift for a busy, xx-year-old mom. And I’m very thankful for that space I can give myself every day and for all the amazing people I’m on the Ashtanga journey with.

More self-indulgence for the road:

What I’m reading (when time permits, and now that I’ve deleted Candy Crush from my iPhone): 
- The Signature of all Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert
- If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You, by Kelly Cutrone
- The Power of Ashtanga Yoga, by Kino MacGregor

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#Paw #UnderBite #BettyWhite

What I’m eating:
- Lemon water with sprinkle of cayenne pepper and turmeric in the morning (curbs the cravings and starts off the day healthy, alkaline and with a spicy kick in the butt)
- Green tea
- Apple with almond butter (my favourite 4 p.m. snack)
- Friday is CHAI DAY! (Also Saturday…)
- Clean, whole foods — as Michael Pollan says, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

What I’m wearing:
- EXTRA SMALL, baby!

I’ll blog again here SOON (sooner than last time, at least), promise. In the meantime, I’m thankful for all the things above — and so much more — that have been keeping me away from this space. Also, I’m totally thankful for you, and for the blogging community I’ve seen rally around friends of mine who’ve been in need of mass love lately (#rainbow), for this life, freedom, health and all our gifts. More of that all around the world, please, for the good of all…

What are you thankful for?

Love!
xo Haley-O

 


I try.

I try to be a good mother.

I try to be a good wife and daughter and friend and relative.

I try to be a good person.

I try to be a good student and employee and coworker.

I try to write well.

I try to entertain and delight.

I try eat well.

I try to practice yoga. Every day.

I try to exercise.

I try to breathe and meditate and be spiritual.

I try to look presentable.

I try to be compassionate.

I try not to eat or wear animal products.

I try to keep a clean house.

I try not to lie, get mad, eat too much sugar, skip meals, spend too much money.

I try to manage anxious thoughts, stave off panic and ride waves of depression without slipping back into the deep.

I try to keep my plants alive and my pets fed.

I try to support and help others.

I try to be green and heal the planet.

I try to keep my family happy and healthy.

I try to set a good example for my kids.

This holiday I stopped trying.

I took a holiday from parenting and everything else at my parents’ cottage. I ate a lot, slept a lot, relaxed, gained weight. I let my kids eat cookies for breakfast, spend the day in their pajamas and watch Star Wars.

We played a lot of Sorry! (the Rascal’s our Sorry! champ!)….

We made a (sorry) snowman….

I slid down a hill on this Spider-man sled over and over again and laughed….

We went snowshoeing….

We danced and did our thing….

And I bought a sparkly pompom hat and scarf, fell in love with Ryan Gosling, baked cookies with the Rascal, read books, coloured and went for fairy walks with the Monkey, played tons of soccer, gazed at the stars, the moon and the nearly-frozen lake….

I’ve quoted this a bunch of times here in this blog and I’ll quote it again. My wonderful former yoga teacher, Monica Voss, said this about an asana (yoga pose) during one of our classes a few years ago: Sometimes we have to collapse the structure so we can gradually rebuild. I’ve never forgotten it.

And I’ve done it again.

I’ve collapsed the structure — The Structure of Trying — in which, like a guinea pig, I try and I try and I try to attain goal after goal and I’m just running and running and time is passing, wheel is spinning, and I’m getting nowhere. And I’m still heavier than I’d like to be, getting heavier. And still anxious. And perpetually tired. Endlessly busy, and buying, and sitting, and doing, and pushing, and giving, and hungry, and full, and struggling.

I’ve collapsed the structure. And I’m very gradually building a new foundation — starting with me.

I’ve found a really gentle guide on holistic nutritionist Meghan Telpner’s website called 21 Days to Health. It’s an ebook that involves making small daily changes to your life, like drinking lemon water in the morning (Day 1), flossing every time you brush (Day 2), going to bed 15 minutes earlier (Day 3), and so on. I do a lot of these things already (like flossing!), but I’ve been feeling such a sense of accomplishment, simply because I’ve managed to drink lemon water every morning for the past 5 days — never mind the fact that I haven’t been inside a Starbucks in five days either!(!!)

That easy, daily sense of accomplishment is golden for someone like me.

At the same time, I’ve been energized enough to make all my own meals, feed my family well, eat greens, take a lunch to work, eat lunch, avoid sugar, drink more water, and stay away from Starbucks!(!!)

And, so, for my yogi readers: I haven’t been to yoga. I’ve gone from my daily, trying Ashtanga practice to effectively ZIP. But I feel good. I’ve been taking my practice into my own hands, laying down the necessary foundation of a good diet (and general self-care), on which to gradually build a proper yoga practice — and everything else. The yoga just wasn’t working: I was gaining weight, not sleeping, feeling anxious. But then again it was working. It’s now forcing me to make space for yoga in my life (as my current yoga teacher might say) by cleaning up my diet (but, as you know, he would definitely not condone not practicing to make the space…!). And cleaning up my diet, for me, has meant limiting strenuous exercise. At least for now. I will be in class tomorrow, though, and probably a few times next week. Eventually, I’ll build my practice up to where it was, but I’ll be stronger and healthier and lean enough to progress in it and, finally, to be assisted in twists without shame, crying (or laughing!). It’s worth a try.

So it seems 2012 is starting quietly, calmly, privately (hence the lack of blog posts…), pensively, lightly, (somewhat) effortlessly, deliciously, healthfully, joyfully.

I brought a delicious casserole I made and an orange to work today….

Happy New Year, Gorgeouses…!

Love!

xo Haley-O


One of the funniest things the Rascal ever said would occur in the backseat of our car on a fairly regular basis.

“Monkey,” he’d say, turning to his big sister (using her real name, of course), “you GAWBAGE.”

“You GAWBAGE, Monkey, you GAWBAGE,” he’d say. Josh-O and I used to look at each other in the front seat and try to laugh as quietly as possible. The Monkey would cry, of course.

“YOU GAWBAGE!”

Perhaps this traumatic event from the Monkey’s preschoolhood surfaced when she drew THIS hilarious masterpiece the other day….

The girl in the green is, I’m told, the Monkey. The girl in the purple is her friend Madison. And the sad little soul on hands and knees with the blond tuft of hair is her brother, the Rascal, “picking up garbage.” The green thing in the middle is the garbage can, by the way. And there’s an airplane overhead. The Monkey’s a stickler for detail….

The girls are dreaming of “being stars,” the Monkey explains. And the Rascal’s thinking “he wants to do something else.”

From the looks of things, garbage collecting, at least as a career, isn’t in the cards for our Rascal. At 4 years old, Gorgeouses, he can read! Or, well, he can “read.”

Now, I know you like when I post the odd video of the kids, and God knows the Rascal loves performing, so we videoed this just for you. It’s THE  RASCAL READING, or, well, “READING”! Enjoy…!

Hee! Now that I have an iPhone, I’ll be posting videos a little more, I think! It took NO TIME to upload it to YouTube!

Before I leave you to get back to my insane pre-holiday workload, which my amazing managing editor, Nadine Silverthorne, generously prioritized for me (Cheaty Monkey, of course, wasn’t on the list…but this is another QUICKIE post, and I’ve missed you…), I want to introduce you to the ladies who are successfully getting me to feed myself….

These are the brilliant, creative, gorgeous ladies behind the brand new Macrobiotic Centre of Toronto — and I’m so proud to call them my friends. That’s Miss Stan on the left, Alice in the centre, and Jill (the juicing guru!). Congrats, Ladies, on your amazing new venture. I look forward to many delicious takeout breakfasts and lunches, fresh juices, brunches, dinners, cooking lessons, weight loss, more energy, glowing skin, etc., etc.,  and FUN ahead. Psssst: join their Facebook group for all the inside scoop.

Back to work!

Love!

xo Haley-O


I’m going to be on CityLine tomorrow (Wednesday). NO, not as a guest, of course! I’ll be sitting giddy in the audience gawking at…HEIDI KLUM.

I WAS supposed to interview Heidi one-on-one; but to tell you the truth, celebrity interviews are nerve-wracking…. So it was just perfect for me to sit back and watch a real pro, Tracy Moore, do it so naturally in front of a live audience. It’s not like I wasn’t nervous, though. I really didn’t know if they were going to pull me out of the audience to do a quickie interview after the show, drag me to the Eaton’s Centre (where Heidi was headed next), or what. When the interview was over and Heidi stood up to leave, I finally took a deep breath and enjoyed the rest of the show…. Makeovers!

As the Monkey likes to say, well anyway, the interview was quite fascinating, and it was really hard for me to take my eyes off her. She’s that stunning. Read all about it (lots of good deets!), and check out the pics on my Celebrity Candy blog HERE, and see if you can spot me in the audience in tomorrow’s show — CityLine, CityTV, 9am and 2pm EST (I’ll update you with the online edition here ASAP, in case you miss it)! I’ve never been in a studio audience before. It was REALLY FUN!

In other news I’m pretty sure I’ll be stalking Jessica and Ashlee Simpson this weekend. I got a vague invite to an event they’ll be at, and I’m dragging the whole family with me. Hey, it’s a Saturday! I insist on being with my family on the weekend, even if it means they go to work with me!

So we’re back in the celebrity swing of things. High energy. Lots of events. Tomorrow, I’m taking the Rascal to the worldwide debut of the “Canuck Monster Truck.” Funny little Rascal, he went right to bed this evening because he couldn’t wait to wake up for the show in the morning: “I’m goin’ right to bed, Dada! I’m goin’ right to bed.” I was warned on Facebook that I need to bring some earplugs for him. So we’ll be running out first thing in the morning to get those earplugs.

But before that, reeeeally early in the morning, I’m going to yoga.

In the meantime, I have to feed Betty White her rice….

It seems we’re both on the macrobiotic diet…. Well, I am, thanks to my gorgeous friends at the brand new Macrobiotic Centre of Toronto (website to come). Looking back at my life so far, I can’t really believe I have friends who run a macrobiotics centre. Nothing in my life really ever pointed here. But here I am. Hovering among celebrities, Monster Trucks, rice, school pick-up, fairies and Ashtanga yoga. Kind of an amazing place to be.

Oh, and Betty’s not really on a macrobiotic diet, FYI. She has DIARRHEA. The macros would cringe at that instant white rice the vet insisted on (in the photo)!

Let’s just say Betty’s hungry. She’s really, really hungry.

Arf! She’ll be back on her regular food tomorrow. Fingers crossed for no more crap! Heh. Poor dog is so exposed on this blog. But we all love her and want the best for her, right, Gorgeouses?

Love!

xo Haley-O

PS: Check out my Twitter feed (@cheaty) and Today’s Parent’s Twitter feed (@todaysparent) for live Monster Truck action tomorrow morning!


“…Piper, sit thee down and write
In a book, that all may read.”
So he vanish’d from my sight,
And I pluck’d a hollow reed,

And I made a rural pen,
And I stain’d the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
Every child may joy to hear.

— William Blake, Songs of Innocence, 1789

I’ve been writing a ton lately. Writing articles, editing articles, and writing blogs posts over at Today’s Parent. So, sighh, I’ve neglected our little spot here again, Gorgeouses. I’m not complaining or making excuses in saying this — not saying I’m tired or busy this time. Just saying I’ve kind of wanted to do other things than sit me down AGAIN and write! It’s just a little tricky fitting all the writing I want to do in. I still have to make lunches at the end of the day, you know? Boil rice. Read stuff. Water the catnip….

Maybe it’d be easier if I didn’t, say, start posts off with a William Blake quote.

Even though my finger tips are numb from writing (and what a blessing that is, really!), and even though I quoted Blake and raised your expectations…, I’m going to try to write little less today and just give our blog some love already, right Gorgeouses? And I know just the DOG to do it. Are you ready? You should probably sit down for this….

As you may know, that’s not a Muppet. That’s our Betty White. I promise you she’s gorgeous. GORGEOUS. Except maybe for the bottom teeth. Have you any idea how many times those adorably terrible teeth have hooked me in the nostril? It’s worth it for the kisses, though. I should probably just stop blogging, shouldn’t I. Heh. *Cough.* I’ll be alright!

Speaking of amazing little lovers (and awesome segues), check out the Rascal in karate class. Can you spot him (the blondie in the centre)?

Look at him jump! Move over, young Michael Jordan and kangaroos!

Speaking of superstars (and more awesome segues), check out the amazing Kino MacGregor! I had the privilege of watching this master yogi of whom I’ve been a fan for a long time practice and share her knowledge, wisdom, experience and sparkle….

Isn’t she amazing? I’m still processing a lot of what she said, mainly her comments on yoga, Being and suffering. Made me think a lot about how I personally use chai lattes to run toward pleasure and away from suffering. Yes, I fell back off the wagon last week, drank chai lattes and have five extra pounds on my belly to show for it. I’ve been speeding through Marichyasana C and D (major twists) to avoid being assisted by my teachers. Too humiliating. Too much suffering.

Anyway, speaking of wise ones and drug addictions, Minden’s loving the catnip I grew him….

Impressive, right? Too bad it makes him barf.

Love!

xo Haley-O (I’ll definitely try to check in more often….)


Maybe it’s because Halloween is in the air at work that I’ve noticed a little something I’ve been calling “The Veil of Fear.” I’m not sure exactly where it came from — just that one morning at the cottage, I lay down in savasana (corpse pose) at the end of my yoga practice, and I heard the words loud and clear in my head. Veil of fear, I heard. You have to lift the veil of fear. Hmmm…. So Yoda.

Even though I was supposed to be thinking about nothing (and, for sure, because I was supposed to be thinking about nothing), I relaxed into the yoga pose and started thinking about this veil of fear and how, epiphany, I live under one pretty much all the time. It’s very subtle, so I don’t always notice it; but it’s definitely there. And I suppose with the right dose of psychiatric drugs it would just fall away. But then that would be no fun, would it? And it would be bad news for the lakes, rivers, oceans — to which, bizarre as I sound today, I connect on, like, a visceral, pelvic level. I noticed that, too, the other day, as we drove home from the cottage for the last, *sniff,* time this summer.

So is it just me, or do you live under a veil of fear too? If you do, what happens when you imagine — even just for a moment — lifting it up? It’s like, ahhh…. Everything becomes clearer, no? Is it me? Or do most of us live with this? It is the age of anxiety, no? And with the kids going back to school, a huge transition, the veil’s thicker than ever….

I guess that’s one of the reasons I still can’t shake my chai latte addiction, why I can’t lose this thick veil of weight I’ve been carrying since the brutally anxious days of my pregnancies…. And it’s why I need to go to yoga every day — to wake up at a crazy hour (given how late I stay up working) and enter a room full of others, their journeys, veils. Because there it’s just breath, and being, and learning and floating, and lifting the veil as I bend my knees and fall backwards into a deep backbend, an upside-down rainbow.

Here’s the inspiring teacher who makes me do it — it’s time you guys officially met. In my 28 years of studying yoga, he’s the only teacher who’s gotten me to really practice daily and begin to transform. He is awesome, so check out his new DVD, okay?

I’ll let you know when the DVD becomes available….

I heart yoga.

I’ll be buzzing around downtown Toronto for the next week or so for the Toronto Film Festival. I’m going to the Hello! Canada Magazine red carpet Saturday night (my birthday!); the Monkey and I will be meeting Heather Graham Sunday; and we have some other interviews and fun stuff going on (like an early morning event with the Rascal that will keep me from yoga tomorrow, alas, but it’ll be fun).

In the meantime, the Monkey’s in Grade One, and the Rascal’s entering Kindergarten tomorrow. I guess that’s for another post — except to say that I shed tears, Gorgeouses, a veil of them.

Love!
xo Haley-O

 

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