Maybe it’s because I’ve been sick for 10 days with a virus that was having an identity crisis — one day a sinus cold, the next the stomach flu.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t sleep at all during the stomach flu parts.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t gone to yoga in five days because I was too exhausted from the virus to make my kids breakfast, let alone bend over backwards on my mat.

Maybe it’s because I’ve missed some of that unconditional acceptance I feel when I walk into the yoga shala every morning.

Maybe that’s not the best photo for melancholy. I wanted a picture of fall leaves, but it felt too cliché; so I went with this horribly cropped photo of Betty White looking longingly out the front window, not to go outside — hells no — but to bark intimidatingly at a squirrel or ‘nother dog from within the safety of her own home.

Whatever the reason, today was a melancholy day.

It wasn’t a bad day. It was a really good day. Which is strange because it was a melancholy day. It was definitely a strange day.

Maybe it’s because I practise yoga, or maybe because I’m extra tired, or because I’m a little introspective by nature, spiritual, a dreamer. But I didn’t let the melancholy eat me up as it easily could have had I plunged inside. I didn’t get depressed or dark and twisted, anxious as usual. I got pensive, peaceful. I accepted it. I liked it.

It was a good melancholy. The kind that gets you closer to yourself. The kind that makes you feel so alone that you can almost touch your soul. And if there is no soul, no self, then I mean you feel so alone you can almost feel — really feel.

As I wrote last week, Dr. Laura was right when she said motivation is BS. But she was wrong about just doing it. That may be enough for a skinny, shrilly radio host who could care less about feelings (as she herself would say). But for many of us who are often overwhelmed by life, doing something as massive as losing weight or quitting an addiction goes much deeper than feelings — italicized feelings, whiny, woe-is-me feelings. And if there is no depth then it’s just much subtler than that, more symbolic, abstract. Wherever acceptance is.

I’m so busy with my kids, work, a squealy-barking dog, the loud city, stress, responsibility, anxiety, that I haven’t really been hearing. I may listen, but I rarely open my ears and hear, open my wounds and feel, open my eyes and see, not just look. The melancholy opened me up with great, serene breaths to accept everything that was today. Even the Rascal, who loves a good loud whine. Even the Monkey, who loves a good loud shriek.

So even as I stood in the playground from 3:30 to 5:15 so my children could be children and play and laugh and scream, I enjoyed the silence of my own melancholy, the ease of my own breath, the silence of my own mind. When I got home, I made everyone a nice warm meal. I didn’t react when my kids ordered me to GO GET WATER as soon as I sat down, or when the Monkey rebelliously put her feet on the table, or the Rascal said “ew” at the mysterious beans on his plate. I just responded calmly, from a different place.

Although I’m probably not as fun to be around with the melancholy, I like it here for now. And I’ll do my best to take it with me to the next big feeling.

Maybe it was because I wore the white elephant on my necklace today.

Love…

xo Haley-O


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

 


How DOES she do it?

I love them. And I fed them for her sake — because I can’t imagine what it’s like to have nine children. And, of course, they kept coming back for more. In the end they were swimming with us, side by side. Quack quack quack. Until Betty White jumped in. She didn’t bother them or anything, but the mere presence of such a SCARY BEAST was evidently enough to send the ducklings and their mama quacking away for a few hours at least….


Ooooooo…. Scary beast. RAWR!

Or maybe it was my Justin Bieber towel that scared them away….

If you can help it, try not to comment about how dirty and disease infested ducks are. I’ve been fighting some serious sun anxiety/OCD lately. I spent an entire paycheck buying every mineral sunscreen I could find in the store, and that doesn’t seem to be enough for my (and my sister’s) fair beauties in the heat of the cottage sun….


Cousins…. They did wear T-shirts most of the day…AND their beloved life jackets.


Brothers….

Obvious: I love the cottage. I feel like a kid again when I’m there, only better. When I was a kid, I was terrified of the lake, hated the outdoors and ran the other way when anyone yelled “WATER SPORTS WOOHOOOHOOHOOO!” Now, here I am jumping in the middle of the lake to rescue a lost hat, kayaking….

WAKEBOARDING…!

I got up on the wakeboard, and I made it around the lake, bouncing off choppy waves and whipping side to side. Totally awesome, dude…. And I went crazy water tubing. Here’s Josh-O hating every minute of our saggy water tube….

I love it. I love the cottage. The nature, the play, the togetherness. and I hate to leave every time….

So thanks for the emails, Gorgeouses. I know I’ve been MIA here lately. It’s okay. I haven’t even been to yoga much lately either. And I’m kind of disappointed in my apparent laziness. But I am long overdue for this thing called “play,” which I’m surprisingly rediscovering at the cottage.

I think my last yoga practice taught me something about this just the other day. I was really struggling through the poses — probably because I’d eaten too much the night before — and just spontaneously decided to stop working so hard. I let my muscles go a little flaccid, rested a little between poses, relaxed inside the poses (all of this a no-no in Ashtanga yoga), breathed a little more freely. And it suddenly occurred to me that I do EVERYTHING TOO HARD. My “flaccid” yoga was for sure someone else’s 100%. I consistently work too hard in every single aspect of my life. I put too much pressure on myself to go all the way and do everything perfectly. Eureka! Maybe things would flow better for me in general if I just let go a little…. Ride the wave….

Parenting, writing, working, parenting, cooking, yoga, dieting, parenting, running, running, running like Lola.

It felt good to let go in yoga, and it feels good to let go a little in life. To play without guilt or holding back or fear. Without fear without fear, for two seconds without fear. I got up and around the lake on a wakeboard for the first time in my life. You missed it all, Fear.

Now I just have to find that healthy balance between work and play, push and pull, order and chaos, freedom and control, yin and yang.

My arms still feel slightly torn out of their sockets from wakeboarding, but I should make it to yoga tomorrow (and I will work hard). It’s pretty crucial. I have the greatest, most inspiring teacher out there, who, like wakeboarding, reminds me that I can do anything.

Ahh, life.

Love!
xo Haley-O


When I get exhausted I get concrete signs. While others go to bed early, or catch a cold, or fall asleep at their desk, drool and all, I get OCD.

I could write a really serious post about how crappy OCD is. I could make a really big deal about the label and get all “woe is me” about the panic attacks that it sometimes induces to the point of paralysis. BUT! I won’t.

Instead, I’ll tell you that I’m exhausted. And I’m having strange symptoms — not unlike the really bad prenatal ones I experienced 6 years ago (unforgettable), which led to an unpleasant obsession with weevils that I thought had eaten part of an almond I’d been munching on. Or the 40 times a day I ran over to Ali’s desk at work to make sure it was safe to use the cafeteria toaster when you’re pregnant, or the microwave, or if it was safe to do prenatal yoga outside where there may be cat poop. Or if…. Or if…. Or if….

It’s a frustrating condition and surprisingly very physical. I can feel my mind spinning. It doesn’t hurt. It just spins. I feel trapped in a hamster’s wheel, a merry-go-round you can’t get off of, an interminably skipping CD. A brutal song you can’t get out of your mind. Hootie and the Blowfish, maybe, or Rebecca Black’s “Friday.” No escape.

Or “Wednesday.” This MTV CANADA “Wednesday” parody is the best…. Ahh, comic relief….

I love that, and the original “Friday” YouTube sensation, of course — anything that makes me laugh and smile when I’m in my spinny state.

“Spinny.” Hmm, I like it. Instead of calling this “OCD,” I’m going to own it — officially. It will henceforth be known as my “SPINNY STATE.” Much better.

Let’s try it out: “Mom, sorry, I can’t talk, I’m in my spinny state”; “Feeling a little spun right now, Josh. Call you later?”; “David, I couldn’t go to yoga the other day because I was stuck in a spin”; “Hi, I look like ARSE because I was spinning all night and all day yesterday.”

Yes, it’s good. Much better than “OCD” or “panic.” Ew. I think we should contact the DSM-IV-TR asap.

So, yeah, I have a little quirk. And it comes out when I’m TIRED. And it can be hellish, but also very funny — weevils — after the fact.

I could have written this week’s blog post about just being TIRED. But nobody wants to read about how tired moms are. It’s a known fact. So, I had to come out with a little more: I am SPUN TIRED. And I’m taking this weekend to chill. As much as a mother can chill.

Thanks for letting me share. It’s a bit intense for me. But it’s something I deal with. And nothing a little laugh, a little blogging, a lot of yoga and, yes, a little brown rice (chewed well), oh! and Rescue Remedy and, of course, a lot of sleep, can’t manage.

Love!
xo Haley-O


Depression’s a weird, complicated thing. There’s still a stigma attached to it. Everyone just wants it to go away. Everyone around you gets concerned and starts doing the Tom Selleck “sympathetic head tilt” from Friends. Remember that?

I probably shouldn’t blog about being depressed because my neck is a little stiff from all the “I’m okay head bobbing.” No. It’s actually stiff because the Rascal has been climbing into bed with me every night at 2am. I wake up as stiff as a board trying, in my sleep, not to fall off the bed.

Rascal. Who threw an EPIC TANTRUM at the giant bookstore today…. All I could do was laugh. He shrieked at the top of his lungs because I wouldn’t buy anything for him — this, of course, after 8 days of Hanukkah presents — red face, snot everywhere, and did I mention shrieking? “Shrieking.” Where are the dictionary people? I need to submit a PHOTO. You had to laugh. Everyone laughed. Poor thing is too cute for his own good.

Even though I’m still feeling depleted, I’ve come out of this depression I think. I still wake up with a subtle sense of dread every morning, but I dash out of the house to my beloved yoga “shala” and sweat out all the pain. And it is the best thing ever to start the day doing something awesome and magical and surprising.

I’m lucky I get to do that every day. It’s a little gift I’ve given myself — and everyone around me.

When you’re depressed, everyone gets concerned, and they tilt their heads and you bob your head. But the thing is depression is okay. As long as you can function and care for yourself and your family, it’s okay. It might even be a good thing.

Just like when you get a cold, people say it’s your body telling you to rest. I get sick in emotional ways because my nerves get so depleted from all the anxiety and worry and constant-doing and overwhelming responsibility and I-want-I-want-I-want and no-no-I-said-no that comes with motherhood. When I get depressed, it’s like my soul has a cold; it tells me I need to rest and nurture myself.

So I didn’t go to the basketball game with Josh and the kids, and I didn’t blog, and I slept in until 11am, and I walked my dog, and I called a friend, and I made a soup…. And I watched a Real Housewives marathon…. And I felt better. I feel better. I’m lucky.

And, Gorgeouses? Before you know it, I will be skiing for the first time in my life because I’m lucky….

And this is the landscape I’ll be gazing at for many weekends to come….

Because….

My parents bought a cottage….

And it’s hard to be down and out when you’re surrounded by family…and forest and lake…and when you’re skiing!?

They are lucky, my kids.

I’ll never discourage them when they’re feeling depressed. I’ll never insist that they be happy when they’re not. Because depression can be a gift if you use it wisely. Kind of like a winter lake. Dark and cold — but sparkly in the winter sun, and rife with reflection.

Love!

xo Haley-O

P.S.: Check out pp.64-65 of the January issue of Today’s Parent Magazine! My article “Resolutions for Real Parents” is there! Should be on stands later this week. Hope you like it!


Actually this blog is far from “regularly scheduled.” I write when the mood moves me. But this month has been certifiably insane. And I find myself. Depressed.

I’ll feel better tomorrow or the day after. It’s just hard. Between work and constantly-screaming children, I can’t relax. My body and mind are screaming over the children, “YOU NEED A BREAK! YOU NEED TO SLEEP! YOU NEED TO…PLAY AND I DON’T MEAN LEGO! You need a facial, massage, a vacation.” Somewhere warm like a deserted island. I can lie on a hammock and let the ocean rock me back and forth and back and forth and back and….

Right now the closest thing I have to a vacation is this….

She doesn’t demand much, our Betty White. Only to be let outside approximately every 6½ minutes, or any time I shift positions when I’m working on the couch. She owns it. Our backyard is her territory. She has balls and bones and probably old cat poop buried deep beneath the ground. Every 12½ minutes I let her in and wipe the black of digging off her face. Her beard.

I’d love to feel as joyful as Betty White. I watch her out my window. She scurries here and there and then just stops. Still. Listens. Espies. Stomps. Sees me. Comes running. Expects. Cookie.

She’s not the only one who loves the outdoors around here — especially when it’s snowing and below zero….

Snow angels! He can’t get enough of the snow. Which is totally how it should be when you’re 3 years old. Even as I watch his red little nose turn to purple and scrunch with the glee, I can’t even imagine.

Don’t worry, Gorgeouses. I’ll snap out of this. I get depressed. I don’t hide it well. This doesn’t mean I need to talk about it or go get help. Sometimes, in my case, depression’s okay. I’m like a big bear in the winter. I just want to cozy up on my favourite spot on the couch and be warm and still and…not tweet much.

It just so happens that all the beings I’m wholly responsible for 24/7 are the farthest thing from big bears in the winter. They’re more like those flippy little birds that stick around instead of flying south — the ones Betty White chases every 6½ minutes in the backyard. WHY NOT FLY TO FLORIDA? So I’m tired. And craving. A vacation. An island. A hammock. A good night’s sleep.

Good night, Gorgeouses.

Love!

xo Haley-O


It doesn’t take much to make me anxious — like a lot of mothers I know, actually! And one of my techniques for easing anxiety is to practice being thankful. This works because being thankful brings you back from the projected future (the anxiety) to the present, the here and now. It totally works. Anyway, checkit!

RASCAL: Evvybody luff me, Mama?

ME: Yes, Rascal! Everybody loves you!

Now, go on over to my latest post at Canada Moms Blog, and see what else I’m thankful for. Hint: it rhymes with “Shmeal Shmousewives.” But, first, DO TELL: what are you thankful for today?

Love!

xo Haley-O


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