Impossible is Nothing!

mandela

As I was aimlessly enjoying some IG while drinking a freshly brewed cup of Joe via freshly ground beans and basking in sunshine, I came across the above quote. It hit me like a Mack Truck going full speed. How many times do we think we can’t achieve our goals, whether they be minute or grand?

One of my goals is to be better, more available friend this year. While I have a lot on my plate, I strive to maintain friendships that are reciprocal, happy and have epic amounts of coffee, laughter and sparkles attached 🙂  How can I be a better friend? That seems like a pie in the sky, lofty idea. Not so! I have been researching various personality theories this week. If you know me, you will know that I absolutely ADORE social experiments. And thus, I instigated the most delightful round of texts/instant messages/emails to gather information. The link can be found https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test for a simple, easy to use online quiz that will tell you your Myers Briggs personality type. And then the fun begins. I mainly used Pinterest for my research. Because it is the source of 100% accurate knowledge, as everything on the internet is true.  ***If you don’t sense the sarcasm dripping from my words, I strongly recommend you abort this blog mission IMMEDIATELY!***

What I most appreciated about having each friend do the test was the astounding accuracy the test had, but also my research resulted in knowing what they need, how to love them, what they desire in life and how their personality type interacts with others. Note: I also asked the Mamacita and will be asking my babies to also do this. The more we know, the more we are able to cultivate relationships.

And so, my small goal of being a better friend might seem quite abstract, but when broken down into smaller chunks, I was able to see through the haze and see a clear outcome. Now let me ask you; what are YOU wishing for, hoping for, striving for? How are those New Year’s resolutions coming along? I would like to encourage you in that baby steps are still steps moving forward. Even in the whole “two steps forward, one step back” scenario, you are still one step ahead than you were a week, a month, a year ago. In that stepping back, you may have learned a valuable lesson, a new way of doing things that you can then use in the future so maybe the next time you are challenged in this area, you will not have to take that step back!

What steps can you take TODAY to change what your future looks like?

Be encouraged, my friend. Until we meet again. Light, love, happiness, sparkles xo

Lana

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3 Things I Learned from NOT Participating in Sexual Assault Awareness Week

The colors of red, white and blue have been scrawled across every media outlet continuously for the past month. With the election wrapping up, I had been toying with the idea of writing a post Trump election blog, but decided to write about an experience that happened this evening.

This past week I read an ad in our local university paper, urging students to engage in a week long campaign to raise awareness about sexual assault; to share experiences through communal decoration, art exhibits and solidarity in victim/survivor-hood. Being a survivor of multiple experiences, I felt compelled to volunteer in assisting the young lady running the event. I sent her an email outlining my previous experiences, which include marching in protest against rape culture, violence against women and family violence. I am currently wearing the shirt from the campaign as I write this blog post. *Oh the irony of my life*

The young lady called me on the phone this evening and wanted to know what events I would be signing up for, and wanted my feedback as to what, if any, events being held would be traumatic to the survivors. I asked this lady what her experience/skill was for hosting a week long event. To bottom line it for inquiring minds; I wanted to know if she was also a survivor. How can one who has never experienced a devastating event such as sexual assault, begin to even fathom or walk alongside survivors?

The lady declined to comment, causing me to ponder 3 things, which I will share with you.

  1. Anger

I wanted to know her victimization credentials. The injustice in not being able to control another’s actions baffled me. There was a strict contrast between her words of wanting to help and the reluctance, dare I say, refusal, to share left me irate, frustrated and feeling powerless. I did not have power in the sexual assaults; I did not have power in this brief conversation.

Allowing ourselves to feel angry is human. As I began to take deep breaths and calm down, I was reminded that part of self love and self care involves being kind to ourselves and allowing to feel a wide range of emotions in a healthy, constructive way, which leads me to my next point: respect.

  1. Respect of Others

Unfortunately, I have not yet mastered the concept of mind control. *Sighs.* And so, until my super powers manifest as I fully expect them to around dirty thirty, *wink wink* I am reduced to respecting and validating her choice to not disclose, as much as I respect my own position to share my story. I politely thanked her for the opportunity to engage in this event, but respectfully declined.

While sharing this day in the life with a friend of mine, she suggested that I could start my own campaign at my school to make sure that, as a survivor, I could see that proper care and dignity is taken to create a safe space for others to share. How can others be expected to share if the leader chose not to? This event was reminiscent of 2015 when the Pro Life Club chose to cover about 10 8 foot windows with white crosses and aborted fetus pictures to raise awareness about, “murdered babies.” This club chose to make a statement instead of give a voice to those who had abortions, were contemplating or knew someone who terminated a pregnancy.

Regardless of the motives of both events, In my opinion, it was a missed opportunity to give a platform to those who otherwise would not have an outlet to do so, which brings me to my third point.

  1. A Platform Opportunity

While I have decided not to pursue a simultaneous Sexual Assault Awareness  Week, or avidly protest theirs, I chose another route. I chose to share with you; Kindness and respect go further than disrespect and spitefulness ever could. After all, I aspire to spread as much light, love, sparkles (YASSSSSS girl, I said sparkles), happiness and peace.be-kind

So what does this mean for you? A non-university student, who may or may not have had a similar experience? Two things. First. Be kind to yourself always. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions you are and let them out. “Better out than in, I always say,” Says Shrek. Second, I urge you, in your confrontations or less than optimal situations to approach others with differing opinions with light and an ounce of love. Only an ounce though, we wouldn’t want to overdo it, now would we? 😉

Until next time,

– L

6 Things I Learned at 28; Reflections of a Pre-Birthday Celebration

Hello friends,

I’ve always loved the determination, humour and drive of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. One of my absolute fave quotes of LIFE that has definitely championed me this past year is this beaut right here;

imagesI find my birthday to be a time of personal reflection, growth and motivation for what is to come. I can still feel the cool, rough concrete steps of the large front porch I grew up on as a child. I cried when I turned 13 because I felt the weight of the responsibility of what life had for me as I left childhood and entered the dreaded teenage-dom. Now on the brink of the oh-so-interesting *cough* cough* Dirty Thirty, I have an odd calmness. I am not as sad as I thought I would be as my last birthday of my twenties approaches in less than 2 hours.

Each birthday, I also reflect on my life’s motto/quote of the year. For instance, five years ago, it was “When you want to say no, say yes.” This lead me to meet some incredible people, embark on great adventures, and even work with Hoarders (yes, the same as those seen on TV). Two years ago, it was, “You were given this life because you were strong enough to live it.” Last year’s was that great Rock quote above.

And so, with the dawn of another year on the beautifully wide expanse of an open sky over crystal clear turquoise water (because everything in my life is beachy), I sit at my laptop, to savour that mental picture and to solidify the goals for the coming year. Epic words of Carry Bradshaw come to mind,

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I have learned several remarkable things about myself over this last year- things I felt worth sharing;

  1. I am worthy of love. Of friends. Of lovers. Of my babies. Of my family. Of myself.
  2. I am not broken. I have something worthwhile to offer.
  3. I am not someone tightly confined to a box; My creativity is not static but fluid.
  4. I am naturally not good at cleaning. That is ok.
  5. Enjoy the process. Enjoy the little things.
  6. Celebrate often.

@caramelsunrise

These are things that are yes very personal, but also applicable to the masses. As so, friends, I will leave you with my quote for this coming year,

mj

I seek to expand my creative muscles, delve deeper into what it means to embrace #blacklivesmatter and Caribbean-Canadian culture, pursue my post secondary studies towards grad school, fall even more deeper in love with those 3 lil stunners, and above all else, throw some love/kindness/sparkles (sparkles in Jesus’ name of course) because the world needs more love not less.

 

Dreams & Tomatoes

Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit” and further Socrates stated, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

These two quotes have been ruminating around my head for the past few weeks, as I am constantly under construction and would characterize my life as always needs improvement as I strive daily to become greater than the person I was yesterday. When we are not actively and intentionally striving towards the best version of ourselves, towards purpose and destiny, then we can fall subject to regression. In my opinion, if you are going backwards, at least there is movement and you are not *dun-dun*DUN* (insert ominous music) living a life of mediocrity.

20160721_151024Stagnation is one of the fears of most creative people. We thrive on inspiration, on always improving our art form and constantly growing; if not in leaps and bounds, possibly we develop a brush stroke or engage in cardio to improve our instrumental stamina. Whatever the case may be, for a creative person to get writer’s block, or be unable to create, it is a slow painful death that eats away at the core of who we are.

I am sharing this to say. I grew 4 tomato plants. While these two concepts may not seem parallel, please bear with me as I digress 🙂 And so, in the same way that tomatoes need sunlight, watering, good filtration/drainage and some loving, so too do our dreams. They need nourishment and attention. We cannot say, “I hope to play electric guitar in a band one day” but never practice, and never pick up the beautiful instrument. I know because I “played” the clarinet in middle school. By played, I mean I picked it up maybe three times outside of school and that was it. I never practiced. What came out were squeaks and awfulness. However, when I decided I wanted to play the piano, I practiced until my fingers were numb. I would take a break, and continue.20160721_134420

A few months ago, a friend asked me where I saw my business going, and what the moment look like when I knew I had made it. She asked me to visualize it. To write it down; what did it look like, what people were there, what did it smell like? I won’t spoil the surprise, but I know for a fact that a day will come when my dreams become a reality.

Gardiner Lana’s dreams became a reality today when I was able to eat 3 small cherry tomatoes from my own garden. I planted them when they were small and have been watering them (probably too much, who knows) daily. I talk to them (don’t tell my neighbours), and I waited. But what a wait! Those little nuggets burst like dawn over a horizon in my mouth. They were crisp and sweet.

All good things are worth the wait. How crisp and sweet will your dreams be once you reach them?

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Two Hands

I’ve had major writer’s block lately. Alas, I found a half done poem and finished it. Enjoy!


hands

Two hands attached to different bodies capture my mind’s attention. The vast differences yet striking similarities are unsettling. The first, whose hands are callused, are rough to the touch. As my finger traces over each calloused ridge on the palm, my mind sprints through a serious of white-hot flashbacks in quick succession. Each more intense than the last. I exhale with gusto. As if to feel each

Punch.

Slap.

 Kick.

in staccato fashion. A punch spews onyx to my eyes. A slap leaves a thick handprint of crimson on my cheek. Sullied extremities create a unique splotched pattern on the entire canvas that is my person.

The body forgets these splatters of pain. The mind does not.

Sitting in a cafe munching a salad, a kick sprays indigo.

The Romaine has lost its flavour.

Paint flavoured salad is disgusting at best.

As if in two different worlds is the stark contrast of the second hand to the first. Those hands are smooth to the touch. They are moisturized and sun kissed by kindness. My cheeks are caressed with understanding. The thought of those hands curl the corners of my mouth upward. The rest of my lips follow without prompting.

My fingers follow downwards and trace the lines on the palm. Again. Flashback. Yet these are familial

lines of green.

Strength.

Roots.

Laughter of children.

No longer staccato, these lines linger on the mind as Georgia does.


 

Like a Bird set FREE

Hello beautiful friend,

How has life been on your end? Hectic would be a GROSS mischaracterization of my last few months to say the least. And yet, we are almost approaching FEBRUARY. I know. I cannot believe it either. I blinked and <<BAZINGA>> There went January. Alas, it is January 22. I am about to shock pretty much everyone I know when I do this. I am going to talk about birds AND New Year’s Resolutions. My mother *might* have a heart attack. Quick. Someone feed her chocolate.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I absolutely detest animals of the feathery persuasion with an avid hatred and pure discuss that rivals carnival bathrooms after a chili cook off on a steamy August evening. I also have spent almost every New Year’s intentionally uncelebrating. (If that’s not a word, it should be.) I must preface this blog post by stating that I don’t hate animals, I just don’t intentionally like them. Except they are delish. NO one tell PETA.

You might be sitting in your home wondering how New Years and birds are related. We’re getting to the good stuff. It was on my mind last week that I should blog, but I honestly had no idea about what to write. Literally there was nothing. Well, there was silky smooth, warm, delectable caffeinated goodness with a caramel undertone, but nothing else. And then a close girlfriend played a song by Sia called, Bird Set Free. It has been on repeat since then.

 

 

When words fail

Clipped wings, I was a broken thing
Had a voice, had a voice but I could not sing
You would wind me down
I struggled on the ground
So lost, the line had been crossed
Had a voice, had a voice but I could not talk
You held me down
I struggle to fly now

I did have a few thoughts as I contemplated the lyrics and their subsequent relevance for my own life. I have attached the lyrics and song below. We all have haters in our lives who would like nothing better than to see you fail. I once read that some haters actually paid for a front row seat to watch you fail. I struggled to wrap my head around that concept. They don’t want to see us successful for two reasons:

  1. It makes them look bad.
  2. It forces them to analyze the status quo that has settled like a bad foot fungus in their own lives.

We all know people like that. That is not new. However, I am here to give you that friendly kick in the pants we all need from time to time. We do not have to succumb to their crazy notion of what they believe we should be. Those awful voices of negativity that keep us down. They tell us we aren’t good enough. We are not capable of achieving our dreams. I have a funny meme on my tablet desktop that says, “No matter how far you’ve come, there’s still someone back in your hometown trying to make it as a rapper.” Mind. BLOWN.

So. Will you join with me and leave those voices of negativity in 2015? Will you put on your big girl boots (or man boots if that’s how you roll), and pursue your purpose and the things you are passionate about? Everyone and even their grandma makes New Year’s Resolutions. What will be different about yours is that you will refuse to listen to the haters. We will wave to them as we pass towards the person we are meant to be. Here are three easy tips you can do RIGHT NOW to proceed in making your dreams/Resolutions become a reality.

  1. Write it down. What is your goal? Be as specific as possible. “Be better” doesn’t exactly have an connectivity in the real world. You’re welcome. I’m glad we got that one out of the way hehe. Are you looking to maintain/sustain a previously attained goal? Are you looking to be more social and join a class? It’s reaDiem (2)lly up to you.
  2. Date that baby! Now that we have a goal, we need to have a measure of whether we are actually working towards that goal. For example, by February 25 I want to be drinking 16 oz of water every morning by 12:00pm.
  3. You better tell somebody! Not hard. Text. Call a friend. Email them. Snail mail that bad boy. Let your people know what you want to do. If you fell off the wagon 21 days in, that is OK. Get right back on. Dust yourself off. Get your friend to feed ya something yummy and start again. But this time, you will have a friend by your side.

You have a beautiful soul. You are unique. You have something only you can offer to your friends, family and sphere of influence. Do not let the haters and naysayers keep you down. Fly. Be free in 2016. You’ve GOT this.

But there’s a scream inside that we all try to hide
We hold on so tight, we cannot deny
Eats us alive, oh it eats us alive
Yes, there’s a scream inside that we all try to hide
We hold on so tight, but I don’t wanna die, no
I don’t wanna die, I don’t wanna die

No I don’t care if I sing off key
I find myself in my melodies
I sing for love, I sing for me
I’ll shout it out like a bird set free
I’ll shout it out like a bird set free
I’ll shout it out like a bird set free

Now I fly, hit the high notes
I have a voice, have a voice, hear me roar tonight
You held me down
But I fought back loud