We’re at our best in the beginning of our journey and at the end.

Spending time with a four year old or, a 94 year old, reminds us how wonderful it is to play, to laugh, to dream, to love, to observe butterflies and to spend time getting messy eating watermelon, planting flowers or making a campfire.

These wise older and younger souls will gladly take your hand and guide you to the forest or the seashore, as they know these places are extraordinary and make the best classrooms.

Time spent with little people and our elders affirm the fact that naps are necessary, the sun, the stars and the moon are absolutely magical and our beautiful planet deserves to be loved.

They’ll encourage you to be who you are, wear what you want (the more colour the better)and remind you to let others do the same.

Their animated and colourful stories will take you to places you forgot you were missing and remind you that the world is still a dazzling and fascinating place.

You’ll giggle as they whisper secrets in your ear and tell you it’s okay to talk to your cat, dog, bird or other animal because these creatures are wonderful friends and they always listen.

The young and the old teach us kindness, patients, compassion and the importance and beauty in being still when we stop to inhale the essence of a buttercup, tulip or a rose.

Never underestimate their wisdom and the powerful impact they can have on your well-being. Their lingering hugs and the enthusiastic excitement shown when they greet you, is a reminder that you’re awesome and you’re loved.

Human beings are at our best in the beginning of our journey and at the end. It’s during these periods we know what matters and we happily give love away.

The periods of life in between can be confusing. Our minds become overwhelmed and overstimulated by things not really important at all.

We seem to park the wisdom of our early years, somewhere along our path. If we’re lucky we find it again before this amazing adventure ends.

If you’re feeling lost, spending time with little people or your elders can be grounding and humbling. We were them, and we’ll be them again.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️

I don’t know 🤷🏻‍♀️

As a child I recall my parents, teachers, babysitters or other adults asking me questions where my response quite often was “I don’t know.”

– Why did you shave the cat?

– Why didn’t you do your homework?

– Who ate the dog food?

– What’s wrong with you?

– How did a bowl of macaroni and tang end up in the fridge?

– What are you going to do with your life?

– Why is there a chicken sitting on the couch?

My answer to all of the above ~

– “I don’t know.”

Then their response would be;

– “I don’t know,” is not an answer.

So, I’d be forced to make up some phoney-baloney answer about why I did something or why something happened. Even though the correct answer really was “I don’t know.”

Fast forward a couple decades and this “have-to-have an answer” programming, has gotten some of us into trouble as adults. We turned into “know it alls” who were taught to always come up with an answer or at least pretend we had one.

** believe me, when we try to camouflage the fact that we don’t know; people know we don’t know.**

This behaviour can then manifest into some people believing they do know more or better than the ones who really do (when clearly they do not). They can become dismisses of the opinions, comments, or suggestions of others, they may even blurt out random facts or answer questions that haven’t been asked, to demonstrate their astute knowledge on a range of topics. And thus, a new “know it all”is born.

I was in my mid thirties by the time I realized we ain’t fooling anybody when we play the game of know-it-all. We come off as rude, smug, arrogant or flippant.

None of us have ALL the answers.

We’re not supposed too. Knowledge of our own ignorance is a sign of wisdom and growth. According to Socrates, knowing that we know nothing – is both a sign of humility and perhaps genius.

So rather than teach our children that they must have answers, let’s teach them to ask questions, to listen and gain other insights and perspective to make sure they understand. This approach may breed more tolerance, compassion, understanding, acceptance and cooperation. (and wow, our world needs more of all that right now.)

There’s a sense of freedom and vulnerability when we utter the words “I don’t know” or when we lean into another person and say;

“Can you help me figure this out”

“I don’t understand,”

“Tell me more.”

The best leaders I’ve worked for were the ones who did more listening than talking. They asked for advice, admitted when they didn’t know, we’re constantly reading, learning and sharing what they knew. These leaders surrounded themselves with people who thought differently than they did and offered different perspectives.

Its not the job of a good leader to “know it all,” it’s their job to build a tribe of diverse individuals who bring a unique experience and wisdom to the collective. We should live our daily lives the same way, appreciating those that look, think and are different than us.

I found a message I had written in the margins of my 2001 journal, ( it’s what inspired this post) It read;

“Toni you’re smart, but if you ever think you know it all, remind yourself you don’t, you have some answers, but not all of them, when you’re lost, go find the ones that do.”

I thought back on 2001 trying to remember what might have prompted me to write that down. There were no real clues in my journal entry, so, the truth is “I don’t know.”

Love Toni 🌹❤️

**because I know you’re dying to know; The chicken (which turned out to be a rooster) was sitting on the couch because my younger sister had kidnapped it from school to save the poor thing from becoming a dissection project. 🐔❤️

Let’s not wait till we die, to love, appreciate and honour each other.

As I get older, the frequency in which I receive news that a friend, acquaintance, colleague, neighbour or family member has passed away, increases.

When we, or someone we know, loses a loved one, the realization that our time here is temporary comes sharply into focus.

Each loss moves us to scour the cracks that separate our days, making sure we didn’t miss an opportunity to say;
“I love you”,
“I miss you”,
“I’m sorry.”
“Can I help.”

We look back on that last conversation and our last moments together and replay what we wish we had said or done.

Then, we “what if” ourselves, asking questions like;
“What if I had been there?”
“What if I hadn’t been so angry during our last conversation?”
“What if I had reached out?”
“What if we had spent more time together?” …….would things have turned out differently?

We waste so much time and energy, being “busy”, angry, negative, stubborn, dismissive, judgmental, stuck or offended.

“What If” we set our egos aside and let kindness, compassion, gratitude and love be our guides? Then perhaps when it’s time to say goodbye, we will not lament, but celebrate and give thanks for the pleasure of sharing time with the ones we loved and lost.

It’s the impermanence of life that should make every waking breath a cherished event. We should savour every beautiful, simple, pleasure and every ordinary moment shared with those we love.
Every child’s laugh and every story retold by our elders for the umpteenth time, should fill us with warmth and delight.

Let’s spend more time holding the ones we love as we marvel at the explosion of colour created as the sun rises and sets. Let our hearts be moved by the power in every stormy sky or the magic in each twinkling star and rainbow above.

Lets hold each other in reverence every day for being the amazing, unique, miracles we all are.

Let’s not wait until we die, to love, appreciate and honour each other.
Let’s do it while we’re still here.

Don’t be afraid to get lost

Don’t be afraid
to get lost,

We’re not meant
to stay in
one place.

We’re meant
to roam, to go
on big adventures,

to discover
amazing things
about ourselves
and our world,

to meet people
with different
perspectives
and ideas,

to trip, fall and
get back up,

to make a few
wrong turns
and get lost,

all so we can find
our way home again.

So, Go – Get – Lost.

TO’K~🌹❤️

Organic Therapy ~

When you seek respite
from a noisy mind,
or a noisy world,
go to the forest.

She will welcome you in
and never ask you to leave.

She will embrace you and
offer you sanctuary.

She will listen, comfort you
and calm your tired soul.

She will not judge
or ask you why you came.

She will allow you to sit quietly
and just breathe.

And sometimes,
that’s all we need.

TO’K~🌹❤️

Stop worrying so much about do little ~

Beautiful friend.
Stop worrying so much about so little.

Don’t worry about the ones that left you behind, be grateful for the ones who are still by your side.

Don’t worry about promises not kept or plans that didn’t work out. They weren’t supposed to, they weren’t meant for you.

Don’t worry about the past or be angry, jealous or spiteful about days gone by. Be grateful for the lessons and move on.

What hurt you yesterday, has already begun to heal today. If yesterday didn’t go exactly as you hoped, today the slate is clean, you get to start over.

We’re all magical, messy, mixed up little souls painting lives that are constantly works in progress. So, my beautiful friend, stop being so hard on yourself and stop worrying so much, about so little.

Be gentle with yourself today and every day.
Just relax you messy little soul, just relax.
TO’K~ 🌹❤️

Pain can be a beautiful teacher~

We learn more during life’s painful moments and challenges, than we learn in our moments of glory.

Each stabbing ache, each crushing disappointment, each heartbreak, every loss or painful fall from grace, allows us an opportunity to grow and become stronger.

Whether it’s emotional or physical; pain forces us to slow down, rest and take the time we need to heal.

Getting knocked down isn’t always a bad thing. Pain can leave us humbled, wiser and more patient. It allows us to lower our veil, be vulnerable, more tolerant and compassionate towards the pain we see or even cause, in others.

Sometimes pain itself is the cure for the things in life that hurt us; as it slows us down long enough to evaluate what and who is important.

When pain knocks on your door, let it in, sit with it. Let it show you what it wants you to see, to learn or to grow into.

Pain always, ALWAYS, brings with it opportunities for transformation. Opportunities to wrap yourself in your cocoon, and when you’re ready, to emerge with greater clarity about who you are, what’s important, why you’re here and how you want to live, love, play and BE.

Pain can be a beautiful teacher. Don’t waste your pain on “the pain” use this opportunity as a stepping stone to chart the next chapter of your journey.

Your pain will hurt you, it will also help, heal and lead you.

TO’K ~ 🌹❤️

Your words have weight. Exercise them carefully.~

I dislike and rarely use, the term “The truth hurts.” because, it doesn’t always have to.

Even when we convey disappointing or unpleasant information, we can still use words to reassure, comfort, support, show empathy, motivate, inspire, educate or encourage optimism.

In a world where it’s easy to use multiple mediums to fire off messages filled with emotional backlash and sometimes dire consequences, we need to choose our words carefully.

It’s not always “the truth” that hurts, it can be the mis-truths, the half truth, the lies, the mean spirited intent behind the words or how a message is delivered, that hurts.

Your words can break a spirit or save it, bring light to someones day or shroud it in darkness, can lift someone up or tear them down, can soften a heart or make it cold, deliver tears of joy or tears of sorrow, can influence opinion and evoke emotion.

Our words are little bullets. On average, most of us fire off approximately 7000 of them every single day. (OK some of us may use a few more than that😊)

When eloquently strung together those 26 little letters (if you speak English) can make up words that move us to create, laugh, cry and touch one another in the most profound ways.

Before you speak or send a message ask yourself; have I been kind? have I been sensitive? is the information true? is the information even necessary?

Then ask yourself “Will my words cause pain or discomfort?” If they will, ask yourself how you can be supportive, inspire or encourage optimism, healing and growth?

It’s equally important to be cautious with your silence. Our words when left unspoken, can be just as powerful. The things we do not say or do not ask or do not explore, can send messages indicating we do not care, we’re not interested or we’ve given up. Words left unspoken sometimes create a void others fill with assumptions. Most often, incorrect assumptions.

Other times your silence is exactly what the situation calls for. It says I’m not going to engage in what might be an emotionally charged setting. So rather than using your words, it might be best to listen compassionately to the words of others.

Your words both spoken and unspoken belong to you. Before you fire them off or keep them locked in your holster, consider the impact and the consequences of each powerful bullet.

No work-out routine, diet program, steroid, or sizeable muscle mass will give you more power than the weight your words.
Exercise them carefully.

Toni O’Keeffe~🌹❤️

Allowing yourself and others to change and grow

I was listening (okay I was ease dropping) on a conversation the other day.

Two women were chatting about a common “friend”who is constantly changing.

“She can’t stay in one place,” one of them said. “She has changed jobs four or five times since I’ve known her,” the other one commented in that rolling her eyes tone of voice.

I heard phrases like;

“Get her act together,”

“Stick with one relationship,”.

“Her bohemian phase,” and

“She needs to decided if she’s Buddhist, an atheist or something different.”

Hmm, their “friend” sounds a bit like me in my late 30’s.

It appeared they believed those who are constantly changing are somehow broken.

I have a completely different perspective.

I believe we should be constantly changing.

You’re allowed to change your mind or shift your perspective. Especially when it comes to the big stuff. That’s how we grow.

The knowledge, experience and insights we acquire over the course of our lives SHOULD shape and change us.

My God, if I was still living my life based on the insights and experience of my 12 year old self, I’d be a hot mess of jellybeans, acne and mood swings, guided by my crush on Bobby Sherman and a desire to grow boobs.

Like everything on the planet, we’re supposed to change. Those little seeds we come from are supposed to take root, grow, blossom and then we shed our leaves (aka Feng~shui your life) rest, and start all over again and again and maybe again.

You don’t have to stay in a particular mind set, job, relationship or community if it no longer feels right. When we change our mind, shed old thinking and outdated perspectives, it means we’re thinking, pondering and working our brain muscles. It means we’re growing and creating the space for new adventures, new relationships and new opportunities.

I hope you allow yourself to constantly change and grow. And, along the way you let go of the attitudes, beliefs and people that no longer give you life. If you can’t, at least don’t judge the ones that are.

Toni O’K~🌹❤️

Follow your joy.

If what you’re doing, what you have, where you’re at or who you spend your time with, doesn’t bring you joy ~ give yourself permission to let it go.

If finding joy seems hard because you have a mortgage to pay, a family to support, educational goals you want to achieve or you’re caring for someone, change your perspective and find joy in these things and where these things and people will lead you.

If you can’t change your current circumstances you can still;

  • Make self care a priority. There is no one who is more important and worthy of self care than you, no one.
  • Stop worrying and overthinking, it serves no purpose. It takes as much energy to focus on what’s right in your life, as it takes to focus on what’s wrong. However, the affect of focusing on what’s right can have a huge positive benefit on your physical, spiritual and mental well being.
  • Nurture yourself in nature. Learn to be still beside the ocean, in a forest, or sitting on top of a rocky bluff. Listen to the peacefulness and bring calm into your life.
  • Avoid being drawn into other peoples drama/conflict.
  • Manage the internal dialogue in your head. We tell ourselves stories about ourselves that are just not true. Stories such as “I’ll always be alone.” “I’m going to be in pain my entire life.” “I’ll never get fit.” “I’ll always be poor.” “I won’t be happy until this situation changes.” Change the story you tell yourself about yourself.
  • Make plans to do something you’ve always wanted to do, even if that something is still off in the future.
  • Try spending less $ on “stuff” and spend more time making memories and having experiences.
  • Interact with positive uplifting people.
  • Take a break from media and tune into a comedy channel instead.
  • Purge stuff; sell, donate or get rid of things that no longer serve you and your life.
  • Say goodbye to toxic people and relationships.
  • Stop being offended by every little damn thing. You’re not responsible for how others behave or why they do the things they do. So stop being judgmental or worrying that others may judge you. We’re not all on the same path, we’re not supposed to be.
  • Get moving. Physical activity to the degree you’re able, can; improve your memory and brain function, help manage chronic pain, assist in weight management, lower blood pressure and improve heart health, improve your quality of sleep, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression and, reduce “life fatigue”.
  • Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Focus on the things in your life that do bring you joy; the ones you love, your pets, your garden, a sunset, creating art, the first sip of coffee as you start your day, a ride along a stretch of open highway, your cozy pillow ( I love my pillow), kissing the lips of someone you love.

Life can feel like a “whack-a-mole game” with crazy, unpleasant circumstances popping up in unexpected places. You can still be happy, and you can still whack those things with a big smile on your face😁.

If where you’re at now is hard, find joy in knowing these challenging days will be behind you one day. You’ll look back on your struggle and be proud that you were strong and got through it.

When I look back over my life, its not the stuff or the pay cheques that brought me joy, it’s simple pleasures and precious moments that have always lifted me up.

You have more power over your current situation than perhaps you realize. Use this power to grow into the best version of yourself by following your joy.

Wishing you a happy, zenny, joyful, sunshine and lollipops kind of day☀️🍭 🤗

Love Toni ~ 🌹❤️