Pandemic Laughter

March 30, 2020

By Toni O’Keeffe

I am amazed at how immature I have become during this global pandemic.
I’ve been spending my days eating snacks, playing dress up with my dog, laughing at a litany of silly dog videos, lounging in the same clothes for days, watching way too much TV, FaceTiming girlfriends and laughing about the most ridiculous things.
I’ve become the sloppy 12 year old kid I used to yell at to go clean “his” room on a Saturday afternoon.
Does this mean that I think this pandemic is a joke? Absolutely not.
On the inside, I have never been so scared for humanity.
On the days I have to go out without a mask, without gloves, without hand sanitizer to pick up medications and supplies for my mom, I’ve been scared. As I stand in ridiculously long (but very quiet) lineups, I’m worried someone is going to cough or sneeze on me, it’s all a bit surreal.

I’m grateful to those that go into the world to work every day putting themselves at risk so we can get groceries, medications and supplies. I’m equally thankful to the ones taking care of our most vulnerable citizens, including those taking care of my my Mom. And, my niece Shannon who’s taking care the children at her childcare centre and my neice Moira who is taking care of the employees on her construction site as their safety officer.

As I watch the news, my thoughts and heart are always with my colleagues, family and friends in the healthcare system that are working hard and diligently to get us through this. I’m scared for them and their families. I have silently prayed for their well being and wept for the fear I know they face every day.
For many of us, being silly and seeking out humour, even craving it, is a coping mechanism. It’s what we have to do.
A study done at Stanford university shows that humour is a more effective coping strategy than being solemn or sad. Projecting humor is healthier than cynicism, as cynicism can lead to depression and weakness or entire immune system.

To those that get offended by the silliness and nonsense showing up on your news feed, now is a good time to get over it and try to understand it.

To those craving humour right now, know that your desire to seek out the silly, the nonsensical or the hilarious during such a difficult time is normal and healthy for your mind, body and soul.

Laughter is like a lantern, it doesn’t eliminate the darkness, it gets us through it.
If we can find the light, the laughter, the love and the patience, during difficult times, we are heading in the right direction.

Big love ( and lots of laughter) to you all❤️🤪

Sorry we’re closed!

March 17, 2020

By Toni O’Keeffe

So here we are, living in times that resemble the script for a Hollywood blockbuster movie that no one ever dreamt could come to life. Tom Hanks even had a supporting role.

Mother Nature wants her planet back and perhaps Covid19 is a call-to-action from her to us.

As Covid19 slaps the “Sorry we’re closed” sign across the globe, and we lock down, shut down, self isolate and socially distance ourselves from one another, families are gathering around the kitchen table (some for the first time in awhile) to sort out, what’s next?

We’re being forced to rethinking how and where we live, learn, work, play and, how we take care of one another and the planet (which BTW is our only home).

Before Covid19 stormed onto the scene, humanity couldn’t get our environmental act together. Despite a huge global outcry to address climate change and poor environmental performance, very little has changed. So mother nature has stepped in to take over. World leaders could never have mobilized to bring the world together and clean up the way this virus has.

As factories, industry and businesses shut down and people stay off the roads, out of the sky, off the rails(no pun intended), off the seas, and toxins are removed from the air, we see blue skies emerging over parts of the world that haven’t seen blue sky for decades.

As people stay home, out of stadiums, arenas, bars, restaurants and retail outlets, we are consuming less, buying less and discarding less. While the pandemic is making human beings sick, it is giving the planet a chance to heal.

Although early behaviours of hoarding and price gouging surfaced, global citizens quickly reacted with outrage and pushed back. We are starting to take care of one another in ways that perhaps we don’t always do. We are checking in on our vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours. Families are reconnecting. Parents are off their work phones and playing with their children, and as we saw in Italy, Spain and Amsterdam, people are making beautiful music together.

During this crisis people are figuring out how to work and learn from home. Employers are becoming more flexible and retailers are rethinking their supply chains, especially international supply chains. Imagine how we could reduced our environmental footprint if we kept some of these practices in place after Covid19 moves on?

A post I read earlier this week talked about this being a time to pause and reset. I agree. This is a time for business, industry, governments, families and citizens to do things differently.

Unfortunately there has been loss of life resulting from Covid19 and my heart aches for those families. I know the anguish of that loss and its horrible. Others have lost income, work, time in the classroom, surgeries have been cancelled. It’s been hard.

There has also been beautiful acts of grace and a commitment to one another. The efforts of our healthcare system have been extraordinary.
Those involved in transporting goods and services, and those involved in our food chain supply are hero’s. There are teachers doing online tutorials for students while schools are closed. Arts, cultural and entertainment venues are streaming plays, performances and concerts for free to keep people occupied during this crisis.

These acts are positive signs that as a human race we have it in us to be kind, compassionate and loving to each other. At our core this is who we are. Somewhere along the path of human evolution in the busyness of being human, we lost our way, this is an opportunity to find ourselves again.

There is now a generation of children that are bearing witnessed to and will remember what happened during Covid19. As they grow into our worlds leaders, CEOs of large corporations, healthcare professionals, teachers and others, they will remember these days. They will develop practices and learning to mitigate events like this in the future. They will remember how problems were solved and solved quickly.

Maybe a pandemic was what the world needed, to slow us down, to bring us to our knee, to allow us to look at ourselves differently and evaluate how and where we live, learn, work, play and protect our planet.

Out of the darkness comes light.
And I believe there will be an explosion of light at the end of this pandemic. We’re already beginning to see it shine.
Toni O’K ~🌹❤️

What have you painted yourself into?

By Toni O’Keeffe

March 10, 2020

Our souls do not arrive on earth with titles, tags or associations. We do not arrive as Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jewish or atheist.

These “words” are most often painted on us the moment we’re born.

We do not arrive with ideals about liberalism, conservatism or socialism, we adopt these ideals from the elders around us.

Our souls have no race, no colour, no gender, no social status or financial portfolio, we show up as pure love and all we know is love and trust, that’s it.

Then based on the family and community we’re born into, additional layers of judgement and belief are painted on us.

We passively accept these belief systems and obey the “agreed to norms” despite what our soul feels is right.

These judgements and beliefs create the illusion that we are separate from some and united with others. These judgements are the root of most of the world’s conflict.

The truth is, we’re not separate, we are apart of the same family and race. The human race.

You can wash away those “ words” and layers of judgement that have been painted on you at any time.

When little people come into our lives and ask “what are we or what am I” (often referring to religion and race) tell them they are kindness, compassion and LOVE. Let them know they are a part of one big human family. Then tell them about their religious and ethnic origins within that great big beautiful family. Over time let them decide how they “paint” themselves.

At our very core, the thing we all come into the world as and with is LOVE. Be that, that’s who you really are. Paint love across your life and see what follows.

Love Toni ~🌹❤️

PS; Now before the grammar police swoop in, LOVE is both a noun and a verb in my whimsey little world~ ‘cause that’s how I roll.

Toni O’K ~ 🌹❤️

Let the little things ground you.

By Toni O’Keeffe

March 9, 2020

It’s easy to loose track of the beautiful and magnificent little things that keep our lives grounded. Things like;
~ Having a conversation with an enlightened four year old,
~ Melting into the arms of the one you love,
~ Your child or grandchild reaching up to hold your hand,
~ Wandering through a flower garden,
~ Sunrises, sunsets and starry nights,
~ The sound of raindrops lulling you to sleep,
~ The first bite of you favourite dessert,
~ Time spent with people that are good for your soul,
~ Sipping a great cup of coffee, next to the ocean, as the sound of waves wash your worries away,
~ Smiling at a stranger and watching them smile back at you,
~ Unplanned moments that become beautiful memories,
~ Popcorn, your favourite movie and no interruptions,
~ Rays of sunlight that illuminate the spaces between the trees in a forest,
~ Furry friends that like to snuggle as much as you do,
~ Laughing,
~ The crackle and smell of a camp fire.
~ Falling asleep knowing you and your family are well and safe.

When the big things in life become too big and the busyness of your days is overwhelming, anchor your heart and focus your thoughts on the little things. After all, these are the things that matter, the things that bring us joy and give this human adventure purpose and bring our lives to life💕.

Toni O’K~ 🌹❤️

Set yourself free~

By Toni O’Keeffe

March 8, 2020

I hope you can arrive at a place one day where you will forgive everyone that has ever caused you pain. That you stop plotting revenge and stop asking why things and people hurt you.
How people treat us is never about us, it’s almost always about them and their own pain.
It doesn’t matter what people have done to you in the past, it’s how you choose to embed the lessons they brought you in the present.
~ xo
Toni O’K~ 🌹❤️

Remember who you really are.

By Toni O’Keeffe

March 5, 2020

Sometimes, you have to stop being an adult and step outside the swirl of your own grown-up head and let the child in you take over for a while.

Your soul deserves a break from the pressure, chaos, fear and busyness that surrounds you and the world. You deserve to laugh, to be silly, be a goof, to play and just chill.

I hope you create some time and space this weekend to colour, to dance, play the ukulele, build a campfire, jump on a skateboard, jump on a bike, eat three cans of beans just to see what happens, lick peanut butter off the knife, play dress up😉, make slime or surrender your inhibitions and howl at the moon.

You inner child is calling, go spend some time with that perfect, awesome, little soul and remember who you really are.

Toni O’K❤️🌹

Don’t wish your hard times away.

By Toni O’Keeffe

March 4, 2020

Don’t ever wish your hard times away.
All those wrong turns, bad choices,
failures and falls from grace, these things
weren’t wrong, bad or failures at all.
They were the stepping stones along a path that was meant just for you. A path that helped you grow stronger, wiser and led you closer to your purpose.
Celebrate and be grateful that you survived these things, forgive yourself, love yourself and move on.

Toni O’K~🌹❤️

Deviate from the norm.

By Toni O’Keeffe

February 29, 2020

From the day we’re born we start learning and consuming information from our parents, other family members, our church, school, political system and society.

Based on this learning we start to form opinions, start to believe in things, we structure our lives, make commitments to people and things all based on what we’ve been taught. We become chained to the beliefs and information that has been ingrained in us.

Then something happens. We grow and evolve and we start to question what we’ve been taught to believe. But we’re afraid to break rank, so the majority of us continue to follow, often blindly.

It doesn’t make sense to stay anchored or aligned to doctrines written hundreds years ago by old white men whose objective was to keep people in “check”. Whether these were religious or political doctrines or societal laws; we’ve changed, the world has changed, so it makes sense that our thinking and behaviour should change.

Technology, scientific research, learning from other cultures, new discoveries and our collective human experience would imply a change of well, a lot of things. Things such as how we treat each other, how we treat the planet, how we treat animals, where we get our food from, how we work, play and worship and, how and where we learn, need to be examine and challenged. Kudos to those that are leading change in all these areas.

Of course there is lots of old world wisdom that does still fits into today’s world. For example; we need to continue to our exercise our capacity to be kind, compassionate and loving to all living things. We need to cooperate as a human society. We should strive to be our best and use the gifts we’ve been given.

When I think of people like; Nelson Mandela, Sojourner Truth , Rosa Parks, Gloria Steinem, Ruth Bader Ginsburg , Colin Kaepernick, even Harry and Megan and so many more, …. I think of change agents, or soldiers of transformation. These people broke rank because they knew something was wrong.

If you wanna’ change the world, I mean really change the world; then stop following the pack, stop conforming to peer and family pressure, stop agreeing with things you don’t agree with for the sake of getting along.

You don’t have to follow the party line or behave or think the way your religious or political leaders tell you to. Challenge the status quo, challenge those things that make you crazy and make you shake your head and say “that’s messed up.”

Go out there and shake up somebody’s thinking – chart your own course and carve out your own path. Don’t be afraid to change, its part of our growth.

Todays normal is what has f’d- up the world. The world needs more free thinkers and creative problem solvers. The world needs all of us to live our truth and unlearn the things that are hurting our planet and everything on it.

“ Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible”~ Frank Zappa.

TO’K~🌹💕

When is it time!

How long do you wait before you stop the madness and chaos that surrounds you, and start to live and enjoy your life on your terms?

Do you wait until;

~ you have enough money?

~ you retire?

~ your kids are out of the house?

~ you find somebody to share your life with?

~ you leave the person you currently share your life with?

~ you have a bigger house?

~ you have a smaller house?

~ you lose the weight?

~ you’re no longer afraid?

Maybe the time is now.

Maybe it’s time to stop waiting, planning, organizing, saving, hustling, talking and start doing.

Most often life does not go according to the plans we make. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

There are so many roads to travel, paths to explore, adventures to be had, places to discover and so many interesting, amazing, beautiful people to spend time with and love.

It’s crazy, that we wait until we’re sometimes 60, 65, 70 or 75 before we unchain ourselves and start living the way we’ve always dreamt of living.

Maybe its time to set yourself free, start doing and going and BEING now.

Yes, maybe it’s Time.

I wish you Love

By Toni O’Keeffe

February 13, 2020

Valentines day brings with it warm thoughts of romantic love, candy hearts, bouquets of roses tied up with lace, softly lite restaurants filled with couples sipping champagne and nibbling chocolate dipped strawberries off the tips of each other’s fingers.

While this might describe the Hallmark ideal of a perfect valentine’s day, most of us will not experience it this way – at all.

Some will dart to the drug store on the way home from the office in hopes of finding a card with something that “adequately” describes how they feel about their beloved partner. They might also pick up a couple scratch and win tickets and a bag of liquorice(because all the chocolate is gone) to add weight to their claim that some thought went in to expressing their feelings on this, “the day of love”

Some will spend all day preparing oysters and braised Lamb Shanks from “the Seduction Cookbook”, set their table with the best china, red linen and light the cinnamon candles they got last Christmas in hopes of re-igniting a spark that will lead to a romantic tryst with the one they love.

Others, okay moi, will sit at home, curled up with our favorite pets, watching hallmark movies and eating frozen pizza or tuna out of a can. And, I’m okay with that.

Regardless of how you spend your Valentine’s Day, my wish for you is that you do reflect on love. Not just romantic love, but a love for all things and all people, a love that is kind, authentic, brings you joy and extends beyond a single day each year.

I wish you a love that allows you to feel safe and secure in who you are and inspires you to grow into the best version of yourself. A love that celebrates soul-to-soul connections with no expectations only an enduring appreciation, acceptance, respect and admiration for the beautiful, perfect and unique soul that you are.

If you have found the one that sets your heart on fire, makes butterflies dance in your chest and stars shine in your eyes, hold them close and give thanks for the gift of this love every single day.

For those still in search of an epic love, I hope you find the kindred flame, the one that will settle your soul, captivate your mind, make your body tingle and your heart sing.

Most of all, I wish you a love of self, where you see yourself as worthy and deserving of all that is beautiful and good. A love that allows you to be kind and gentle with your heart and spirit as you fully surrender to this amazing journey of life that you are on. Yes, that’s the kind of love I wish you – not just today or on Valentines day, but every day.

Alright I’ve got big decisions to make.

Tuna? Pizza? Hmm, Pizza with tuna?

Happy Valentines Day

Love

Toni ~🌹❤️