You can only grow into who you’re meant to be.

By Toni O’Keeffe

Once upon a time there were three little bulbs planted side-by-side in a magnificent garden.

Slowly they began to wake. Their shoots began to break through the earth. Two of the bulbs were tulips, the other, a daffodil.

As they began to grow, the tulips turned to the daffodil and said “Your stem is too thin you must make it thicker to look like ours.”

The little daffodil tried to make her stem the same thickness as the tulips. She couldn’t and she became sad.

As the petals begin to develop on each of the flowers the tulips looked to the daffodil again and said, “No, your petals must be red.”

The little yellow daffodil tried to make her petals red, but she couldn’t, and she felt even worse about herself. She didn’t understand why she was different.

The tulips demanded that her petals be wider and turn upward like theirs but the little daffodils petals reached outward and resembled the sun, beautiful and yellow.

As the three bulbs grew the tulips ignored the little daffodil because she was not like them.

One warm spring day a little girl wearing a Santa hat came up to smell the daffodil.
“Why am I different,” the daffodil asked the little girl, “Why can’t I be like them?”

“You’re not supposed to be like them.
You’re supposed to be like you. The garden would be boring and plain if all the flowers looked the same. I think you’re beautiful as you are, that’s why I choose to come over and gaze at you.”

This made the little daffodil smile. She now felt proud and happy that she was different.

You, me, each of us, can only grow into whom we’re meant to be. Love the bits of yourself that resemble nothing you’ve ever seen before.
Yes, even your weird beautiful bits.

Toni O’K~ 🌹 ❤️

Don’t Just Count your Blessings, Live them.

By Toni O’Keeffe

December 8, 2020

I woke this morning with a warm puppy snuggled into the nape of my neck. This tiny bundle of caramel coloured fur always makes me smile. As I scratched his belly, I heard the click of my coffee maker come on and smiled again, proud I had remembered to set the timer.

I wandered to the kitchen, poured a cup, turned on the fireplace, settle into my favourite chair with puppy in my lap, took that first bless’ed sip, and listened to the silence fall around me.

Most mornings start this way, calm, peaceful and reflective.

There was a time when my life was busy and noisy. I didn’t always appreciate the colours of the day, or have the time to slowly sip my coffee and gaze out the window.

Decades were spent on the move, hustling my boys to and from day-care, school, sports, and other activities. Bouncing between work, community services and my own educational pursuits, always busy, always rushing, always something to do, somewhere to go or someone waiting for something.

The “busy stuff” is the means needed to build our lives, but, the busy stuff doesn’t define our lives. It’s the simple beautiful moments that bring us joy and give meaning to the journeys we’re on.

Moments watching a child fall asleep in your lap because that’s where they feel safe, moments making messes and allowing pumpkin guts to fall on the floors and get stuck in your hair because they’re having fun, moments spent with two little guys on a skip-out day appreciating the wonder and silence of the forest or sitting in an open field, feeling content watching birds glide on the wind.

Then, there’s the quiet morning moments, when all the busy is behind you, those two little guys are grown and now its a puppy falling a sleep in your lap.

We need a balance of busy days and days when we’re able to just “be”. Days when we don’t just count our blessings, we live them, being fully present, taking in all the magic and meaning they bring. Because these are the days we will remember, these are the moments that will warm our hearts for ALL THE DAYS of our lives.

Don’t let life’s storms rain on your peace-of-mind

By Toni OKeeffe

November 18,2020

As we begin the slow descent out of the dark clouds of 2020, and prepare to launch a new year, things are still not right with the world.

Covid continues to wreak havoc across the planet and is now way to close to home. Election chaos continues to play out for our friends in the south. There is civil unrest breaking out in several countries around the world. Wind and rainstorms are keeping people hunkered. Christmas is pretty much cancelled and there will be no fancy festivities to ring in 2021.

People are out of work, many businesses have shut down, we can’t travel, and we miss our families and friends. Add to that, many of us haven’t touched another human in months, haven’t gone to a concert, a play, a restaurant or a celebration, wedding, birthday or graduation for almost a year.

However, amidst all the chaos, I’m still happy, really happy. My spirit is light, my heart is settled and my mind is peaceful. I find multiple reasons to smile or laugh out loud every day. My inner child is as goofy and playful as she has ever been. I’m truly grateful for this life despite what’s going on around me and the rest of the world.

This feeling of contentment is proof (for me) that happiness comes from the inside.
No matter what is going on around us, we still have the capacity to feel joy and be grateful.
What happens inside us, not outside us, is what regulates our happiness meter.
In my case, having hobbies, exercising daily, eating right, meditating, spending time in nature and engaging in creative activities, all fuel my sense of positivity and well-being.

This sense of happiness and well-being doesn’t mean I’m not affected by what’s happening around me and the people I love and the world, of course I am. It means I won’t let it unravel me or get me down, because that serves no purpose.

When the weather outside is turbulent, we generally seek shelter from the wind, rain and the cold by coming inside and creating a cozy internal retreat. When the world around you is turbulent, seek shelter from the chaos by creating a cozy, peaceful place in your mind.
You can do this by engaging in positive and creative activities, practicing gratitude, staying physically active, being kind and carrying out random acts of kindness, celebrating small successes, eliminating toxic people, toxic media content and toxic substances from your life. Read uplifting information and listen to uplifting music.
Make your mental wellness your first priority.

Life’s storms can not rain on your peace of mind, unless you let them.
Don’t let them.

Toni O’K~ 🌹❤️

A Walk in the woods

For Jackie K

By Toni O’Keeffe

October 19, 2020

When I seek answers, I retreat into the sanctuary of my thoughts. The route I take is often along a soft earthy path that leads me into the woods.

Once I enter the sanctum and stillness of the forest, the smell of autumn rain upon fallen leaves and moss-covered logs, fill my entire being with peace. My breathing slows and my steps soften.

Tall cedar and fir defenders having stood for hundreds of years, blanket me from the wind and shield me from the noise of the outside world.

Now I’m free to dream, to let my inner child loose and allow her to run free with the magic of her imagination.

Mushroom caps become hovels to small gnome like creatures, dragonflies and other winged insects transform to become fairies and elves dancing on tree branches, sprinkling dew drops on to the tips of the forest foliage below.

Rays of light stream in between lush fern, foxgloves and trillium petals creating the highway pixies, brownies and imps tiptoe upon as they move through the woodlands.

The hidden faces within giant boulders protecting the river bank, emerge and keep watch over all living things that come to sit and heal by the water’s edge.

As my inner child explores the forest and creates her own magic, my mind rests, my body heals and my spirit connects to her highest self and then, the answers come.

Most of our lives we’re busy moving fast and making noise. Allow yourself to stop, to walk quietly on the earth and trust the voice rising out of the stillness. This is the voice of your soul gifting you with the wisdom you seek.

If you’re struggling, seeking answers or want to spend time with your “real” self, go to forest, exhale and take a walk in the woods.

Toni O’Keeffe

You’re allowed to stop

By Toni O’Keeffe

You’re allowed to stop,
to rest,
to reflect,
and catch your breath.
Go find your sanctuary amongst the trees, under the stars, next to the lull of moving water or in a field of wild flowers or tall soft grass.
Somewhere tranquil, uncluttered, and away from the noise, where you can surrender to the sound of your soul whispering all that she wants you to know.
You’re allowed to step away from everything that ails you and everything and everyone that demands something from you. You don’t have to explain why, you may not even know why.
Give yourself permission to take a break from all of it and drown yourself in peace.
It’s in this peacefulness that the answers will come.

Toni O’K~ 🌹❤️

Stop making so much noise

By Toni O’Keeffe

We’re all so busy making noise we can’t hear the sage whispers of truth flowing from our whimsy, tired souls.

We need PEACE, We need PAUSE, We need QUIET.

When we’re busy being loud, spewing anger, hating, judging, mocking or insulting others for who they are or how they live their lives, we’re really reflecting our own fears, low self-esteem, ignorance and insecurities back into the world.

We need to be at peace with ourselves before we can be at peace with the rest of the world. Hate, anger, jealousy, greed, or the desire to control or change others is a reflection of what’s broken inside each of us.

At the heart of every human being, is a soul wanting to live peacefully, wanting to love and be loved. At our very core that’s who we are.
That’s who YOU really are.

If we want to fix our shattered little world, we have to stop making so much noise. We have to stop asking others to change. Individually, WE have to change. We have to change the way we look at ourselves and how we accept each other.

This little shit storm we have going on across the planet, is ridiculous and can be fixed. We’ve all been given a huge time out to go back into our corners and look inward. We’re wasting the opportunity.

If we don’t learn the lessons from this period in our history, I believe the next wave of this global “punch-to-the-gut” will be more painful than anything we’ve ever felt before. It might be a full-blown knock out.

Our souls know how to get along. Their trying to tell us to take care of one another, to be kind, loving and compassionate, all we need is the will. The problem is, we’re not all listening.

So let’s all stop making so much noise and listen to what the universe and our soul are telling us.

Really, let’s all shut the “F” up, close our eyes, inhale peace, exhale gratitude and start listening. I say that with a heart filled with love for every single one of you,
Love Toni

Rest your weary soul

By Toni O’Keeffe

I know you’re tired.
So rest your weary soul
and surrender the day.
Drown in the misty
glow of the moon.
Inhale the sweetness
of raindrops,
exhale the sweetness
of peace.
Allow the twinkle
of tiny stars to
calm your mind
and the warmth
of summer wind
to lull you into
peaceful slumber.
Like you,
the world is tired,
and like you,
she’s still beautiful.

Wishing you
Sweet and
Peaceful dreams.