Stay Real!

Don’t ever apologize for, or be ashamed of, the bits and pieces of you others call kooky or weird.

Honest to fricken Murphy, those kooky, weird bits are the best, most beautiful, unique pieces of you and your happy, colourful soul.

Dance your dance, sing your tunes, blaze trails, light up the sky and bedazzle your world anyway you want.

As long as you’re not hurting anyone,
spread your magic baby!

You my dear deserve to live like the
absolute masterpiece you are.

Toni O’K ~🌹❤️

Waiting

We spend our lives waiting.

Waiting in line, waiting for the right time, the right person, the right place.

Waiting for winter, for spring, for summer and then waiting for fall.

Waiting for days to be warmer, then to be colder.

Waiting for the sun to rise, for the sun to set.

Waiting until we loose weight.

Waiting for our children to arrive, to walk, to talk, to go to school, to leave and then, waiting and hoping they’ll come back home.

Waiting to find a job, waiting to find a better job, then counting the days to retirement.

Waiting until we have money, waiting until we have more money.

Waiting to do the things we’ve always wanted to do.

Waiting for somethings to begin and others to end.

Waiting to find “the one” then, to find the next “one”.
Waiting for the heartache and pain to go away.

Waiting to find ourselves and understand our purpose.

We barely remember the things we’ve been waiting for because the moment they arrive we start waiting for the next thing to show up.

As children we could hardly wait to grow up.
Then as we get older things change.
We want to slow it all down.
We want to hold on to the few precious moments we get with those we love.

We become aware of how fast it’s all gone by. We try so hard to slow it down, to be present, but it keeps moving, even faster now.

Stop waiting and just BE.
Appreciate where you’re at; even if it’s painful.
Be grateful for this moment, this time, this lesson, the joy, the sorrow, whatever it is, BE with it. Be in awe of it and the learning that comes with it.

The day will arrive when you miss where you’re at today. You will look back on the most difficult times of your life and realize these were the most important and transformational moments of your life. They set the stage for the good things that followed.

You will also look back on all those special small moments and wished you had lingered in them longer. So linger in them now.

Don’t wait it all away. BE present with it today.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~ 🌹❤️

Take time to look back to see how far you’ve come.

I love this girl.
She used to be shy, afraid of the world, and worried about what she might become.

I’d like to go back in time, give her a hug and whisper in her little ear;
“You’re perfect just as you are. There’s going to be some storms and you’ll face them. You’ll get lost now and then, but you’ll always find your way back.
Every once and awhile you’ll forget who you were meant to be, but then you’ll remember and you’ll be fine. Everything’s going to be okay.”
❤️
I’m grateful I got to be her when she grew up.
❤️
At times, life seems to inches along so slowly and you don’t realize how far you’ve come or how much you’ve grown. Then, you turn around and wow, it hasn’t inched along at all. Time has flown by. You’ve crossed oceans, navigated storms, trudged through some muck, fought some battles, have a few scars, climbed mountains, seen some breathtaking vistas, met amazing people and covered a lot of ground. And damn, you should celebrate all that.

Take time to look back, reflect and remind yourselves how far you’ve come.
You might be surprised to find, you’ve come a long, long amazing way baby.
So, Cheers to you!
🥂❤️

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. 🐔❤️

Make the memory

If they ask you to dance, to take a walk, to play, to go for coffee or ask you for advice; make the time, make the memory.

It should never be an inconvenience to
share time with those we love.

Whether it’s your partner, parent, a sibling, your child or your best friend, the day will come when one of you is gone.

When that day arrives you’ll ache for a day, an hour, or even a glance at the one you lost, or, they will be aching for you.
Life will go on for one of you, but it will never be the same.

As you read the words above, who are the people that came to mind, the ones you would ache for if your time together came to an end? Are there wounds to heal or words to say before that day arrives?
If so, heal the wounds and say the words.
Then make the memories beautiful ones.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~ 🌹❤️

The Journey

We have to step over many thresholds,
exploring both rugged and gentle terrain.
Traveling unfamiliar roads, meeting stranger after stranger until some become family and others become friends.

We must navigate the messy pathways
of human emotions, blazing trails
never walked before, having many adventures
and narrow escapes.

Then, we’ll know where we came from
and where we belong.

Toni O’KEEFFE~🌹❤️

If I could sit under a tree with my younger self I’d tell her;

You and every soul who shares this journey with you, is beautiful, unique and amazing. You’re all supposed to be different. So be yourself, love yourself, express yourself and let others do the same. It’s okay to wear two different coloured socks (and I know you want to.)

You’ve got a-lot of ground to cover, don’t waste time staying stuck, overthinking your next move, going back to old boyfriends or reliving the past. Move forward.

You’ll learn more when you listen and observe, rather than being busy making noise. My dear, you don’t know it all.

You’re going hurt some people, not on purpose, still, always apologies.
Some people will hurt you, not always on purpose, still, always forgive them.

There’s a million right ways to do something. It doesn’t have to be your way.

Your happiness is your job, nobody else’s. (However coffee, chocolate and puppies will help)

No matter what, be kind. Your kind heart and positive attitude are the most beautiful things you’ll ever wear.

When you feel stuck, go to the forest, walk around a lake, look up at the stars or sit quietly next to the ocean and, the answers will come.

You’re going to make some big mistakes. Yup, some really big ones. Be grateful, for ALL of them, even the most painful, ugly, messed up ones. Then forgive yourself, take the lessons and move on.

There’s a little bit of whimsey in you, don’t be afraid or forget, to let her out to play.

Enjoy this adventure, it won’t last long. Be curious, explore, have lots of fun and help others do the same.

When this journey is over, make sure you’ve left all your love, your words, your music, your magic, your wisdom and your gratitude out on the field for others to grow on.🌹❤️

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.