I don’t mean to throw anyone off – it IS Friday today! (Yay – go ahead and keep TGIF’ing!) I’ve just been caught up in Spring Break over here and then had a little technical difficulty last night. But all is well, and I am happy to be linking up with Pink Chai Living, The Write Balance and Love Laugh Mirch to talk about 3 things that are on my mind this week. If you’re a blogger and want to link up, I think the linky is still good for a few days so do check it out! And have a read on the other bloggers’ sites!

This week, I am highlighting the 3 pillars of my blog, and the crux of my business. Let ME Out!! is the intersection of creativity, kindness and authenticity (it says so right on my homepage!) and I am convinced that when we each live from this place, we are happier and healthier – and our families and communities are all the better for it. What does that intersection look like? In general, it’s when we use our creativity to make a kind difference to others and ourselves, in a way that is unique to who we are.

Life can get really busy when we let it. (Yes, I am implying that we have a choice). But checking in regularly to ensure we are making decisions based on what we truly want out of life, engaging in rituals or activities that open up our creative channels, and showing kindness to ourselves and others should be priority. In fact, doing those 3 things will only add more time and energy into your life. Who couldn’t use more time and energy?

So, without further ado, here’s how I incorporated these 3 things into my life this past week:

1. creativity 

My cousin, Nazira, and I attended a Paint Nite at the Best Western Sands Plus in downtown Vancouver on Monday night. I was so excited for this for many reasons: Nazira was my first friend and we grew up closely, in each other’s homes. We even shared a home for awhile in our teen years. And when we lived in different countries for a few years, we were pen pals. However, over time, our relationship has felt like a really long text conversation. Yuck. I’m so over texting as a primary means of communication! So, I was thrilled when she bought this groupon and basically said, we’re doing this. I was also excited because I haven’t painted under instruction since elementary school. In fact, the only painting I’ve done recently was when creating my Make-A-Wave cards, and that was more abstract backgrounds. THIS was like a FOR REAL painting. We chose calla lilies. It was supposed to be easy. I wondered how it would be easy, because it looked anything but. However, I really just wanted to get out of the house and have some one-on-one time with my cousin.

Before I do the big reveal (no, I’m not stalling, I promise…), I should mention that when I talk about creativity on my blog and elsewhere, I’m not strictly referring to the fine arts. Creativity is simply using one’s imagination to solve a problem. Problem-solving is good and we need a lot of that in this world. That’s why I encourage creativity. One of the ways we can open up our creative channels and get ideas to solve problems, is by engaging in the fine arts. (If you’re looking for 51 other ways to be more receptive to the brilliant ideas that are coming your way, may I suggest Tuesday Tasks: 52 Activities Designed for an Entire Year of Creativity?)

Ok, so here is my creatively named painting: Calla Lilies-Turned-Tulips

You guys, I had no idea what the instructor was trying to get me to do. I started off trying to do what I thought he was asking and quickly realized…I could never make my painting look like his. Not only that, but if I had tried to, it wouldn’t look like my painting either. Well, that would be silly to drive all that way to not paint my own painting! So, I didn’t do calla lilies, I did tulips. My way. And it was fun! I got over myself and the blank canvas and mixed the heck out of those primary colours. Would I do it again? You bet!

2. kindness

On Wednesday night, I met my friend Nish for dinner. Nish and I have been friends since I was 10, which makes ours my longest friendship aside from my cousins. We have been through an incredible amount of good stuff and bad stuff together and I cherish this relationship dearly. Face-to-face time kind of waned in recent years as we forged our own paths. Her path has always been downtown living, and I pretty much need my white picket fence. (Figuratively speaking). So it was beyond wonderful to enjoy a lovely sushi dinner in her neck of the woods and really catch up. It’s so different having a face to face conversation. We got to see/feel/hear the emotions, the body language. I could touch her hair and say, “You look amazing!” And we could hug each other for a long time at the end of it. Because, really, we are pre-Smartphone friends. We know what our friendship was without clipped, edited messages and we want that back.

Anyway, I thought, what can we do after we eat and chat that can incorporate some kindness to others? Well, there’s a lot one can do in downtown to show a little compassion and of course, my first thought was to buy someone a meal. Nish is a pro at this because she does this often. We saw a man, probably in his early 20’s, sitting on the sidewalk, huddled up and rocking back and forth. Nish suggested we ask him if we could buy him some Subway since there was one nearby. Here’s what made me beam: not only did Nish call him ‘sir’ and ask him if we could get him something from Subway, she also specifically asked him what type of sub he wanted and which toppings he preferred. You should have seen the look on his face, because I can’t describe it. Maybe the look was surprise, but mostly, he looked like…a human being…someone who deserved to have their dignity remain intact, no matter what situation had landed him on the streets. That’s what giving should be about: remembering that we are in a circle of giving and receiving.

For $5 each, Nish and I were able to buy this. Best feeling ever when I got to look him in the eye and say, “You’re welcome” when he accepted the meal with thanks. My teachers come in many forms.

3. authenticity

I kicked off last weekend by attending the inaugural SheTalksYVR. CNN had declared it one of the top 10 International Women’s Day must-attend events! I went because my blogger friend Jamie of Styling the Inside was speaking and it looked like something that was totally up my alley. I was so right. In a series of 8 minute talks, women from all backgrounds and experiences took the stage and shared their stories: the good, the bad and the utterly inspiring! Many of the stories moved me to tears – the good kind – and reminded me what a powerful thing it is to be living an authentic life. Because, no matter what these women shared, it all came back to making decisions based on what was right them each of them. Every single one of the 15 women who presented were simply listening to their inner voice, that sometimes tiny whisper or sometimes loud boom, that pointed them in the direction to starting non-profits, being pioneers in their field, overcoming grief through meaningful projects and so much more. Bottom line: if you want to live a life that makes you happy on the inside, you have to know who that person is inside of you – and be that person.

This intersection of creativity, kindness and authenticity feels like home to me. I love writing and speaking on these topics, and equally love hearing stories from you about how you incorporate these into your life. So, do leave a comment!



P.S. As I re-read this post before publishing, I realize how much I’ve talked about getting back to real communication (vs. digital). I’m reading a great book that I’ll be sharing with you shortly. Stay tuned!