Posted by: faultlessfinish | December 18, 2013

Gifting Words

“Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don’t quite know how to put our love into words.” – Harlan Miller

I might possibly be the world’s worst gift giver. Every year I intend to find my family members the perfect gifts to reflect their personalities and tastes. And inevitably …

“Hope you like the wine and gift card!”

Sigh. To make up for sub-par gifts, I put a bit more thought into the cards and strive for the perfect blend of humour and mushy affection. When I sat down to write Christmas cards for my friends this year though, I was a bit stumped. I couldn’t help feeling that I’d said everything before. Then I came across Harlan Miller’s quotation, and the proverbial lightbulb came on. Of course I’d said everything before. I’ve loved the close people in my life for years, and often tell them how I feel.

There are only so many ways to put love into words, but that should never stop us from trying. Because while I’m a big believer in actions speaking louder than words, there’s nothing quite like hearing how much you mean to someone, especially this time of year.

A big Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to all of you – now go shower someone you love with words of affection. Go.

Thanks for all your love and support! See you in the new year.

Namaste :)

Rachel

Siblings2

Christmas Past. Sorry siblings, don’t hate me.

 

Posted by: faultlessfinish | December 10, 2013

Connected Detachment

While away last month, I “re-remembered” the importance of downtime (which in Europe included ample time for sitting and writing and eating croissants, pizza, pasta, gelato – which now means making ample time to put on the running shoes), so I’m now making a deliberate effort to meditate every morning.

During a yoga class this week, the instructor asked us to sit in silence for a few minutes and clear the mind of thoughts. “When a thought comes up,” she explained, “try to view it as an outside observer would, separate from your own mind. Then let it go. Release it.” I’ve heard this advice many times in meditation sessions, but that day, the prompt resonated with me.

A month away from everything I knew meant a lot of time spent in my own brain. And while I was able to “get to know” myself on an entirely different level, I also learned that too much time in your own head can get you tangled up in a mess of thoughts that aren’t necessarily helpful.

That’s where the detachment comes in.

When a negative, stressful, or otherwise unpleasant thought pops into your head, it’s important not to identify with it. By this I mean don’t let it become a part of you or define who you are. Instead, acknowledge it – it’s real and it’s present – and deal with it if need be and the time is right. But remember that it’s just a thought. It doesn’t have a life of its own, and you have the power to bid it farewell.

We are separate from our thoughts. It sounds so obvious, but it’s one of the hardest truths out there to internalize.

How can you let go today?

Namaste :)

Rachel

Detachment - Cinque Terre, Italy

Detachment – Cinque Terre, Italy

Posted by: faultlessfinish | December 3, 2013

Return of the Muse

It’s hard to believe it’s been four months since I’ve posted here. I’ve just returned to Canada after a month-long vacation in Europe. That continent definitely hasn’t seen the last of me! But more on that later.

Travelling always teaches you a few things, but I couldn’t have prepared myself for all the lessons that came my way – some good, some bad, some downright ugly in terms of insights into self, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. One of the most positive things I gleaned from the trip was the return of my muse. I couldn’t wait to get writing again.

Over the last few weeks, it became clear to me, through the help of one of the best friends I could ever ask for, that the main reason I had to abandon my “inspirational” blog temporarily was because I was no longer inspiring myself. Inspiration most certainly can’t be forced, and it’s OK to have “off” weeks or months, but it’s so important to understand why you’re feeling uninspired. Are the factors internal? External? Can you do something about it?

Getting caught in the grind of the mundane was my silent killer. I stopped appreciating the little moments and allowed almost no time for spiritual and personal growth in my life. My month away snapped me out of my haze. It reminded me of the importance of shaking things up once in a while, of reconnecting with your passions, of meeting new people, of having thought-provoking conversations and truly connecting on a human level. And it reminded me to be so grateful for the life I’ve been given.

While it’s always a bit sad coming back home after a whirlwind trip, I’m excited to implement some healthy changes (more time for writing, more yoga, more work-life balance).

What about you? What inspires you enough to shake you out of a slump?

Sunset over Athens

Sunset over Athens

 

Namaste :)

Rachel

Posted by: faultlessfinish | August 13, 2013

Words in White Spaces

I have officially launched my new blog, Words in White Spaces! I will still be blogging here, but the new space is just for poetry. I hope to see you there!

Namaste :)

Rachel

Posted by: faultlessfinish | July 8, 2013

Evolution

“We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution.” – Bill Hicks

I started Freelancing to Freedom in March 2010. I still can’t believe it’s been over three years. Man was I excited at that time. Starting my freelance editing career was such a turning point in my life. I launched the blog as a way to chronicle my journey as a new freelancer and to provide other new and aspiring freelancers with advice and support.

For the first few months, year even, I posted primarily for my own benefit. I was nervous to share the blog too widely, but it was a great way to track my progress in business. The new information flowed from brain right out of my fingertips and onto the keys. I couldn’t wait to write about what I was learning, and in those first few months I learned A LOT.

Gradually, yoga and meditation seeped into my life and then exploded in a big way, causing the tone of the blog to shift. My focus as a writer was no longer primarily on the business of freelancing but on living a balanced, meaningful life. I was excited to share newfound insights into life and how to live it to the fullest; taking my own advice was the biggest challenge in this period.

Recently I’ve become fascinated with poetry. For a month or so this year, I undertook a challenge to write every morning for even just ten minutes, and almost every morning, all I wanted to write was poetry, so I went with it. I now have notebooks and numerous Word documents dedicated to poetry. And the bulk of my posts this year have been poems.

By now I’m sure you’re thinking, “OK, what’s your point? This is starting to feel like one of those sitcom episodes that features all flashbacks for lack of new and interesting material.”

My apologies. My blog is still, more than anything, a place where I come to sort out my thoughts, and my wonderful readers are subjected to the process. In short, life is changing, I’m evolving, and it’s time for Freelancing to Freedom to undergo an overhaul in regards to name, design, and focus. It’s been with me since the beginning, and it needs some clarity. I’ve been posting less frequently lately because the focus is no longer clear.

Maybe this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I know that in the end, a blog is most importantly a space to write, share thoughts, and connect with readers from all walks of life, but I know in my heart that it’s time for a change. Because the last thing I want is to let this blog fade away.

The year is half over, and it’s time to revisit the words I began my year with: “A thrill, to see the three in the crisp corner of the clean page, clean canvas, blank slate.” Blank slate, fresh start.

I can’t say it enough–to all my readers, thank you for your loyalty over the months and years. I’m excited to continue sharing my writing, just in a new, fresh, fun way. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, I would love to hear about your stories of evolution.

Namaste :)

Rachel

SKsunset

Posted by: faultlessfinish | June 25, 2013

The Best Birthday Gift

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

My heart is full of gratitude right now. On Saturday, I had the opportunity to witness the marriage of my childhood best friend. I’m so grateful knowing that someone so close to my heart married someone who loves her so much. Thank you, Teej, for inviting me to be part of your beautiful day.

While I was away, Calgary was pummeled by devastating floods. My phone didn’t stop ringing all weekend. The emails didn’t stop pouring in. My friends were there for me before I even knew what was going on. And I know I’m not the only one to have this experience. People all over the city immediately offered up their homes to the displaced and volunteered to help in any way they could.

I was one of the lucky ones. Though I can’t go home for an indefinite amount of time, I’m safe and sound in a condo my friend Donna so graciously opened up for me.

I just want to express my sincere gratitude to Mary Beth, Kerri, Dallas, Donna, Brenda, Richelle, and Carrie for everything you’ve done for me these past few days. And thank you so much to all the friends who so generously offered to help. I truly can’t thank you enough.

Though the next month is a bit up in the air, I couldn’t enter my 27th year happier. I am blessed with the most wonderful people in my life. And I’m so inspired by Calgary’s volunteers – I’ve never seen people come together so quickly to rebuild. I have so much faith that the city will be restored to all its glory in no time at all.

Namaste friends. You’re in my heart. :)

Rachel

Posted by: faultlessfinish | June 17, 2013

The Examined Life

“It’s really hard to do self-portraits in the dark…” – Randi Feuerhelm-Watts

I came across this quotation a few months ago and couldn’t get it out of my head, so I wrote a few lines about it. I later wrote a poem inspired by an author I’ve been working with recently and his work. The two ideas were originally unconnected, but this blog post is the melding of the two.

Getting inside your head and facing your own “darkness” can be terrifying, but sometimes to move forward and find lightness again, it’s a necessary evil.

“Dark Bliss”

How can we know our selves
If we keep them in the shadows

To incite big shifts
Monumental trembles, shakes,
We must first go inside the deep Caverns
Of our own
Dark
Minds.
The places that our hearts don’t want to attend to
Inside the tight spaces
Where we want to scream out
For fear of being smothered
Claustrophobic depths,
Unforgiving
Caverns in our existence

Is the smile for the camera fake?
Done for the sake of the show?

Stoke the fire within
To incite light
Find light, shift.

Paint your portrait in the light of the morning.

Song of the week: “Beggar in the Morning” – The Barr Brothers

Namaste :)

Rachel

Darkness and light

Posted by: faultlessfinish | June 3, 2013

Agile Cats

“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” – Albert Schweitzer

Don’t worry. This isn’t a post about my love of cats. Friends have already started labelling me the “crazy cat lady,” and I’m not ashamed, but I don’t feel the need to convince my readers of how wonderful they are.

The other day an author and I were discussing our work schedules and the need to be flexible. He said, “We must be agile cats,” and the phrase resonated with me and moved me to write.

“Agility”

Stretch your weary, heavy limbs

Your mind most of all
Heavy, weighted

Leap confident

In your cleverness, cunning
Jump without regard for fear
Ferociously secure

Play, pounce

On the morsels
That bring light
Disdain that which does not entertain

Rest your weary, heavy limbs

See, smell, listen
Wake.

Sleep. Contented.

Namaste :)

Rachel

Steve French

He’s pretty cute, right? Definitely agile.
Posted by: faultlessfinish | May 27, 2013

Meditating in Las Vegas

“Social media demands a lot of us on top of our already demanding lives. So let’s disconnect as we need to and renew our interest and ourselves.” – Simon Mainwaring.

One of my new favourite bloggers, Steve Marquez, recently wrote a post on disconnecting that resonated with me. Check it out here. I find it necessary for my sanity to take regular breaks from email and the Internet at large. As such, I generally make it a habit to stay as far away from my computer as possible on Sundays.

But sometimes one day just isn’t enough. I didn’t post last week because I was taking a five-day Internet break . . . in Vegas! Ten girls on a stagette (no, not mine). Oh boy. Oh man, what a city. And it was my first visit, so even that much more thrilling. The moment the strip came into view as I peered out the plane window, face smushed against the glass, life back home seemed non-existent.

There’s just something about Vegas – it feels like being in a bubble, in another world. My vacation was truly an experience of constantly living in the moment. I had been worried about leaving my email unattended for a five-day period, but I was reminded while away, as I have been before, “The world won’t end if you aren’t available immediately.”

The overstimulating lights, the constant noise and air conditioning, and the late nights drained me physically, but the disconnection renewed me mentally. Most of us are busy and overworked – so take a vacation, and really take it. Get away physically if you can, but the mental holiday is most important.

Song of the week: “Medicine” – Daughter

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrulQAZq7Y8

Namaste :)

Rachel

Hotel

Posted by: faultlessfinish | May 13, 2013

Mountain Rage

Before launching into this week’s post, I want to invite you to read Aly Gulamhusein’s response to “Writing: Art or Science?” He poses new questions to ponder on the topic. Thank you to all who provided their insights.

I spent the past weekend in Canmore, one of my favourite places on earth. While the mountains are my sanctuary, the place where I get back to basics, settle my mind, and revel in peacefulness, they helped fuel something a bit different for me this time: rage.

Granted, that might sound a bit funny to those who know me. I generally don’t show anger, let alone rage. This weekend though, I ran my first 10-kilometre race and needed some fuel. I’ve been running for a few years now – I’ve done 5k races and a half-marathon, but this was my first 10k, and let me tell you, running in the mountains isn’t exactly comparable to running in flat Calgary.

Knowing this, it was my intention to train furiously for this race. I wanted to run it fast and push personal limits. Then bad weather and a few busy work weeks cramped my training, and I started to get angry with myself.

As soon as I got to my mountains though, anger was replaced by a lightness and excitement. I started the race feeling relaxed and calm, and I enjoyed my surroundings as they passed and let the mountains take effect. Then gradually, with lungs filled with fresh air, I started to push a little harder, and a little harder, and I could feel determination bubbling. The beautiful surroundings inspired me to go just a little faster, and a little faster.

At the 7k mark, I hit the wall, and the voice in my head said, “It’s OK, there are lots of hills at the end. Just walk for a bit and save up your strength.”

And that’s when the rage hit. I shouted a few profanities at the timid voice in my head, found the angriest heavy metal song on my iPod, and channelled all of my energy into pushing forward. And when I crossed the finish line, I smiled and said a silent thank-you to the mountains for helping me find balance, a place where I could feel powerful.

Anger isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. Have you ever been spurred on by anger with a positive result? How do you strike a balance between good and bad anger?

Song of the week: “You On the Run” – The Black Angels (one of my favourite run songs, though not the angriest – that honour goes to The Smashing Pumpkins)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSD5e8s7RaI

Namaste :)

Rachel

Canmore

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