Thursday, January 18, 2018

Saying Prayers

Sometimes,  when it all gets too loud, and I just can't even sort out my own thoughts, I turn to the only other place I know. I don't really know if I can call it praying, but I sure do faĺl asleep having some complicated conversations.   My mom always used to say if I fell asleep saying my prayers,  the angels would  finish them for me. I sure hope she's right....
I had a day yesterday.  One of those roller coaster, what the hell is going on,  really badly need to lay on the floor and feel the earth still, just let me take a deep breath, someone hear my words before I go crazy kind of day.  And then he came over, looked at the necklace settled around my tired neck, and slid the clasp back around to where it's supposed to be. "Someone's thinking about you", he said quietly.
"Lord, I hope so".

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Humble and Kind...and Enough

In the last half hour, I saw a  picture of a girl who bullied me through three of my teenage years.  She was the gem that met me at the corner of the building I had a class in, and threatened my life - daily.  She loathed me, and was pretty vocal about it.  She never laid a hand on me, but held all the crippling power in a mere suggestion of it.  Daily.  She was, then, then epitome of evil to me.  She made me afraid to go to class, to school, leave the house, have friends, go anywhere possible she might be.  She made my stomach turn in knots, and made me want to be physically ill.  She was ugly inside. 

Twenty seven years later, I am on the brink of 42, and the feeling has switched from anger and hurt to curiosity (okay, and truthfully still a little anger).  My stomach still knots at the memories.  I actually scrolled through her facebook profile.  There's a baby, and a fiancé.  There is a smile that seems not to be fueled by someone else's pain.  There is a post that reads, ironically, "always stay humble and kind", and I actually scoffed out loud.  I blurted out an iconic Alicia Silverstone "AS IF!".  And sitting there, staring at her, I wondered if there was any chance she actually believed that now.  I wondered if she learned.  I mean, really... don't we all?  But Lord, do I want the answer to that question.  Does she really, truly, from her soul, feel that kindness matters?  And does she even have a clue as to what she did?  Was she ever sorry? 

And then, I thought - does it matter? The fact is, I'll never know the answer.  I am a successful, beautiful, confident woman that was affected by bullying.  It doesn't make me a victim.  It makes me a God damn survivor of terror, and good for me for being raised with skills to make me better than her.  It also made me a better parent eventually, a better friend, and guess what?  It made me kinder.

A few years ago, I did some public speaking in schools all over Alberta.  I had created and presented a program called "I Believe In Me".  I talked about the power of confidence growing up believing in yourself and empowering other people to do the same. I used her as an example of who not to be and secretly wished she could hear it.  It empowered me, it empowered children.  I won.

I know now, as an adult, that her behaviour was some sort of internal struggle with her own confidence and her need to be more powerful than someone or whatever the thing was that ate at her from the inside out.  I know she had no real seeded reason for her hatred.  It wasn't really me.  It was the threat of me, who I was, what I was, where I was - and it was everything she wasn't, but maybe wanted to be.  Today, right now, my hope is that she really did learn that she was enough, is enough, and doesn't need anyone else's pain to make her feel it.  I hope she finally feels "enough".

Here's how I'm going to leave this all:  You know when you hear someone say "it's okay..." after an apology?  First of all, I'm never getting that apology.  I'm not that naïve.  But I am never going to say it was or is okay.  I understand your shitty behaviour.  You were a shitty person.  I hope you've become less shitty, and live now to rectify who you were. I hope you are both humble and kind. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Blurty Brand New Year - Same Ol' Me

Happy January 2, and welcome 2018! I've been thinking about this post for some time now.  What should I write?  What should I address, who gets my attention, and who do I just simply leave behind?  It's been consuming my brain a bit.  I think I've written a post in my head thirty times or so, never actually sitting down with the words.  I don't know how to make it all flow.  There's so much to just blurt out there so it's said and I'm not carrying it in this brand spanky new year.  So I decided to just do that - blurt.  In no particular order other than how it comes out - blurt.  Blurty. 

Dear friend that left my life in 2017, good bye.  I've wasted enough energy thinking about it all and wondering just how our friendship twisted into the silent nothingness that it is now.  I've spent enough time being blamed, angry and hurt, disappointed and confused.  I'm tired of missing pictures, and thrown away moments, I'm over wondering what everyone we know thinks about it.  You made your choice, it had nothing to do with me.  And though I miss you dearly, the damage is done and it will never be the same regardless of what is said now.  Know with absolute certainty that I wish you well, and I hope one day you are healthy and happy and that your soul is fulfilled.  I treasure so much of what was us and understand many lessons I learned along the way.  I can't be part of any more of your journey - and that is my decision - not my fault. 

Relationships are hard work.  Every single one of them.  And I want to clarify.  Love is NOT hard.  Love is easy.  Loving is easy.  Being loved is easy.  It does not hurt or twist.  Love does not need effort.  Love is easy.  Relationships are not love - love is a facet.  So is patience, and compromise, and sacrifice, and hurt and struggle, and laughter and tears.  Truth, growing, communication, assumption and lack there of - all facets.  Effort - that is the working tool of relationships, and I like to think it's fueled by love.  Remember this in your relationships - your friendships, your family, your partners, the people in your life every single day.  Fuel your effort with love.  Feed the relationships that are good for you, and leave behind the ones that no longer bring you joy. 

I will be forty two years old this year.  I plan to be amazing, and my intention is to just become more spectacular as I age.  To hell with eye cream, cutsie hair cuts that promise to be "easier" than they ever are, weighing the perfect amount, or worrying about who is running when I am not.  Yeah, I buy my clothes in a size that isn't a six.  And?  I look great in them!  My feet are a size nine (ish) and no, I don't need high heels that make my feet hurt five days a week.  If you're lucky, once or twice a year, for about two hours, you might catch me in a pair, but don't go holding your breath for that glimpse.  No, this isn't my proclamation of being the next granola eating, razorless Yetti of Walmart.  I just mean to say that I'm going to be me -whatever size that happens to be that day, whatever outfit, hair in a bun or blown out long, cargo pants or jeans, sandals or boots, dashiki or moo moo.  The point is, social media sucks at letting us be ourselves.  We have to be stronger than what's expected of us - the bar, is in fact, way too low as I see it. 

Gratitude is a fleeting trait. So is appreciation.  Complacency and entitlement seems to be replacing them.  Please do your part to prevent this and remember how much of your life could be different. 

I am lucky to share my life with some pretty amazing people.  Thank you for what you share with me. 

This year ahead is full of potential.  It will be filled with changes and growth.  There will be learning and newness.  I am so excited!  This year, there will be struggles - because nothing good comes easy.  There will be challenges and rewards.  There will be accomplishment.  There will be fear, and uneasiness, there will be uncomfortable longing.  There will be hellos and goodbyes.  And there will be an abundance of moving forward.  I am praying for gentle grace in it all.

I can't wait, and I can't wait to tell you all about it. 

Thanks for still being here.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Even Endings Are Part Of The Journey - Or The Earth Would Be Over Crowded.

I'm in Kauai, and it's the most beautiful place I've ever been, hands down.  In eight days, we have almost seen the whole island - by car, kayak, atv, horse, by hiking, by helicopter.  I've seen and done things that most people only dream of.  I'm writing - in Kauai.  It's really, really beautiful.

And two days ago, while I'm taking in the journey of this wonderous place, my grandfather passed away.  I woke up to a beautiful sunrise...and he didn't wake up at all.  I got the message right after I opened the window to this...

I stood at the window a while, trying to understand what I felt.  Relief.  Relief for him.  You see, 94 years is a long, long time to live.  94 years is filled with journey; adventure, love, joy, heartbreak, sadness, wonder...experience.  The last time I sat with my grandad, just he and I, he was telling me stories about the war, and of when his own children were young.  There was this sadness in him, this longing to be with his love.  "I've been alive a long time.  I've seen a lot of things.  I'm done with my living now. Now I just exist."  And I understood 100%.

I knew this day wasn't far away.  We all knew.  He's been talking to my grandmother for months in the house, looking for her around corners.  So I stand here, not sad - and not feeling guilty about not feeling sad.  I am filled with joy for his life journey, and relief for his exhausted shoulders that carried us all at one point or another.  I am in awe of his experience, and grateful for every part of myself that is because of him.  There have been no tears yet.  All I can hear in my head is his voice, "now, why would you cry? My life has been long, and worth every second. Stop it, right now."   (okay, as I typed it, I shed just a few - but only because that voice though...)

I'm relieved for you, Gramps.  You did good here, and we are all better people because of you.  The gates were wide open when you got there, and I am envious of the entourage that I know were there to greet you.  

I have three days left on this beautiful island, and I do everything with a little more celebration for you.  I know, without one ounce of doubt, you would want me to - because life moves forward for those who are living.  We have no other choice.  And don't you worry one second, Gramps, I've got exactly the right shoes for this journey.

Ever thine, Ever mine, Ever Ours. Always. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Etching Out Kindness

I have written a lot about the importance of kindness and the value I feel it has not only in our lives, but the effect it has on other people and the Earth.  And, while I was away in the glorious sunshine, and floating in the pool, I was deemed a little crazy when I'd rescue the bees that landed in the pool.  I'd scoop them up in my hand, and place them on the rocks to dry and they'd fly away and carry on.  Why?  Because I can, and what you put out in the Universe comes back three fold.  And as I dried off, I got to having the conversation about why I feel the way I do about kindness towards even the little creatures like the bees.  Turns out, it's this book. 

When I was a little, my mom had this book on the book shelf.  It's one of the only Disney books I remember.  I was more of a Dr. Seuss/Bernstein Bears kind of girl.  (If you can find this book for your littles, please do. I emplore you to feed their kindness, and read this book every single day.)

This is a book where Goofy learns the purpose and rewards of being kind.  The thing is, he didn't have to try to be kind.  He just was. He is kind to all the creatures he encounters, and the Universe, is, in turn, kind to him.  I can tell you, without hesitation, that this book came into my thoughts every single time I avoided killing a spider (yes, this is why I take them outside.  Bees too.) for my whole existence.  

I actually found it astounding that a book I read as a child had such an impact on who I became; which prompted another chat about exactly that - the things that you can pin point as having shaped part of who you became as an adult - like this book, and for me, The Velveteen Rabbit.  So when you think something as simple as book or a movie won't impact your kids - you may be wrong. Choose the words they hear wisely - they may be etched in who they become.  

For kindness and all of the things that brought to being the human I am - grateful. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Warrior - Like A Boss

I want to share this picture with you.  I want to share it because, as it turns out, it's one of my life's most powerful moments.

I spent the weekend at an EnjoyMEnt retreat with roughly 55 other like-minded, magnificent women.  (side note: there was not one single moment of judgement here- EVER- and I wish all women could know this kind of solidarity)  There was a theme night: Warrior Women, and it gave me anxiety from the second the email in came in before the retreat.  First of all, I was no warrior.  Second of all, I don't "dress up".  But the thing is, I wanted to be all in this weekend.  Both feet in the fire, all me, all day long.  No hiding.  So...for hours (literally), I sat and made this head peice. I painted, I glued.  I innovated.  Painted panther faced, pink feathered mowhawked, warrior feathered fear... And and handful of bravery to put it on - like a God dammned Boss.

With my yoga pants, and my silver feather necklaces, I wore it.  No.  I embodied it.  I painted my face, and opened up my soul.  And I laughed.  And I sang.  And I danced.  And I remembered.  I remembered every single time I was afraid to let myself just be.  I remembered hiding myself away, and turning myself inside out for people around me.  I remember shifting away from this glorious human who laughed and sang and danced... and lived with reckless abandon.  I remembered being brave.  I remembered the years of battle just to allow myself to be this human I loved.   I remembered this girl.  This woman.  This warrior. 

This is who I am, and this is one of the most powerful moments of my movement forward.  I am so proud of this warrior.  I may love a lot of things, and a lot of people, but my gratitude is in loving myself the most. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

One Move Yoga

As I type, right now, I am on the floor.  No, not metaphorically, literally - on the floor.  During my 193 days away, I developed something that was very, very good for my soul.  I call it one move yoga - otherwise known as laying on the floor.

It looks a little something like this:

You see, on the wall is a heater - it blows warm air all over my body while I lay in complete peace.  Here's the thing - no one is allowed in my sunroom uninvited - there's no one here but me, this dog, and peace and quiet.  If you read yesterday's post, you know why that's soooooooo incredibly important.  It's QUIET.

It all started with good intentions.  There would be some stretching, a sun salutation, and an intention to finish a full yoga session... but then I reached the floor.  And I was just still, and it was quiet and my body begged me not to move.  And so I didn't.  I just stayed.  I let all the thoughts leave my head while I laid there.  I let my body relax, I let my soul get all pruny in the peace pool I was swimming in.  Once I even fell asleep - on the floor. I don't even know how that's possible.

Once or twice a week, some times three or four or twelve times a week, I disappear to this solace, and let my soul breathe.  It keeps me sane.  You should try it - just not in my sunroom.