30 December 2015

wine & carbohydrates....

Today is one of those dark, dreary days where the sun never did shine.  This week has been grey and yucky with freezing rain & we've barely seen the sun.  All I want to do is consume wine & carbohydrates.  Seriously.  Like red wine paired with mac 'n cheese.  And cookies.

This annual tradition of penning New Year's Notes to people around me has begun.  This week it felt good to spend time inside writing.  Maybe it is because of losing my dad so unexpectedly or maybe it's the influence of a special, brave friend that passed earlier in the year, but I'm even more sentimental that usual.  I find it interesting to write my New Years notes this year.  There have been quite a few people who have impacted me that I want to reach out to.  There have been a few who have touched my heart.  There are those I love dearly that maybe I don't tell just enough and need to be reminded.  There are people I barely know but whom are struggling and I think could use a few special words. There is no stipulation about length of time that someone must be in my life to receive a note, nor a depth of love.  I do suppose that as I have said many times before, that once you have entered my heart you have a space there forever.  We could not talk for years, but if you needed me I would be there.  There are a few people that I'm writing to this year and I'm not sure how they will take these words.  I can only hope that they are received in the manor that they are intended.  The point is simple - to put love and positivity into the universe. To help others view the good things in themselves that are often overlooked or that we don't think others have noticed.  What better way to either close or begin the year than with kind words.  

We don't say it enough to people - we are always so afraid to be open because we are inherently afraid of rejection. But what kind of life is that that we are so afraid to be honest with people? Time and time again, I am reminded that life is indeed too short. Losing Steve, losing Iain, losing Dad - all reminders.  The scare of my life of being in NYC for Sept 11. All these events, a constant reminder that tomorrow is never promised to us. We do not know when or if we will ever get the chance to say I Love You.  Just the other day, one of my customers that I was messaging re: an order at the store remarked to me that she was always happy to receive a note from me that ended in "xo".  Honestly, it's just how I sign off and sometimes I forget the impact that it can make.  It's just so simple.  Put love - of all kinds - in the universe, all the damn time. 

I've posted this "philosophy" of mine a few times on this blog like my Love is Everything post when Soph was worried to tell 'Gary' that she loved him too soon.  I read an article today that reviewed my basic way of thinking for these notes. (Sometimes reading becomes as much a part of my writing as anything else.) The post basically said that life is too short and sometimes we cannot see the impact that we make on others or perhaps we do not see in the mirror what others can see when they look at us.  We so often go though life not telling people that we love them or that we miss them because we fear rejection.  Or for fear that those feelings are not reciprocated.  I don't want to live with any regret. I don't say I Love You to hear it back (as nice as that is).  I say it because I mean it, because it's how I feel. I know that tomorrow is not guarenteed. I would rather fear looking stupid to someone then have them live their life completely unaware of how they may have impacted my life.  What if we could give someone a kind word every day that makes them feel better about themselves? Would then they pay that forward and continue spreading the kindness? Would they love themselves a little bit more if they could see themselves through other eyes?

We are all very hard on ourselves and competitive with each other - shouldn't our goal in life should be to build each other up??  Why should we feel awkward about seeing the good qualities in someone and telling them what we see? Sometimes those are the hardest things to see in ourselves, especially if we are going through a challenging time in our life.  It is an inherent human quality to want to connect with others - family, friends, neighbours, lovers.  But in order to make that connection it requires that we take chances with our heart.  We all, in some way, need to remove ego from the equation and just allow ourselves to be honest with each other. Are we really willing to walk away from potential relationships because we are afraid to risk it and put ourselves out there? Are we ok with watching a dear friend walk away because we are too worried about our own ego of saying "I'm sorry" first.  We take for granted that our mom or our siblings know how much we love them & appreciate them.  

I guess there is the chance that my words can be taken the wrong way or people could think that by saying I care about them, that I'm some sort of stalker that's head over heels in love when I'm not.  I suppose it's the chance I take.  I'm pretty hopeful that people know me well enough to understand that I'm just a sentimental fool that wants to share the love, one New Years Note at a time..... xoxo 

fam jam ....


Well here it has come and gone - the first big holiday without him.  Christmas Eve was hardest and as much as I tried to keep it together, there were a lot of tears.  They came right out of the blue, when I was least expecting it.  I cried at work.  I cried at shoppers drug mart trying to print photos.  I cried at the jewellery store trying to buy a bracelet.  I cried in my car when Bob Seger came on the radio.  It was a day where the tears were always at the brink.  At one point I just decided to accept it and take them as they came.  I thought a lot of others who were going through their first holiday without someone.  I took a lot of moments to step back and look at everyone around me, realizing just how quickly things can shift and taking moments to be thankful. 

I wanted to hear his laugh more than anything in the world.  He would have gotten such a kick out of the Kris Kringle gifts that were passed around.  He would have laughed so hard that he'd start coughing until he was almost choking and wheezing... which used to drive me bananas and now would sound so sweet.  He would have loved to watch Davis take those first three steps that we all witnessed.  He would have loved to see him open gifts in his plaid pj's and cozy robe or to hear him say "wow" and point in delight at all the Christmas lights. He would have loved it all. He would have loved every single second of it. And hopefully he was there with us in some way.  Not just in our hearts but some how there watching over us all, holding our hands and getting us through. 


It just felt a little quieter around that table this year.  We toasted him and celebrated each other, knowing now that life is brief and sweet.  Grateful as always to have a family so big and loud and full of love for each other.  We carried on the tradition of Boxing Day Bowling & pizza, his big presence missing from it all.  There is some magic in the holiday season and as the quote above says, we need to use it to be grateful, forgiving and welcoming.  And as much as I would give to wrap my arms around my giant teddy bear of a dad and hear his voice again, I realize that he will live on in all of us as long as we let him.  His memory is in our hearts no matter what.  Holidays may hurt more than every day but I do believe that love will carry us through.

19 December 2015

big hearts see the best things....

I'm quite late in sending Christmas cards this year as I began just this weekend.  This annual rite always serves as a reminder just how very blessed my life is to be filled with amazing family & friends.  The past two months have surely been a testament to the fact that love is what carries you through life.  I know sometimes it's hard to love me because I am fiercely independent & not always good at asking for help.  There have definitely been moments these past few weeks where I have wanted someone to put their arm around me and whisper that it will all be ok.  But I am again reminded that I'm in this alone.  Don't get me wrong, I am so very lucky to have amazing family and friends and I appreciate all those who are in my life but there are times I do wish for a partner.  There is something special about finding someone who understands that you don't need them to fix things.  You just need them to stand beside you. 


I think sometimes what makes me most apprehensive about dating is worrying about choosing wrong again.  I got my heart broken by T - his own demons destroyed that love.  It was one of the tests to my strength but in the end I did rise. I learned and I grew.  Some of the choices I've made since him weren't the best either but they were all stepping stones on this path.  I have been hurt but that will never stop me from loving again.  As the quote says, sometimes there is sadness in our journey but we keep moving forward.  Some days it may be hard to get out of bed, but it is such a blessing to simply wake up.  To breathe in a new day and new possibility.  


A little time on my mat this morning brought me back to the idea of forgiveness.  I've definitely learned to forgive easily and usually for those who haven't even asked for it because forgiveness is sometimes about clearing our own heart of negativity.  Sometimes I'm reminded that I need to also forgive myself for my own mistakes.  For believing the words that were told to me. For indulging in that comfortable feeling of someone's arms around me, the softness of their touch along my arm.  For believing in the things that we talked about like grand adventures or simply cooking dinner were real possibilities. For opening myself up again thinking that it was true for both of us but perhaps it was just me.  I guess in reality I will never know if he meant it and just ended up feeling too much.  Or if it all of it really was just to occupy some time while away until reality set in.  I have to choose to believe that it was real but just not meant to be right now.  Our paths were meant to cross but perhaps not meant to stay connected. Perhaps they will one day cross again.  I need to be able to forgive myself for choosing incorrect again.

However this quote reminds me that I need to continue to look at all of this as a journey towards finding that partner.  S wasn't what I needed him to be and I held on to that for too long simply because there was some comfort in talking with someone.  In reality I knew that it wasn't there.  I knew it when we kissed because there was no spark.   I knew it in trying to have a conversation with him when there was no connection there.  I knew it when he never asked how my day was.  When zero was done in regards to my birthday.  When I shared that I was worried about something and there was no check in.  But it took meeting A to know that it was time to let that go.  With A I wanted to TALK.  I found him so interesting.  I liked that he was ok with my independence and that he had his own life of kids and work and fitness.  I liked his interest in common things like preserving or smoking meat lol. I liked that he said he loved to also walk in fresh snow and that I felt on fire when he kissed me.  Maybe I really don't know how to give up on people when I see the good in them.  I think sometimes I see more good in others than they do in themselves. 

Writing these cards to people, some who have been in my life a thousand years & some merely seconds, I want to remember that they are all part of my journey.  That it is not about choosing wrong - we are all meant to be in each other's live for a reason - but recognizing that sometimes what we think we are looking for or what we think we see in someone else may not be reality.  But for all of them - for all the lessons, memories, self-discoveries - I am eternally grateful.  Because when I look in the mirror I see someone that I like very much and one day there will be that partner who sees & adores the real me.  Someone who doesn't care that I sing loud and off key, that I twirl around like a child when the snow is falling or that I splash in puddles when it's raining.  Someone who isn't embarrassed that sometimes I dance as I walk if the music is right and who will hug me when I wake up scared in the middle of the night. I will continue to forgive and continue to see the best in people or at least try.  Me and my big heart may be suseptible to breakage but that means we're also likely to find great love along the way.  Fingers crossed. xo  

18 December 2015

the dove & peacefulness

I have literally begun 4 posts all on various topics over the past week and as with my life, my thoughts seem to be all over the place! My goal today is to finish at least this one!!

So on Monday I came home to find a white dove sitting outside my bedroom window on the ledge.  At first I wondered if he was hurt because he just sat there unfazed by me walking by and just looking at me out the side of his eye.  Every time I walked by I expected a flurry of movement for him to get startled and try to fly off but he remained totally calm.  The next morning when I left for 630 yoga he was gone from the ledge so I assumed he had flown away.  However when I returned (and it was now daylight!) he was indeed still there but now perched above the door to my patio.  Again totally unfazed by myself or the dog - Paco also didn't notice or acknowledge that there was another animal there which I found odd.  For days, he sat there.  Every time I looked, he was there.  So of course I wondered what it could mean and everyone attributed it to my dad's spirit being there to comfort me.  I figured my dad should probably know that I'm slightly afraid of birds but oddly it did feel comforting to see that little guy out there every day. 

Today marks two months since he passed - the first month was a total blur.  The second month hit me hard.  As much as I felt cold & uncaring because I couldn't cry at first, seems it was that I was saving it all for month two.  I can't tell you the number of nights where I did not sleep.  Every worry in the world cursing through my head.  Some of the oddest and most morbid thoughts included.  Netflix, Pinterest and the book "Understanding Your Grief" were my three best friends for a while there.  

I suppose that there was also a piece of me sad to see a potential relationship end, really before it even got the chance to start. This was the first person in a very long time where there was a connection and I really saw a good fit - his intelligence & humour were definitely what I am hoping for in a potential partner. There is a part of me that feels silly for opening up and sharing myself with him but that eternal optimist in my is choosing to believe that it was honest on both our parts but alas life and all of it's craziness was just too much.  I look at it as a reminder (again) of what I do want in a partner - that I want someone who asks how I am doing or how my day was because they actually care.  Those small simple things that really (sadly) are not common.  I suppose what hurts most is realizing that I didn't mean enough to warrant a face-to-face final conversation.  That he didn't have the respect to say good-bye in person rather than an "I need time to myself" text.  Sometimes the age of technology is weird but I suppose it's better than being 'ghosted'.

So this past month really has been about making peace with a lot of things.  My business is changing, my love life is yet again on hold and my heart continues to grieve my dad.  Looking online about the meaning of the dove I find out that the dove represents peace of the deepest kind. "It soothes and quiets our worried or troubled thoughts, enabling us to find renewal in the silence of the mind. The dove’s singing is most prevalent when the veils between the physical and spiritual worlds are thought to be at their thinnest – first thing in the morning and last thing at night – again representing a link between two divergent domains."  Doves teach us that, regardless of external circumstances, peace is always a touch a way – within us – and always available. It is said that if a dove flies into your life, you are being asked to go within and release your emotional disharmony.  Doves carry the energy of promise. When inner conflicts are banished from our thoughts, words and feelings, goodness awaits.  "The dove’s roles as spirit messenger, maternal symbol and liaison impart an inner peace that helps us to go about our lives calmly and with purpose." 

Someone else suggested that it was there to protect me from negative energy - there is a part of me that wonders if that is internal or external as a few nights I've really beat myself upI've been trying to remember to recite the Serenity Prayer to myself both on an off my yoga mat.  I am trying to be kinder to myself and rid the negative thoughts that maybe I am just too independent or just inherently unlovable.  These thoughts tend to come up around this time of year - especially with my 4 year "divorce-iversary" looming next week.  As much as it wasn't the best timing to leave my husband ON Valentines Day, it was probably not the best idea to settle our divorce 3 days before Christmas. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20.... 

Yesterday I had a piece of my dad tattooed on my shoulder, where I am certain he sits as my guardian angel and when I returned, my dove was gone.  So perhaps it really was my daddy wanting me to know he was there with me always and once I did have him permanently inked to my skin, he knew that I had in fact found more peace with saying goodbye. Missing him is becoming more and more real but so is learning to live with his spirit rather than his presence.  Maybe it was just a silly dove that lost it's way but as with anything this glass half-full kinda gal is going to take comfort in thinking it was him watching over me.  Loving me still.  Bringing me peace.  xoxo

09 December 2015

Maybe..




Was just re-reading a post from this time last year and it's like I could have written it yesterday! I realize that although it's been a year full of growth and change, there is a part of me that still feels exactly the same.  Here I am saying goodbye again.  Realizing more and more that maybe this quote above is true. That no matter what we are just doing the best that we can.  

There are some things (and some people) that we cannot repair.  Let's be honest, some days are really shitty days. We have all suffered our own losses, faced fears and been broken.  This shittiness (yes I make up my own words) is the commonality that binds us.  Maybe having these flaws are what helps us to carry on.  Knowing that though our fight may be our own, we are joined to each other by the jaded pieces of our souls.  Everyone is fighting something or healing from something.  We all may just be getting by - carrying our baggage and wading through.  Maybe we need to celebrate just rising every day.  Just opening our eyes.  Just taking that breath and trying to put one foot in front of the other.  

Sometimes I wish I could just tell people the goodness I see in them so that when the day seems bleak to them, they can see it too.  Maybe it's the intuitive part of me that can see past all the shit into the good of someone's soul that we as individuals can't always see ourselves. It is definitely the part of me that opens up to heartache more often but even with that I don't think I'd change it. It's not about getting ourselves "perfect" in order to share out lives with someone. Perhaps it's just about sharing the experiences, sharing the disorder and the chaos.  Accepting that we will never be healed fully but that we can still love if we are jaded or sad or have been broken.  Learning to adapt rather than repair.  Taking each day as it comes and celebrate our own strength to keep fighting.  To keep living despite the challenges.  To keep loving despite the heartbreak. 

03 December 2015

spread love ....

If you have been reading my musings for any length of time you will be familiar with my philosophy to LOVE big and my thoughts that people are sent to our lives for a reason.  As a writer I equate everyone's role as a participant in my life story. Some are a brief line, others are a chapter and some are leading characters.  I fully believe that our paths cross for many reasons and it is our goal to figure out the whyOver this past year, I truly think that each person I have met has taught me a lesson or has assisted me to keep moving forward at times I was stuck. There are a lot of wild thoughts that race through your mind at 3am when yet again you cannot sleep so if this does not in fact make any sense I apologize in advance.  Insomnia is a chatty bitch.  I am getting close to giving in to some sort of sleeping pill.   


I love big and not everyone understands that.  It doesn't matter if you are family, friend or loverIn fact I'm sure it may make some people uncomfortable but that's who I am and at this point in my life that part of me is not going to change.  I sign every letter with a heart and an "xo".  I say "I love you" when I say goodbye one the phone.   Once you are in my heart, you are there forever.  That's just me.  I don't expect it in return.  I don't think I've ever really had someone love me like that - with grand displays of affection.  I don't need it shouted from the rooftop - I'd rather you whisper it quietly in my ear. I just want someone who won't be embarrassed if I twirl around in the falling snow or perhaps break into song or dance spontaneously. 

As much as people don't grieve in the same manor, people also don't show love in the same manor.  I do think that sometimes I see things differently than most women. Perhaps it's because I have been through so much in my life or because I am very introspective and want to learn from every experience. Recently A told me that they were an "emotionally unavailable" person and I want to correct whoever told them that because perhaps that person should have just looked harder.  Loving someone isn't always in overt affection - you can say I Love You a million times but actions are louder than words.  Saying those words mean nothing if you treat someone awfully or with disrespect.  I've been in that situation before. But something as small as saying "I'm off" before a flight or letting me know when that flight has landed is emoting.  "Sweet dreams" before bedtime or "Glad you got home safe" - simple and yet mean a lot.  Sharing little things about family or work.  Indulging me by sending photos of food. Even simply talking about struggling with emoting is letting someone in.  Maybe to most they are insignificant but I think it's all the little things add up to more than grand gestures.  

Perhaps it's the holidays pulling at my heart strings but it's the time I always reflect on the year coming to a close.   I write what I like to call New Years Notes to people who have either entered my life that year or people who have made a significant impact on my life that year.  It is just a simple note to tell them why I cherish them or what impact they have made on me.  We don't often enough tell those around us why we think they are great. As the quote says, we should spread love as thick as Nutella.  I mean truly who doesn't love Nutella!! As for my notes,  I ask that it be either the last thing they read to close their year or the first thing they read to start the new one so that they either end or begin their year with love in their heart.  And it's all kinds of love - friendship, family, romantic.  I suppose it's the big sap in me that also wants my last act of the year to be one of love.  
   
So I suppose it's also natural when the year wraps up and a new one looms to reflect on what we have learned this year and where we are going.  But what do you do when you are yet again at a crossroads.  The optimist in me wants to believe that it all was true and honest and that timing is just a bitch.  The realist in me thinks I opened myself up and got duped.  Again.  All I can do it just go with my gut and believe that there truly was a connection there and just try to have faith that eventually we will have some time to have fun and not deal with all the heavy things that have impacted our lives these past few months.  And in the end if it turns out that we don't get any more time together I will be grateful for the boundaries I pushed in myself to open up again, tuck A & this experience in to my heart and again keep moving forward.  And now I'm craving Nutella...

01 December 2015

Santosha

This past weekend I challenged myself to a two-hour yoga workshop on arm balancing and inversions.  There are certain poses that I am determined to master though they have many times eluded me.  At the end of this practice (and many failed attempts at some pretty amazing poses) we lay in shavasna and our teacher touched on the pillar Santosha or Contentment. 

Santosha can be defined as "Find true joy and happiness in where you are regardless of any external circumstances or challenges, and become fully accountable (and thus empowered) for where you are in your life. If you practice gratitude for what you have and embrace each moment exactly the way it is, than you will stop wishing things were different than the way they are, and you will be content."


In relation to the practice, Nena used the example of being content in the moments of trying to achieve these arm balances or really any poses that we were working towards.  It wasn't necessarily in the moment of actually holding that pose that we would feel this contentment but through the practice itself. That we shouldn't limit ourselves to not working on things or not attempting certain classes just because we feel nervous.  In other words, it is the journey itself that brings us contentment not arriving at the final destination.  That in trying we fail and learn or we learn and grow.  That feeling lost or feeling frustration is part of that path.  As I said in an earlier post, sometimes it isn't easy but we have to "feel the feelings". Success is in the attempt, not in the achievement.


Being grateful in the moment is probably one of the hardest things to achieve.  It is so easy to get caught up in the moment.  There is a class that I rarely attend (ok i did it only once) and I am daunted by it because I get frustrated when I can't do what everyone else is doing.  So I avoid it.  Though after laying there listening about the journey, I realize that if cease to challenge myself for fear of failure I will in fact never get stronger.  I will never achieve what i desire to if I never take the steps to try.  It's like getting through difficult times - if we ignore it then we are never going to get through it.  In a way it's like learning to open your heart to someone again - love must eventually trump fear. The journey through difficult times and towards contentment is just that - an actual journey that we must endure. 


The grief journey is so different for everyone.  It feels like the most difficult thing of losing someone in your life is not the actual goodbye - the hardest thing is learning to live without them.  You don't ever get over losing them but rather you just tuck them into a nice comfy corner of that broken heart and keep living.  Because it is something so different for each of us, grief is a path that you walk alone.  Don't get me wrong, others can and should be there along the way to listen or give support but getting through it a solo mission.  It's your own path to be walked at your own pace.  There may be a time that you walk that path in a complete fog without recognition of who is there or even who wants to be there.   There were days following my fathers funeral where I literally sat in front of my computer and stared at the screen not knowing where to begin. I would lay in yoga and sometimes just cry hoping that the sweat masked the tears. Thank God for my journal as it was my saving grace. 
For me, I know I need to process it myself but there definitely are times that I would just like someone sitting next to me watching a movie or holding my hand while my head spins in circles! I don't need someone to find the solution, but it would feel nice to have someone there in quiet support.


Grief is not linear.  Grief is a god damn zig zag across your heart.  There are good days and there are bad moments.  There are those times that you pick up the phone to call your dad and realize that it just says "Mom" in your phone now.  When I eat something that he would love, my heart hurts a little knowing I can't share that with him.  As I attempt (miserably) to hang a mirror in my apartment or put lights on the Christmas tree, I realize just how much I want my dad. And all of that is ok. 


Again I think the biggest thing I have learned and continue to recognize is that all of our paths are so different.  Some of us will be completely debilitated and that is ok.  Some people I'm sure look at me trying to find gratitude in all of this and think I'm in total denial
Some people want to sleep forever.  Or conversely I couldn't sleep at all.  I still can't fall asleep without putting something on my iPad next to me to drown out the thoughts in my head. It doesn't feel like grief at those times but it just feels like this weight on my chest that may eventually cause my heart to combust It is in those moments when I just crave having some laying next to meI want that comfort to touch my foot against someone's leg or lay my head on someone's chest. To have someone smooth my hair or run their fingers along my arm until we fall asleep.  I'm awake by 4am most days so thank god for 6am yoga class as reprieve from my scattered musings.  I've rekindled my love affair with coffee though I think we need to break up again so I bring lemon-water back into my life. 



This quote included above spoke to me today.  Some days my mornings awake before the rest of the world are filled with Pinterest and secret boards of quotes just for me.  Words heal me.  And these were some that found their way into my heart today.  Maybe grief really is love with no place to go.  Maybe we should actually be happy in feeling grief because we were lucky enough to have something or someone so amazing to lose.  That the more love we shared with someone the more we will miss them but conversely the more grateful we should be for that love.  It's a weird feeling sometimes when my heart feels so empty missing him and at the same time feels so full of love.  I guess the only thing to do is keep moving forward - the journey towards anything begins with a single step.  Some mornings that may be all we have is a single step forward.  So that is all I can do - keep my heart open and loving, try to find gratitude in something every day and accept that this journey is a path of ups and downs so try to be present in each momentTake the focus off of the ultimate destination because that may in fact change as we doWe will be ok, even if we don't feel ok all of the time.