22 September 2016

On the eve of 39....

Here we go, the last year of my 30s is about to begin. I have my trusty 40 before 40 list written out.  It's the eve of my 39th birthday and today has been a day thinking of so many things. I realize that I am very lucky that tomorrow I will wake up another year older, wiser, and stronger. I thought it would be different this year in that I imagined I'd be able to wake up to a happy birthday kiss but alas I head to bed on my own I don't know what it is about days like birthdays or Christmas morning but I absolutely dread waking up solo those days.  It does, however, give me the chance to reflect tonight – another year of experience is behind me. A year of love and friendship, of great loss and more growth. Another year lies here ahead of me - full of possibilities and adventures. I'm about to head out to yoga in an attempt to refocus on all of my blessings and appreciate all that I have rather than think of that which I may wish for.

I have learned more about my own true self in these past 365 days. I am thankful for every hello and every goodbye, as each one has shaped me into the woman I am today. Today, and I'm sure tomorrow I miss my father more than I could ever of have imagined I would. I take these moments to be grateful to have had his love but my heart aches so much this week. I'm really struggling with turning a year older and not still being the age I was when he died.  It just seems so weird to start a year in which he doesn't exist. I have cried so much this week that you'd think I'd be fresh out of tears. 

But today is also the fall solstice and a time to reflect on all that lies ahead. A time to be present. I think that this next month will be a struggle as this first year closes in. I pray for the strength to get through it and to help my mother deal with this closure.  I remember the analogy that grief never ends, that it's like the tide. Some days it's calm and unobtrusive and other days the waves crash so hard that they knock you over. Today is one of the rough days. But tomorrow is a new day. It is my birthday and I am so very grateful for all that I have, for the strength of my body, for the tenacity of my heart and for the courageous soul that lies within me.  I am blessed to see the sun rise again tomorrow and to enjoy a day of my favourite things and people - some are just in heaven this year. Shine down tomorrow dad. xo

21 September 2016

regrets....

For some reason today I can't shake this feeling of regret.  I don't know if it's because of the fact that I haven't been sleeping well this week, my looming 39th birthday or if I should blame it all on my period.  But today, driving into work I am overcome with this awful feeling that I just can't shake. I'm trying to find some sort of meaning in this so that I don't let it completely overwhelm me because as the day goes on it's getting harder and harder to retain my composure and not crumple into tears (as I did earlier in my car.) I wish I could make it to my yoga mat tonight but I cannot and so I turn to writing in hopes to provide a bit of clarity to my jumbled up mind.  I found these words and I keep reading them to myself because it helps me to realize that regret is a normal feeling and I just need to accept it.  

I regret not fighting for myself and for what I deserved when I left Tim. I regret that I didn't stick up for myself because I felt like I just wanted to hide from this feeling of failure and panic. I regret that I'm not a fighter.  That I let him abuse me and take advantage of me and when he said it was over I just packed my bags and walked away.  I let him get away with it all - he didn't have to take responsibility for any of his actions or be held accountable.  I wanted to believe that he would stay true to his word and just give me my fair half of things and pay his fair half for what we owed.  I wanted to feel that in the end, I had what made me richer - the love of my family and friends, my own self-respect and the knowledge that I did it on my own. And yet today, when just another bill collector comes calling for him and I'm obligated to pay I feel like a weight has been dropped on my chest and like I'll never get out of the hole he dug me into.  I regret being so proud.  Too proud to ask for help.  Too scared to fight for myself.  I look at who I have become now, 6 years later and I regret like hell not having the courage to go after what would have been fairly mine.  Now that this still looms over my head and I feel like I'm pushing a boulder up a hill I hate that I let him take advantage of me yet again.  

I don't need to be rich - far from it but I work my tail off and I just want to breathe easier.  I just want to be able to have a comfortable life, where paying bills every month doesn't give me complete anxiety.  I want to be able to not feel so guilty in wanting to buy myself a $100 pair of boots that I try them on 3 times while in the store and ultimately leave without them, telling myself that I'll just polish up the ones that I have and when there's extra I'll treat myself even though I know I won't.  I am a professional and a business owner.  I am a grown up.  This is not where I should be at this point in my life.  I should be making a good salary and have money saved for retirement.  I should not drive a 15-year-old hatchback and live in an apartment.  I should have a solid career. 

I can't believe that I married a man who would be so awful to me.  Who would take such advantage to be unfaithful, to spend our assets and acquire debt and leave me to pick up the pieces.  Someone who promised to always take care of me who could care less about the stress it puts me under and about what I had to endure post-divorce to get my life back in order as he just continued to live in our home, spend our money and sell off our assets without providing anything for me.  He fucked up and I paid the price.  And as much as I believe in karma and tell myself that that ultimately he will get what is coming to him for the way that he treated me, today I just feel like I got the shit end of the proverbial stick.  I look at my girlfriends who have married these wonderful men who take care of everything. They make good money and ensure that they have a nice home and a nice car to drive, that they can go on vacations and that they have money saved for a rainy day.  Husbands who say "go out shopping with your girls and buy yourself something nice." They have partnerships. They have someone who looks out for them and cares about their lives.  I look at them and I wonder if I'll ever have that. For the first time in so many years now I see this possibility and I am so scared that he'll see what I financial fuck up I am.  And as much I am determined to get out of this and I know that in 3 years I will be debt free, I worry so much that this will be what makes him go running rather than tell me it will be ok and help me figure it out.  

I regret allowing it to become overwhelming and not getting a handle on it earlier because if I had maybe I wouldn't be so worried that this could make me lose someone who I want to share my life with.  I regret not fighting for me, for standing up for what I deserved or for what was fair.  He just got away with it all and has moved on to this new life while I still pick up the pieces of what was destroyed by his actions.  Maybe it's just the fact that I'm turning another year older Friday and I am certainly not at a place where I thought I would be in my life.  Or maybe because it's the first time in a long time I feel like I've finally found something that I cherish and I'm scared to lose it.  Maybe it's just a shitty day where i can't stop crying at my desk but I have to get these thoughts out of my head and the only way I can do that is to write. I know that this feeling of regret reminds me that I always have something left to learn and I remind myself that I did what I thought best at that time and again had I done things different or if life had been different I wouldn't be exactly the person I am in this moment.  That as much as the past decade feels like an absolute struggle, I am stronger.  I am braver.  I am more me.  I need to let go of regret and remember that all of these moments happened FOR me to get me right here.  That I have learned from all of this and I continue to even in these moments of self-doubt.  I have to believe that as long as I keep fighting now and keep perservering that eventually this weight will lift.  That the fear will subside and maybe that this man of numbers will help me sort it out in a way to move forward rather then go running for the hills.  Through it all I have to remember those words that have kept me moving - that I fly by my own wings.  That within me I have the strength needed and that I may have just been treading water but I've managed to keep my head above water and eventually I will be able to just swim.  Maybe there is still a bit of self-forgiveness that needs to happen.  For now I need to just keep hustling and know that my original thought is still true - my richness may not come in the form of dollars but in what is actually priceless.... 

17 September 2016

There you are...

Earlier this month was JC & I's first adventure and we spent it in Chicago! It was actually lovely to get to just share time together, to be silly and laugh, to hold hands & explore and to get to fall asleep together every night.  The more time I spend with him, I realize how happy I am with him.  

For the longest time after Tim I couldn't picture ever marrying someone again.  I thought that it was just something I didn't need or want again.  Now here I am, sharing these moments with this wonderful man and for the first time I know it is what I wantI want that partnership and that commitment.  I think I told myself I didn't want it because realistically any of the men I dated between then and now I wasn't confident that they would be someone I could see myself with forever or secure that they would remain faithful to a marriage.  

One of my activity choices while we were in Chicago was to practice yoga at the planetarium, under the stars.  Thus crossing one of the to-do's off my 40 Things to Do Before 40 list.  It was a pretty magical experience and truth be told I could have geeked it up there all day! But to be there, looking up at the magic of the universe above us and knowing that JC was there practicing beside me, I decided that I needed to move on from any fear. He was there because this was something important to me.  He came up with this adventure for us to do together because he is sweet and lovely and generous.  I have never experienced having someone in my life so genuine and kind. 

Much of the past 6 years during my singlehood, I have been faced with the question of what I am "looking for" in a partner.  My answers were always quite simple.  I want to find someone who wants to go on adventures with me and someone who asks about my day.  The simplicity of wanting a partner who is kind and nice to me seemed to prove challenging.  Until now. 

I feel like each person I have met, dated or had feelings for was meant to come into my life to bring me here.  Even Tim.  I would likely never appreciate things like commitment, honesty and kindness without seeing how deliberately those things were missing from my marriage.  I have become so much more "me" because of all that I have endured, because of the journey and the work I have done to heal and to grow.  Truly life happens for us, not to us.  I do feel like it all has to happen to get us to where we need to be in life.  So as much as heartbreak sucks and as difficult as the past 5 years have been with all this change and loss, I finally feel like I'm coming out on top.  The fog has cleared. My heart feels light and full and happy.  

There was a moment on our trip where I finally knew that it was time, time to love again.  As much as over the past 6 months, allowing someone new into my heart again has left me, at times, hesitant and afraid.  As much as I have struggled finding that place where love trumps fear sometimes there comes this one moment of clarity that reminds me of how far I have truly come along this path of life.  Five years ago I wrote this post entitled "Love Trumps Fear" and I realize it's not just me that is scared.  Here I am, on a new adventure and I feel like I have found the man that my heart has been waiting for.  There is this moment where I realize I have been holding my breath for too long.  Slowly I exhale.  There you are.  xo

16 September 2016

tu me manques.....

In french they don't use the words "I Miss You", rather they say "Tu Me Manques" which translates to "you are missing from me."  I'm assuming it is because of my impending birthday but all I can think about lately is just how much I miss my dad.  All of a sudden all I can feel is how much he is missing from my life.  It overwhelms me in yoga. Sometimes I just start crying when I'm driving home from work and a song comes on that reminds me of him or when something good happens and I realize that I just want to tell him about it. There are so many moments where I feel him missing from me.

I was driving with mom the other day and she casually noted how crazy it is to think that it has almost been a year since he's gone.  How can that be? I feel like it just happened yesterday.  It's still so raw and vivid.  How can it already be a whole year since he's not been with us? How have all of these first things passed so quickly? Soon I will no longer be the age I was when we lost him.  It's like New Years when I couldn't imagine entering a year where he will never be.  So often, I do feel like he is missing from me, even if he's still in my heart.  I just want to hear him call me 'kid'.  I want to hear that giant, boisterous laugh and snuggle up next to him.  I want to hear him yell at me for sitting on the counter.  I want him here.  I want him to see how Davis is his spitting image and how happy both of his girls are.  I want him to see just how strong mom has been and be proud of her.  I just want my dad.  

Sometimes there are moments when I don't even think of him which scares me even more - that realization that days go by and he doesn't cross my mind.  I know my life has to go on without him but then I also don't want to lose him.  I don't want to forget to think of him or to miss him.  As I struggle to let go, I keep trying to think of the meaning behind his sudden death.  I think of how I was getting ready to leave Windsor again this same time last year.  How I thought that career and love for me must reside elsewhere.  So maybe he left to make me stay.  Maybe that was what needed to happen for me to know I couldn't leave again.  Maybe it's the reason I've now found career possibilities and love here.  Maybe as much as I am missing him from me, it is exactly what needed to happen for me to stay.  Maybe it's what needed to happen for all of us to realize things about ourselves and about each other.  My head understands that life must go on and continue to move forward but sometimes my heart needs extra time to catch up.  My heart needs to remember that as much as I feel him missing from me, that I need to be grateful to have had such a love that I feel the ache.  And as much as I miss him, he is always with me.  I carry him with me always.  I carry his heart, in my heart. 

11 September 2016

each year that passes....

Today marks 15 years since 9/11.  Today is the first time in all of those years that I did not wake up with nightmares remembering.  Today was the first time that I didn't sit and listen to the names of those that perished being read out loud. It's the first time in what feels like forever that I just woke up happy and at peace on this day.  Perhaps it's because I woke in the arms of a good man who makes me feel grateful and safe.  Perhaps it's because I got to spend the night prior witness to two friends pledge their love and share their life together.  Whatever the reason, it just felt nice to spend my morning sitting in the sunshine and feeling the breeze on my skin, sipping coffee, talking and laughing with JC.  It felt good to feel alive on this day for once rather than guilty.  It felt good not to relive all the memories. To realize that I can still feel grateful by being in this moment rather than living in that horrific moment of 15 years ago.

It's still there - inside of me there will always be the part that worries.  Last weekend when we were in Chicago walking towards the Hancock building, there were sirens coming from all over.  Firetrucks and police cars racing through the intersections, all of which gave me the uneasy feeling that still resides deep down.  As much as I like to think that I'm past it and I have moved forward from being afraid, there I was about to walk up to one of the tallest buildings in Chicago full of tourists and the sound of sirens made me anxious.  Was something happening? What didn't we know as we walked down that street? If we go up, is this building going to come crashing down? 
There is a part of me that knows it's an irrational fear but I suppose it is a part of me that will just be there always.  It may lay quiet inside of me but I still carry the worry. 

Maybe it is because the past few weeks have been filled with love and weddings and adventures but I feel very hopeful.  Our experiences shape us.  They are how we create our own sense of safety and how we learn from them ultimately dictates how we grow as people.  I suppose that I have learned a lot after living through 9/11 in regards to being grateful and being happy.   I've learned to say I Love You a lot more freely because things can change in an instant and I don't ever want the regret of not sharing how I feel.  Today as I was driving with mom she mentioned how crazy it felt to know that next month will already be a year since dad died.  It doesn't seem like that can even be true.  Almost all of the firsts have come and passed without him.  It still feels raw and yet the wound is starting to heal.  I suppose it's the same as with 9/11 - 15 years later perhaps the wound has really just healed.  The scar may still be there and life may never the be the same as it was prior to that day but life does certainly go forward.  That with each tragedy and each scary moment in our lives, we have the opportunity to learn and to grow.  And so today here I am, grateful for all these moments that have shaped me.  Grateful for the moment of waking up next to someone who gives me hope.  Grateful that here I am, 15 years later alive and still learning.  I will never forget.  But I will move forward.  xo

07 September 2016

Warrior One

So many of my greatest life lessons these past few years have occurred, or who's meaning have come to me on my yoga mat. Perhaps it is because it is there that I can truly take the time to allow myself to just be.  To allow my mind to calm and for thoughts to come forward.  It is there on my yoga mat, in my own space that I focus on all that I have to be thankful for, even in some moments where gratitude is far, far away.  Yoga is one of the only times my body and mind can remain still and be present.  As with anything, there are obviously moments where I am all over the place and without focus, but for the most part it is in the studio where I feel as though I have become friends with myself again.  Where I have taken the time to forgive myself and others, to reflect on lessons learned and to begin again.  It is where I have ultimately found my center, a place in which to come back to when things feel all over the place. 

The past few years have been spent healing, growing, and, ultimately rebuilding. These years of searching have been spent both running, writing and in yoga.  I never knew that I had lost myself until I was faced with complete change and realized how far away I felt from my own "me".  Sometimes as scary as it has been to "start over," there has been so much opportunity to refocus, to re-find myself, and to practice gratitude for all that I have experienced.  I am grateful for the woman I am now because I am finally myself again - a stronger, focused and more loving version of the self that was scared and broken returning home.
 
There are a few teachers I find that reach me more - where their intentions echo either what is in my mind or force me to focus on thoughts that I tend to ignore.  Dan's class 9 times out of 10 finds me in tears by final savasana and more often than not, it begins in reclined cobbler.  There have been many moments where I doubted my own strength and my own worth over the past decade and those feelings seem to overcome me in that pose.  The hand on my belly and the hand over my heart, in which I recant to myself that I have a strong body, a calm spirit and an open heart.  More recently, it has been Warrior One where I can feel something larger than myself.  The lunge into my legs is a physical reminder of my own strength and yet the extension up through my arms brings me out of that physical space.  I imagine that I am reaching to the sky, and makes me feel like I'm reaching up to my dad.  I feel like my arms are up towards the heavens, giving him a hug.  This last class with Dan I felt him there with me - as time goes on life feels more "normal" without him but that saddens me in a way because it scares me to lose him, to imagine days where I don't feel him by me.  

It's in those moments where I realized that my life didn't need to be compromised. That by taking the time to come back to my center and fill my heart with light, that eventually I would be in a place to share that with someone else again.  That once I began to live the story of my life, that I would have the chance to ultimately be the author.  It is my own power that lies so deep within and it is my own love of self that will attract great love.  Dan's reminders were always to just simply stay present.  It's two very simple words but most likely one of the hardest things to do in life.  Remain right here.  Do not think ahead and worry about what could be or what could possibly fall apart.  Do not look back and get stagnant in what has already happened or mistakes already made.  Learn from the past and grow.  Enjoy the moment of right now.  Just be content with life as it is.  Watch each day unfold and welcome it, knowing that each new day is a new chance.  A new chance to be alive, to be grateful, to share love.  

So, as Dan steps away from teaching for a while I can only hope that experiencing his yoga instruction can stay with me as I keep coming back to my mat.  I am grateful for each moment in which he guided me along this path, each reminder to stay present and be thankful, every ticklish foot rub and the many amazing playlists.  A student can only be as good as her teacher can lead her to be and for each lesson, I am forever indebted.  The light in me honours the light in you Dan. Namaste. xo