30 October 2016

vision board 2016

Sometimes when I can't find the words of my own, I look towards those of others to bring me solace.  At the beginning of the year I began a Vision Board - quotes and pictures of what I hoped to achieve in the year that lay ahead of me.  I'd be amiss if I didn't say that now, with November 1st just a few days away, it's hard not to notice the board and think of what this year has brought me.  

It's been a week filled with new changes, new beginnings masked as endings, grief, acceptance, forgiveness and in the end, bravery.  There have been many moments where I certainly have not exhibited strength but kept moving forward anyways.  

The items that I pinned to my vision board were a lot of 'end results.' They were photos of family, of adventures, of coziness and of love.  My word for the year being CONTENTMENT - perhaps not in the attainment of each goal but in the constant search.  That is where bravery lies, in the getting back up every day and continuing to search, to fight, to love and live.  It is easy to forget to stay present each day - to allow the vision of how we want our lives to be to occupy our thoughts.  Sometimes we need to find little instances of bravery rather than large exhibitions.  It is brave to keep searching when the little voice inside of us is scared.  It is brave to try to love again after your heart has been broken.  It is brave to trust that the universe will align as it is supposed to and those that are meant to be in your life will remain as others retreat. And sometimes bravery is staying true to what you know is important to you. We all grieve, love, and forgive at different rates and different times.  If it is true in your heart, follow it.  That is your bravery.  xo

24 October 2016

The Dance......



Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared 'neath the stars above
For a moment, all the world was right
How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance. I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance

Holding you I held everything
For a moment wasn't I a king
But if I'd only known how the king would fall
Hey who's to say you know I might have changed it all

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance. I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance

Yes my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain but I'd have had to miss the dance

Garth Brooks 

21 October 2016

the race is not only to the swift...

.... but to those that keep on running.  

These are words that I have recounted since high school.  Sometimes life happens and the way we envision it or plan it does not work out.  That does not make us unsuccessful - it makes us resourceful.  The same goes for the practice of yoga - it is not in our ability to perform postures but it is our continued dedication to get to our mat and practice.  How we use that time of meditation and reflection to positively change the way we live our life and our relationships with the people in it. 

There are times that perhaps I worry I am not at the place where I want to be in my life and then I realize that I am EXACTLY where I am SUPPOSED to be.  The "plan" I may have had for my life perhaps did not come to fruition but here I am and I am the best possible version of me that I could be at this moment in time.  There may be things that if given the gift of hindsight, I would possibly change.  However since time travel does not yet exist, I will be content with what is. My life has not gone the way I thought it would, however, that doesn't make me less satisfied with the space I am currently in.  The only constant in life is change.  We have the choice to accept it, adapt to it and grow from it or to let it defeat us.  There will always be moments where I wish I was further along in a career now that I choose to leave self-employment however I know that I will still do amazing things.  I have great experience from the last decade that will accompany me in each subsequent quest in life. 

My definition of success isn't necessarily restricted to monetary success (at this point in life) but rather in my own resiliency, in my ability to take people into my heart, in my dedication to bettering myself and in my own journey along my yoga mat.  It has most definitely been a huge factor of change over the past 6 years and I am forever grateful for it. As with life in general, we all want to get to the destination - to achieve our goals or perform a certain posture - but what is truly important are the moment of discovery along the way.  I feel that all things considered, I am happy. 

More and more as I realize that there is no need to rush into things - I feel happy to learn more and see what is important to me.  Life is all about relationships with those in our lives and they are full of moments to learn.  That success and achievement are really nothing without that feeling of fulfillment.  And for me it isn't about how many "things" I obtain but how many experiences I am blessed with.  Again, it is about the adventures of life, it is truly about the journey and stay present along the way. 

17 October 2016

365 days later....

A year ago my phone rang and rang in the middle of the night - my mother calling me to come help her as my father took his last breaths.  

I remember everything in complete detail.  From picking up my sister and driving to the hospital, thinking this must have been some sort of allergic reaction - not thinking that this was serious.  

I remember the plaid shirt and tights that I threw on to leave the house as quickly as possible. 

I remember walking into the ER and the lady instantly directing us to the waiting room where my mother, aunt and uncle sat.  The cardiac doctor who came back to the room and non-nonchalantly said "well we've lost him" and we sat in shock not completely understanding what was happening until I said the words "is he dead?" for actual clarity.  


We walked with my mom to go and see him - she took his had and cried in disbelief. I had to stand in the hall and try not to vomit.  

I still remember the words I said calling his brother to tell him what happened.  There is no easy way to break that kind of news. And yet it was my job to break that news over, and over again to everyone we loved the most. 

I remember taking my sister home and then going to my parents to put my mother to bed.  I cleaned the living room floor where they attempted CPR and laundered the sheets from his bed. 

I remember my aunt bustling in the door the next morning with her actual pot of brewed coffee and how within minutes the house was full.  I called family and the funeral home and Trillium.  I got my mom a book to write all the details in and track who she needed to thank.  

Some people talk of the fog they were in the days after they lost loved ones and yet I remember it all with absolute clarity, as though none of this was a year ago but more like last week.  

I remember the taste of whiskey on my lips, warming my belly and giving me the courage to say these final words; Words to My Father.

A year ago already. 

Miss you buddo xo xo

space & contentment

Something I shared not long ago spoke to the concept of practicing yoga in order to create space.  That it is not about the headstand or perfecting each individual pose, but it is in the journey of getting there. As is life, yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self like the quote states. My goal for 2016 was to stay focused on being present in everyday life, in order to truly live in contentment and today I realized that even though I've found a bit of happiness, I need to refocus.  It's funny how a sleepless night, a full moon and an aching heart can help to bring a little perspective back.  I laid in bed Friday watching the ceiling fan whip around with the same intensity as my thoughts.  Where did I go wrong? How did I lose my path? 

So much of my time over the past few years has been spent studying relationships and meditating on what kind of person I want to be and who I want to share life with. This may be the first time that I am having these feelings again but perhaps it is a good time to step back, re-focus and ensure to stay present.  You can hold love for someone in so many ways and at so many levels.  That love develops and changes over all kinds of time and perhaps, though I really am enjoying my time with JC and I have come to care about him a lot, I need to evaluate if I am in love or if I simply hold love for him. Admittedly, I tend to care deeply for people - friends, family, colleagues - and sometimes I may hold love too easily and end up hurt in the process.  That said, I have also learned so much from each experience and given the chance, I wouldn't change things.  

Laying awake all night was a bit of an active meditation for me.  I replayed conversations, I tried to look at things from the other point of view to see how I could have given the wrong idea, and I reflected on what I can do going forward.  I have not been conscious of the words I have said, which may have implied meanings that I did not intend.  I now realize that I need to pay more attention to myself.  I have not been staying present in any of this.  I have allowed myself to get swept up and carried away.  The words "I am unsure" definitely did not feel great to hear but it did make me reflect and ask myself was I sure? What do the words actually mean? I am sure that I want to currently be in this relationship and get to know JC more, I want to see what develops and I want to potentially pursue this further.  I do have questions that I still need to answer to know if he is who I can see something long-term with.  The only thing I am sure of is that I do want a forever with someone again, when for long I thought it wasn't something that I desired again.  

These are all lessons. It's amazing how much one can learn from Google at 3am - my search history is now even crazier than usual!  I need to be more present, not only with my words but understanding how they can come across to others. I may think I'm having an innocent discussion on the value of my apartment vs moving to something smaller and it could come across as 'let me move in here'.  I may get frustrated after a day of rushing around that I forgot things that I need, and in my expression of that, it could come across as frustration with the pace of our relationship when really I just was tired and hate rushing.  Yes sometimes when I'm over I do wish that I had things with me that aren't there. But maybe rather than simply just thinking I can leave things there, I need to realize that this may come off as pushy.  So I can easily go back to just a nightie and a toothbrush in the small drawer.  I will make an effort to think of the implications of the words out of my mouth and even on here.  I will not assume that just because it's the weekend, that he wants me to stay over and I will wait for an invitation.  I will welcome both of us to spend more time at my apartment so that it doesn't feel like I'm never there.  As comfortable as staying in a relaxing is, I still want date nights out and I want conversations to get to know parts of each other more.  That there is no need to rush and I am content with the process of discovering each other and our relationship together. 

So as much as it felt like a punch in the gut this weekend to hear the words "I'm still unsure," perhaps it's not translated to him saying "I think we should end this" (as was my first thought) and maybe it's just let's keep going slow to see if we work.  Maybe we all need to be more conscious about the words we say and what they come across as to others.  It's been a reminder that my journey and my own self-development is ongoing every day as I read, as I write and the time spent on my yoga mat.  I'm currently doing the work so I may learn lessons at a different pace. Journeys to our self are through our pasts, through our fears, and within our own hearts. 

12 October 2016

those last breaths.....

 
There is a very special bond that ties grandparent to grandchild.  I was lucky to be one of my Nana's cherished few.  She didn't love freely like most grandmothers.  She is probably the one who taught me how to look for the love people give, rather than the love we expect.  She rarely said those three small words but there was never a moment that I questioned her care for me.  I remember the last days with vivid memory - all of us gathered in her room together sharing stories, holding her hand and mixing drinks with the hospital crushed ice.  When she decided that enough was enough, it was only me that could get her to listen to the nurses or eat her meals.  I remember my mom and my aunts calling me to come down there because she wouldn't cooperate for anyone else.  I loved that little, old lady with all that I am.  

It's interesting how people often recount their loved ones deaths and how they say that it seemed as though they were "waiting" until it was the perfect time to let go. Nana did the same.  We all knew that morning that the time was near.  We gathered in her room for prayers and last rights.  My mother turned her bed towards the sunshine and whispered in her ear to feel the warmth and think of returning home.  We each held her hand for a few moments and got to say the last words of love and thank you.  It wasn't until it was just the few of us - her children and me - all gathered around her bedside watching as each breath took more time to come.  Our eyes glued to her chest to see it rise and fall, our breath held and works of comfort telling her to go and that we would all be ok.  Hoping that as she let go, that she would hear us and know just how loved she was.  The last breath was deceiving.  She took one last gasp and scrunched her face, a final tear escaping as she exhaled, and that was it.  On the edge of our seats, our eyes focused on her chest waiting for it to rise once again but we knew that she had finally left us.  I held my mother as she held her mother's hand and we all cried knowing that our family would never again be the same without her.  

JC's grams isn't well.  Like mine, she is well into her 90's and has lived a full life but that really does not make it easier to think of days ahead without them.  The bond and the love that the two of them share is special and as much as logically he is ok with this being her time to go, I know that his heart aches to think of losing her.  All I want to do is wrap my arms around him and have him tell me a million stories of his time with her so that she lives on.  We are some of the lucky few to have had such great love with their grandmothers.  And for him, that bond superceeds anything else.  She was more than a grandmother to him.  She was there for him and shared time with him, illustrating just how special he is to her.  It brings me back to thinking of Nana when i hear him talk about her - how she refuses to take medicine or eat without him there and how she tells him how special he is to her.  When he talks of her, that confident, polished, immensely smart grown man that he is fades away into this sweet, young boy who is just looking for someone to love him.  When mom couldn't be there and without dad around, grandma was there.  She was the one who took him to church on Sundays and followed him in the car as he did papers on rainy mornings.  She was there to love him in the times that he needed that the most.  To lose this woman is to break his heart and to know that there is nothing I can do to help almost breaks mine.  

This song came up in my memories feed on Facebook today and it made me think a lot today about what makes me feel the luckiest.  Last year when I had originally shared it, it was Thanksgiving and it played during the final shavasana making me think of just what things, people and experiences I am so very grateful for.  We are the luckiest because we have known the great love of our grandmothers.  We are lucky to have so many memories to cherish and so many lessons learned to shape us.  How blessed may we be to one day have the same love and bond with a grandchild, or perhaps a nephew in my case.  As much as I have found peace with not having children there are moments when I think of my Nana and it saddens me not to get that bond with a grandchild because to me it was so special and sweet.  In this week of gratitude, I am thankful.  I am thankful that JC was able to love Gma so fully and sweetly and that he was gifted her devotion in return.  I am thankful that I had my Nana whose voice sometimes echos in my memories. We are truly the luckiest for the love that was gifted to us.  My honour was to share that last breath with her and to know that in her last moments with us she could feel our hearts around her.  For that love, I truly am the luckiest. 

10 October 2016

blessings....

They come in all shapes and sizes.  They are both tangible and intangible.  They are lengthy and they are fleeting but none the less, they are there.  

This weekend is Thanksgiving and yesterday we came together to celebrate as a family - which was also JC's first holiday experience with the fam jam.  It was a great day - it started with pancakes and a bike ride together enjoying a brisk yet bright fall morning.  Then some baking, reading and relaxing in the sunshine before dinner.  It was a bittersweet kind of day, because as with all the important days and many of the just regular days, I missed Dad. Last Thanksgiving was the last time I saw my dad alive.  It was the last time I wrapped my arms around him and snuggled in for a hug.  The last time I heard the words "Love you Kid" besides in my dreams.  It feels like that day was last week, not last year.  I remember the exact interaction from that day.  It's hard to believe that next week marks a year.  As it gets closer I feel like my heart hurts just a little bit more.  There were a lot of tears yesterday thinking of him - thinking of all the things we were thankful for a year ago and all of the new blessings to keep in our hearts this year.  

I am so very grateful that my family is close - I can't imagine not having all the memories I have with them or just the comfort of all being in the same room together, sharing a meal with laughter and so much love.  I see friends who dread seeing their family on holidays and I can't imagine what my life would be like without all these crazy people.  I know that I am blessed by having them.  That as hard as things may be - times like losing dad - that everyone steps up and comes together.  We are blessed to have each other and no holiday goes by without realizing just how lucky I am.  

If I count my blessings this year, here are my top five for 2016:
1. A healthy body - something we take for granted too much.  I need to remember to fuel my body with good foods and less treats.  I will find my grove with running again and continue to grow my yoga practice to celebrate this blessing. 
2. My family - without whom I wouldn't be the person I am. They are loud, and crazy and love so fiercely that I know that they have my back no matter what.  I could never have gotten through any of my life's challenges to date without them at my side.
3. JC - for a friendship that has turned into romance, with a man who is kind, and smart and downright adorable.  I am grateful for the way he makes me laugh, for the way he says good morning to strangers, for his indulgence to always build me a campfire and slow dance in the dark before bed. 
4. My co-workers - they have reminded me what it feels like to be a part of a team and have welcomed me to theirs with open arms.  They are sweet and generous people and I am lucky to share my days with them. 
5. My yoga mat - it has been a place of solitude and meditation.  I have come to my mat to get through heartbreak, to gain clarity, and to regain perspective.  It is on my mat where I have reminded myself to stay present and to live with the goal of contentment.  I have cried tears and I have found joy on my mat.  I discover parts of me with each practice and for that I am extremely grateful.  

These are just a few of what fills my heart today.  I hope that whomever may stumble upon this takes a moment to list your blessings too.  Let's try to remember what warms our hearts every day and to say I Love You as much as you feel it because life changes in the blink of an eye.  I am grateful for that last hug with my dad a year ago.  I hope that on this beautiful day that he was shining down on us.  That just maybe he was soaring overhead during my bike ride, or watching us all sit down for a meal together.  I hope that wherever his spirit may be, that he knows how much we all love him and miss him.