11 July 2017

the best is yet to come...

A long drive to the cottage, paired with sitting in traffic stand-stills in both directions, gives a gal lot of time to think.  Lately, I've been really thinking about my word for this year and what it means to me.  My "Year of 40" list was created thinking of not only adventures that I've always wanted to do, but thinking of things that make me live out "courage".  In creating it, I began thinking of the concept of "going over the hill," and how that was supposed to symbolize that you are at the half way point of your life. What things have I always wanted to do and haven't yet experienced? Can I be more courageous? Can I push myself out of my comfort zone? 

Most likely the one on the list that scares me the most is #5 "Say I Love You to someone".  It's not about the simple words of that statement because obviously words are easy, but it is the action of trusting myself again to allow love in.  Having the courage to distinctly remember how much heartbreak hurts but to stay open anyways.  Courage to allow someone to see the real me may be the hardest of all.  I've been scared to let potential mates inside for fear of either not being enough, or being too much.

I think of courage in way that recognizes that relationships involve putting ourselves on the line and opening up to the most vulnerable complexities of our insides, hoping that the person we are trusting our heart to, holds it as gentle as we do.  For a lot of years I have wondered if I deserved the kind of love that others have.  I've doubted my own capacity for it.  Coming into this fortieth year I finally feel confident in that all who have graced my path of love thus far have been stepping stones.  I have complete faith that my life is meant to be shared with someone and that he is lurking just around the corner.  It is with this new chapter of my life where I have come to love myself more than I ever have.   If you would have asked me a few years ago if I would have imagined that this year would hold such significance for me., I likely would have said no.  I most likely would have anticipated that turning 40 would be hard and lonely feeling.  But the fact that I am looking forward to celebrating this milestone has kind of crept out of the woodwork and surprised me. The last decade has been one of change for me. There have been many goodbyes, changes, and new beginnings.  

Something I read today stated "we hurt, so we can grow" which I find interesting ... and true. The human body is an expert at healing & regenerating and nothing does that more so than our proverbial hearts.  I am no stranger to hurt.  I am ready to grow.  I am thankful for the chance to grow.  Living to celebrate forty turns around the sun isn't something that everyone gets to experience.  It's not lost on me that my father died early - living only 26 years beyond this 40th milestone.  I takes my breath away to think that our time is so limited here on this earth and I am yet again reminded to take chances, to live every moment and to love as big as we possibly can.  

Taking risks isn't easy.  It's hard to leap. Especially when there are others depending on you.  One of my dearest friends is at a crossroads and considering an significant life change to follow a dream.  Deliberately choosing change for your life is probably one of the scariest things to do because you are responsible for it.  It's easy to make a career shift if you've been laid off and the change is necessary.  It's easier to move when you've outgrown your home or it's outgrown you.  But to be in something safe and secure and choose yourself above everything else isn't easy.  And as the quotes says, it could very well not work out but my gosh if it does, it truly could be the best and most rewarding adventure ever.  I choose to believe that that which we go after with our whole hearts, is truly how we will grow. 

And we can apply this to most things in our lives - relationships, location, career.  There are no guarantees but we will definitely never succeed if we don't try.  "That which we manifest is before us," as Enzo says in The Art of Racing in the Rain.  "There is no dishonour in losing.  There is only dishonour in not racing because you are afraid to lose." We cannot let fear stop up.  We cannot let the possibility of losing keep us from trying because we will certainly never win if we never try. So I shared this quote with her today in hopes that she will always know that I am there behind her in support of the "leaps" in life.  The two of us share the words "be brave" inked on our skin and I know deep down in my heart that her pursuit of this new path will be successful.  Not only because it will bring her not only monetary reward, but because of the self-accomplishment, pride and growth that is sure to happen.  The best parts are in the journey through. If in the end it doesn't work, there will be a new path.  But the moments that she lived her dream will be the best adventure ever.  

For myself, I am taking this quote to heart in that I feel as though I have finally come to the point that my heart feels ready to welcome love again.  I am ready for that next adventure. I can take the lessons that I learned from my relationship with JC and appreciate that I now know to always trust my own instinct (a post for another day!). I can finally see someone in front of me that I can imagine sharing life with.  I can imagine late night whispered conversations and quiet Sunday afternoons.  I don't know yet what will be or what these feelings mean but all that matters is that I finally feel at peace in my heart and looking forward.  Maybe it won't work out. But maybe seeing if it does will be the best adventure ever..... xo 

05 July 2017

no words....

There are approximately 8 posts sitting here in my draft folder - partially written, thoughts all over the place.  They are about both wonderful & challenging snippets of my life that have happened over the past eight weeks.  The moments in them are happy, thankful, and contemplative, though at times also confused.  For one of the first times in my life, I have had writers block, or at least that is what I have self-diagnosed my inability to complete a written thought. I don't know how to explain it really - sometimes, when the words in my head are too many, sometimes there aren't enough, or I can't seem to get them out and then I lose focus.  I've had the worst pain in my neck since April and after a very lovely Reiki treatment, Sarah asked me if I've been holding something back, and the answer is yes I have words that are stuck in my throat.  I don't know where the best place is to start, except that my goal every day is simply to remain present so that is where I will attempt to begin.  Here & now.  What is on my mind and in my heart today? I shall go forward from here.  (My apologies in advance for any onslaught of completed posts).

We've just passed the midway point to the year and last night in yin, my mind went to reflecting on this.  Am I "living" my word for 2017? Am I in fact being courageous and stepping outside of my comfort zone? Am I crossing things off my 'forty in the year of 40' list? Am I looking at my vision board and manifesting what I want into my life? It's the check in point and I'm asking myself where I am at.  Seems the perfect place to pick up where I have left off in the past few months of writers block.  Have I been lacking courage by not actually allowing what I've been feeling to materialize into words? Until they are written, are they in fact true? 

The ironic thing to me is that over the last few weeks, when I have struggled to focus, I've had a few friends who have comment to me that I have inspired them.  For the life of me I can't see how.  To be completely honest, I sometimes lie on my mat each night and wonder how I got through the day. I can't even fathom how I have affected others in such a positive light.  There have been moments in the past few months where I felt like I was barely holding on, seeking inspiration more than I think giving it.  Perception is an interesting beast - where we see ourselves may not always equate to how others do.  

So here we are already in July and I spent some time with my "list" today making revisions to ensure that what I am including are things that challenge me, move me forward and are an example of my word for the year. OK, let's be honest some things are also completely random and just for fun but that is what life is about right?! To date, I've only crossed off 5 so I've got a bit of work to do.  But I can't stay stuck - I need to let go of these past few months of smog and jump back into my life.  It's ok to stumble, but you have to get back up.  So.... here I am, getting back up and to keep myself accountable I'm sharing my list with others (slightly revised from v1).  Here we go..... 



Yoga under the stars 
Chicago Architecture Boat Tour 
Ride on a motorcycle
Have something published 
Say I Love You 
Climb a mountain 
Visit a new province 
Sleep under the stars (in a tent!) 
Try Korean Food 
Learn proper Italian 
Go on a Yoga Retreat 
Watch Star Wars 
Go on an impromptu road trip 
Visit a Cider Mill for a tasting  
Learn to write my name in Calligraphy 
Learn how to curl my hair 
Take a roll of pictures with Dad's camera 
Ride in a helicopter 
Make a retirement plan  
Read Little Women
Open bubbly on a weeknight 
Hold a headstand & handstand for three full breaths 
Bungee jump/sky dive/zip line
Sew a dress for myself 
See live ballet/Cirque/Rockettes
Take a spa day 
Travel solo & stay in a hostel 
Go to a Drive-In movie 
Skinny Dip 
Do something that scares me
Host a dinner party & use my "good plates" 
Learn an instrument
Perform in front of people
Train for something  
Go on a picnic 
Ice Skate on an outdoor pond 
Get my arrow tattoo & finish Dad's
Try surfing 
Buy a car for myself
Attend a live outdoor concert

26 March 2017

the art of racing in the rain

Last night I went to celebrate the birthday of the first boy that stole my heart.  As we begin this year of 40, it is just the beginning of numerous parties and celebrations.  It was nice though, to see him and his family and friends from that part of my life.  Amazing how quickly 25 years can pass.  I do feel very grateful that, (spare 1 very abusive relationship,) I have stayed pretty great friends with every boy that I have dated.  Our loves are perhaps just moments in time, stops along a great path to get us to our ultimate love. I just think that once you share something so intimate as your heart with someone, there will always be a piece of you attached to each other.

My gift to Rich was a copy of my favourite book, The Art of Racing in The Rain by Garth Stein.  This book is written from the perspective of Enzo the dog, whose "human" was a race car driver and many of the lessons taught in the subtext of the book were given in the context of racing.  One of my favourites was "In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." What we put out is what we receive back.  And there is no dishonour in losing, it is only in never trying.  Which is equatable to love - we cannot be afraid to love because we have a fear of it not working out.  If we never try, we will certainly never succeed or receive love.  "That which you manifest, is before you." We are the creators of our own destiny.  Life, like race car driving, isn't only about going fast or winning.  The importance of living well is staying present and enjoying each moment.  Racing in the rain is about balance, anticipation and perspective.  Rain is an obstacle, and we will always have obstacles in our lives but it doesn't mean that we have to stop racing, living, or loving.   My birthday wish to him was love and peace and the ability to stay present and enjoy every moment that life has to offer.  I am thankful that he loved me so much all those years ago. 

I have to say it was a lovely experience to get to hug my first love.  I don't think that many get to have that.  I am grateful to have had that heart experience all those years ago, at a time that I definitely wasn't ready to accept the love that he wanted to give me.  It overwhelmed me then, that someone could care so much about me.  As we enter this milestone year, I think it's natural that we get a bit more introspective and think about where we are in our lives, what we have and what we desire.  And that isn't necessarily a bad thing to step back and evaluate.  Hopefully by looking at all that we have to be grateful for, we can find satisfaction in our present state rather than always worry about the future or wish for what is to come.  Sometimes it is important to stand still. Being still is necessary before moving forward. Stillness allows us to be satisfied with our current state, with what we have and where we are on our journey.  Perhaps we all need a bit more stillness to be grateful and present.  Perhaps that these moments and reflections are not only the gifts I choose give to others, but that they are a gift to myself in the same moment as I learn and grow.  Perhaps the gift isn't in the receiving, but in the giving. 

23 March 2017

the luckiest....

Last night before bed I wrote two slips for the gratitude jar, one of which said that I was thankful for my dining room table.  It is 6 feet of solid wood, flanked by two long benches on either side.  As opposed to chairs, when you sit with others it actually causes you to be in closer proximity to them; to feel their energy, their vibrations. I recently thought of exchanging this table for something newer, fancier with pretty little chairs around it but I am so happy that I stuck with my gut on this one.  This table has water stains, scratches and a giant chunk out of one of the benches.  So needless to say it's perfect.  I've been so home focused the past few months - cleaning, purging and reorganizing.  I've been making my space more mine and it feels wonderful.  It's really just like me - cozy, comfortable, a little messy, eclectic and welcoming.  So many times in the past year I've contemplated moving to a smaller space since it is just me in there but I am so happy that I've chosen to stay.  

But back to my table.... Last night was "Craft Night" so the ladies were over and in typical fashion we brought out the food & wine and took our places in the dining room.  I glued a few things back together as we sat and caught up but no one else even reached for their supplies.  Everyone was content to sit around the table, sip Cab Sauv and eat wayyyyy too much cheese.  I can't even begin to recant all of the conversation but there were moments where we were laughing so hard that my head was actually resting on the table trying to catch breath.  I believe it could have been when we were trying to help Sandra figure out how to stand her ground in the boys-club of the banking world and Sarah's best advice when a client hit on her was to pretend that she had diarrhea. Admittedly probably not the best advice in the world but certainly more effective than mine of standing in Superwoman stance before a meeting. These girls have only come into my life over the past few years, since returning to Canada but my gosh have they become such a lovely part of my world.  I am so thankful.  

Last week Ash & Ne came over for Saturday night dinner & drinks and we never left the table. The entire evening we sat, ate, talked and opened bottle after bottle of wine.  I mean you know you've had too much when one of you (Ne) creates a special, secret facebook group where only the three of you are allowed! But here we were - NeNe I've known since her birth and so will always be a sister to me, Ash again I've only known a few years but has become so dear to me and the two of them only recent friends.   But sitting there all together it was as though the friendship had just always been.  That dining room table has hosted the Wilderness Girls, all of my family, Danah my ladybug, morning coffee with Julie, couples dinner parties and even romantic dinners for two. There has probably been every kind of food and beverage served on that surface.  Those around it have told endless stories, laughed, cried and cursed.  A part of each of these amazing circles of friends who I have somehow circled into my world have all sat on those benches and became a part of my home.  


Part of losing my father was gaining insight to the similarities between us that I wasn't really aware of while he was alive.  It was something I noted in his eulogy - that one of the best things about him was that wherever he went, he made a friend. And now, losing him, even my dad's friends reach out to me now to check in and make sure we are all ok.  Hearing from John last week really helped because my heart felt super heavy missing Dad.  Sometimes, like last night and on the drive in to work today, I can take a step back and see just how lucky I am for all the people who I carry in my heart.  I am so blessed.  I tend to make friends easily and I put a lot of effort into these relationships.  This poster sits next to my gratitude jar so I can read it daily - it perfectly sums up what I believe my life purpose to be, and that is to LOVE. I have many groups of friends from all times and areas of my life - some of which have now intertwined as well which makes me happy.  I am so blessed to have both the Rossi Posse and the Wilderness Girls, all who have been in my life since High School.  A few even from elementary school! We have bonds unlike any others and have literally seen each other through everything in life.  Love, heartbreak, marriage, divorce, children, infertility, career changes, new homes, losing parents... I have friends like Amanda whom I met playing travel softball at 15 and friends from University whose main contact is still penpal letters.  I have those who are newer friends that were made after returning to Canada - fellow Walkervillians and business owners in the 'hood. Craft Ladies. The Babes of WECHU. My strongest friendships are those within my own family, my sister and cousins and their children whose bond is forever unbreakable.  I am actually the luckiest! These people have all sat around that worn-in, comfortable dining room table and made their mark on my life and I wouldn't trade it for all the riches in the world.  My only hope is truly that at the end of my life, when I look back I can say that I Have Loved. And I hope that in whomever says my eulogy, their words include that "wherever she went, she made a friend." xo 

20 March 2017

spring


Well here we are ...Officially the Spring Equinox and the International Day of Happiness! That would seem to be a pretty good mix!  I just completed 108 sun salutations with my Moksha sangha and I am still feeling the love and energy of that crew.  My life has been about making space since the start of this year.  Space in my home, in my mind, in my body and most of all in my heart.  It's a time to open up and let things go and welcome new blossoms.  I've been feeling a mixture of hurt and anger for the past week because of one word in a sentence that I'm sure probably hasn't been given much of a second thought.  That said, today being a day of beginning, my intention is to release these thoughts and try my best to leave it behind me.  How lucky are we to have Spring and this beautiful reminder of all the possibility that lies ahead? 

Admittedly I am a pretty easy going gal - even faced with things of great pain or adversity, I usually find a way to come through with acceptance and optimism.  It take a lot for me to be upset or offended, but that said, when others take my simplicity & lightness as a pass to condescend it hurts my heart.  I am a smart, well-educated woman and I refuse to ever accept being spoken down to.  People have differing ways of thinking but that does not make one more important than the other.  There is no way that I have weathered all of these storms, picked myself up from darkness and carried through, without having the strength and self-knowledge to decide what is, in fact, best for me. I appreciate when someone is looking out for me, however I think it is the assumption behind these words which has hurt me.  I primarily do think with my heart first but my head is not far behind.  I've taken a lot of flack for loving people long after they have turned their back to me but that's ok.  Not a lot of people love the way that I do. Once you are in my heart, you are there forever.  I will hold your hand when you falter and I will hold you in my arms when you fall.  Words are important to me and so when they feel hurtful, it is disappointing.  For the past week, this word has been echoing in my head but standing here on the brink of this new season, I leave it behind me.  

Today, as the first day of Spring, we create intentions of what new beginnings we hope for and ask for the peace and strength to release where we are venturing from. I need to accept that we don't always get the opportunity to speak the words that we'd like to. The Spring Equinox is a time to honour yourself and your journey.  We spend a great deal of our lives running away from darkness, pain or sadness, when in fact we need these emotions to understand the complexity of light, happiness and gratitude.  We need Winter to have Spring, the mud to have the lotus. We are all on this same journey and today is a day to honour that.  All of these moments that we experience both together and on our own -  good & bad, beginnings & endings, chaos & peace.  With each movement that we took together tonight as a group, we fed off the energy of each other and pushed ourselves to welcome this new season as one.  No matter what, i always get to carry with me each lesson that I have learned and reminders of every path that has lead to me where I stand today.  On my mat, breathing strong and saluting that beautiful sun 108 times.  I felt so unbelievably strong and grounded tonight.  Even if often misunderstood, I am so very happy that I lead with heart and that I choose to allow it to fill with light. 


The rebirth of Spring is so much more anticipated than the other seasons because we come out of this time of cold, hibernation, and endings.  Today is our first day balanced equally between darkness and light. May we continue to strive for that balance in all areas of our lives and even between our heads and our hearts.  May we accept that not all words get to be spoken and that sometimes we forgive without an apology.  Every ending is truly a new beginning so as we let go, we also create space for the next adventure that lies ahead.  Happy Spring! xo 

01 March 2017

spread love...

In looking at my life, this quote pretty much sums it up.  I was asked why I write this blog when secretly I hope that no one I know is reading it.  The answer is simply to hope that if some stranger out there in wherever, stumbles up on this and finds words that they connect to - either those that are uplifting or even reading through the moments that are challenging.   I hope that as I sometimes share what seems to be a struggle, that if someone can read it and know that they aren't alone perhaps in what they feel then it may serve as a bit of a lift.  My goal is to put happiness, gratitude and positivity out into the universe because i do believe that we get back what we give out.  But (as much as I live in a world of rainbows & unicorns) I also know that there are going to be moments of struggle and change because that is how we grow.  Sometimes when we feel most alone is when we just need that simple connection to know that someone understands us, and that tomorrow is always another day.  For me, when I'm thinking through something I feel weighted down and as soon as I can put them into words it's as though that has been lifted.  

Today begins the 40 days of Lent - a time of sacrifice and reflection as we prepare for the one of the most important times in Catholicism, Easter.  I do tend to give up items that are a challenge as a way to cleanse my body however over the past few years I chose to not only focus on what was going into my mouth, but coming out of it as well.  So over the next few weeks, I will also send out 40 pieces of "happy" mail to friends and family thanking them for being a part of my life. I've cut zillions of little hearts to go in each envelope so that literally I'll be spreading love all over the gosh darn place! 

So here we are with an opportunity to reflect over these last few weeks of winter and begin to prepare to come out of hibernation as spring unfolds.  It's a time of rebirth and a time of extended light - all of which make me excited to see what lies ahead.  Over the past few days of struggling with some pretty dark thoughts, today I feel lighter just knowing that I have thought them through, felt them and now released them.  I accept what I cannot change and look ahead knowing that there must be something wonderful just beyond my reach.  I realize that I don't want someone who so swiftly will walk away from me without discussion - I want a partnership and that entails two imperfect people willing to talk things through, to see the other person's point of view, compromise when there is disagreement and forgive when there is hurt. All I know is I have learned so much in this past year and I feel as though my heart came alive again.  It's hard to believe that it was this time last year when JC and I began really talking again and though it certainly did not end up as I had hoped, I am a much better person for having loved him.  And in the end what matters most is that people leave us happier, stronger, better and loved.  So over the next 40 days take a moment and tell someone you love them or share with them a memory that you treasure and light up their day.  Put good into our world. xo

27 February 2017

ego, paired with a dose of regret & hints of shame...

Many a teacher has said that our yoga practice is a reflection of our life - that our mat is a mirror inwards. This week, that has become even more apparent. I realize that my own insecurity in my practice and in my heart are what holds me back. After extended reflection, I can see more clearly that my ego often makes me afraid to try and from that, stems regret. Sometimes I have to sit with something a while until it makes sense to me - which has been the case with even this post, taking me close to a week to organize my thoughts.

At the studio, I often shy away from classes that I think are beyond me. However, this past week I took a Flow Fly class for the first time in an attempt to push myself out of my comfort zone. My therapist has asked me to make good on the "do something that makes me uncomfortable" intention on that darned "40 before 40" list. Sarah's intention in class was for us not to tell ourselves that we are "weak" in moments where we struggle with something, but rather to take that as an opportunity to find strength. There were a lot of poses that I couldn't get and I heard the familiar voice inside me say "you can't do this - you're not strong enough, you're not good enough." But with each breath, I could also hear Sarah say "this is where you grow," and I was determined to keep trying. This is where yoga makes me stronger - it makes me recognize my insecurities and accept them rather than hide from them. I do realize that yes I could continue my regular practice but how amazing could it be if I could, in fact, learn to fly?

Thinking back to NYE I was not expecting the kind of revelation that I received. From it, a lot of things became clearer and I recognized that I've hidden from some things long enough. Maybe it's because this is the first time I've loved again post-divorce, but this heartbreak is long to heal and I think this week I've finally realized why. First I just don't want to give up on it yet and maybe it is because I am full of regret and I don't know how to resolve that. Yet. I feel like I didn't give it a real chance because I held back. Because of my own insecurities, words I wrote were taken incorrectly and have hurt someone I love. I don't know if I can ever clear that up and that, more than anything, hurts my heart knowing that I hurt his.

Ego & regret play such a role in many areas of our life and sometimes, without reflection, we are blind to it. Our egos get in the way of us pushing past our limits. They often hold us back from doing what scares us because we are so darn afraid of failure. In life. On our mat. There is a constant struggle of holding on and letting go. It's often why we are so scared to tell others how we feel because we fear lack of reciprocation. But we shouldn't care for others only because we want it in return. We feel what we feel because it is ours to feel. I am quite free with sharing when I care with others, but I do so well aware that those sentiments may not be returned and without expectation. I will say I am happy or I love you when I feel it because I have felt the regret of missing that chance with others in my life.

Regret is not a feeling I enjoy living with. I realize that I've been quick to assign the "disconnect" in our relationship to him, yet through reflection (and a bit of external professional guidance) I realize and accept that I am equally a part of that blame. As much as he may have kept his heart guarded, I am just as guilty of holding back. My ego kept me from fully allowing him to see me and though I was sharing parts of myself, I was guarded. My battered ego brought out the feeling of judgement - self-judgement - on not being "enough". Not at all because he made me feel this way, but because I was in such a place that I didn't feel as though I deserved someone like him.
I remember writing in my journal sometime mid-summer that I wished I could just talk with him all day and all night. I wished that I could tell him everything and I wished I could listen to all of his stories, his thoughts, his memories. Thinking that we had forever, I felt no need to rush - I assumed that I had so much time to tell him. I regret taking that time for granted.

I find strength in written words, however I often hid behind them. I am sometimes hesitant to verbalize what I feel or what I am thinking because I know that I can't do so without breaking down or remaining stoic. I'm learning more of why that is, of why I have this constant need to be perceived as strong and that is a story for another day. If I had the chance to say them, my apology would be something like this...

I don't know how to put into words the feeling of absolute shame and foolishness that one feels when they have been cheated on, over and over again, seeing the signs and being naive to the excuses. It's like you never want to look someone in the eye again because you wonder if they are judging you. Obviously I was not a good enough wife or a good enough girlfriend because I was cheated on. How did someone I love, someone I pledged my life to, play me for a fool? A decade of lies with one man. Then the few others post divorce treated me just as badly. However, there truly was not ever a moment where I doubted JC - never. For the absolute first time in my adult life I completely trusted someone again. And that was something I never thought I would feel. Before him, I resigned myself to never wanting to ever marry someone again because I was sure that I never feel that trust again but there he was... And for the first time in a very long time I believed. But in the moments where I felt insecure, I held back rather than just sharing that with him. My insecurity was my demon. I don't know if it would have changed anything but I would have asked more questions which I think would have put myself at ease. I tried to keep the serious conversations to a minimum out of respect of his request to go slow.

When things ended, it came completely out of the blue to me and I wondered how I could be feeling like everything was happy and then bam it's just done. Was I completely off base? Was I a total fool for thinking that he was falling in love with me? The first question out of everyone's mouth was "what happened? is there someone else?" and my answer was easily "No, that is not him." Even when Cheryl told me about Shelley thinking that him and her were something, I easily dismissed it knowing that it was probably just his sweetness being misconstrued. But as I tried to make sense of it all my ego got in the way. My ego whispered "Don't be a fool again. If you say it first, then you won't look like an idiot. So even though 99.9% of me was certain that it was just him pulling away and not another woman, I put that guard up by saying that "maybe there was someone else he saw himself with." The catch is I never actually thought there was another person or that he was ever unfaithful but I simply felt hurt in that possibly as he got to know me more, it made him realize that he wanted someone different than I was. I can now see that it implied I thought there was someone else and I feel absolutely horrible about that. How do you let someone you love think that you questioned their integrity? Even when I asked about the girl he was visiting in China, I didn't ask because I thought that he was with her while we were together. I asked to clarify if it was the beginning of something because I was still holding on to hope of us finding our way back together. There was still such a connection between us at the time and to be honest I thought that we just needed to step back a little. I asked about her because if there was something I wanted to respect his moving on and allow myself to finally accept that we were over. He had every right to be with whomever he wanted. But instead I offended him.


Today it felt like Nena was inside of my head with her intention but it was a reminder that sometimes things are revealed to us, in moments where we least expect them and only once we've quieted our mind to allow the lessons to come. I suppose that the only thing I can take from these regrets is to recognize them as learning experiences:

1. I have to be me. I was so worried that he would look at us and see differences, that I held back. I am clumsy and silly and oddly competitive, though a really good sport. I am outgoing and introverted at the same time. I am going to want to take care of you, snuggle next to you and sing at the top of my lungs in the car. I want a partner to see me, all of me, and love that girl.

2. Stop being afraid. I need to trust in myself and my own strength. I was afraid to fall because it scared the crap out of me that I possibly wouldn't be able to get back up again. I've been kicked down a lot in life and you know what, I've gotten up every time. Sometimes slower, sometimes with caution but I have risen. I need to have faith in myself that given this track record, I'm pretty fucking resilient.

3. Cut myself a little slack. Last year was the end to a crazy decade and I need to accept that things have happened through my life that have given me these insecurities. Rather than hide from them or try to hide them from others, I need to accept them and be honest about them. They are now a part of me and no one is perfect.

4. People can leave our lives but their lessons stay. All of a sudden it seems as though there is a wall - it certainly didn't exist for the months post breakup when we still talked almost daily and stayed connected. But now there is a definite boundary and as much as I would like to continue a friendship, I don't know if that is the case for him and I suppose I just need to accept that. If I don't get to have him in my life going forward, all the wonderful things he taught me in this past year will still remain with me. I am forever thankful for this heart experience.

5. Sometimes we have to forgive ourselves too. For too long, I blamed myself for things way beyond me. My dad's father left our family = I wasn't enough. Tim was unfaithful to me = I let it happen. I. Was. A. Fool. One man I dated insisted no one could know we were together & cheated constantly = I allowed this treatment. These are not my indiscretions, I cannot accept the blame. Forgiveness of self, it's time.

6. Look forward. As someone once said, there is a reason why the rear-view mirror is small and the windshield is large, it is proportionate to the importance of future vs. past. Stay present every day and look forward at all the wonderful possibility of life ahead of us.

7. Do things that make us uncomfortable - it's how we grow into better people. Challenge ourselves, face fears and accept that we may fail. It is in the attempt - in the moment of uncomfort where we question our strength - that truly, we find the opportunity to grow.

8. Don't hold back. I feel like I need this tattooed somewhere ugh because I seem to keep forgetting. Be the amazing, wonderful human that you are - with every imperfection and with every scar. No one can choose you if you don't allow them to see you. Just be.

9. When in doubt, get on your mat. Take a moment of stillness and allow the truth to reveal itself to you.

10. Don't be afraid to make a mistake. I was so afraid after Tim to choose "wrong" again that I just never chose anyone at all. I dated men that were completely wrong for me because somewhere inside of me there was this feeling that if I knew it could never be, then it wouldn't be me making the wrong choice again.


Until JC I never imagined that I would ever want to share my life with someone again - I never thought I could ever trust another man with my heart because I thought I would always be suspect. Not once did I doubt his loyalty or his integrity. I think of all the regrets I currently have in my heart, him feeling as though I doubted him is the worst of them all. I walked out of a meeting on Friday with this feeling of contentment - of knowing that I was in the right place and that all of these choices and endings brought me to where I exactly needed to be. I felt great and happy and empowered. And then I felt sad. Sad because the first person I wanted to call and share it with was him. I miss him as my person, as my friend - that may be the hardest part to let go of. I hate that I'm not a part of his day any more, I'm barely a part of his life. I do honestly only want love and happiness for him because there is no one I've met yet in my life that I think deserves that more. Someone who deserves to be chosen. I hope that he finds whomever it is that makes his heart come alive. Eventually I will stop wishing that it was me.

I realize that everything needs to happen as it does because if it didn't, I likely wouldn't be here in the place that I am now learning even more about myself. I will keep coming to my yoga practice with the intention of taking those moments of vulnerability with the hope that I keep pushing further and allow my mat to be the mirror. To find those moments of stillness where the emotions rush out and tears cleanse the soul. To allow for the possibility of falling but all the while knowing that the same possibility for flight exists. Sometimes it is in learning to trust ourselves again, that we then can fathom trusting others in the same manner. Every moment is lesson. xo

14 February 2017

alis volat propriis

Six years and 34 steps ago.  I stood at the bottom of the staircase unable to really breathe, as I was holding back both tears and vomit.  I stood there scared out of my fucking mind that I was making the biggest mistake of my life.  I was so unsure of myself.  I questioned if I was actually brave enough to do this.  I was unsure that I had enough strength to climb each of those stairs to the security check-point in International Departures. I had just checked all my treasured possessions packed in three luggage and a pet carrier (Ruby).  I was about to say good-bye to a life, knowing I'd likely never return.  I took a taxi to the airport all on my own, determined to fly by my own wings.

I'd like to say that it was the day I confidently chose to love myself first.  That it was some empowering day of spreading my wings and saying goodbye.   In reality when I got to the top of those stairs I had a panic attack and I frantically called Tim to see if I should really walk through those doors of security or if he changed his mind and wanted to plead with me to stay. Obviously we know there was no such gesture of love and devotion and onward I went. It was the worst flight of my entire life - with so much turbulence and nose-diving that I actually held the stranger's hand sitting next to me.  Looking back it's oddly telling of how I was feeling that day.  I've struggled with feeling like it wasn't really my choice but the choice that I did make was to leave with grace and dignity.  (Minus of course the 5 minutes I melted down before security.)  Through it all I never yelled, I never fought.  I calmed asked if this was it or if there was any way to work through it, though deep down I knew that I would never be able to trust him again after knowing all the deceit.  I could have fought but it would have been for money or possessions and I valued my peace more.   

Six years ago, being in the air, away from all things lovey-dovey and Valentines seemed like the best day to leave my husband.   In hindsight I recognize that it really just adds to the amount that I dislike this holiday. It's a giant red and pink, glittery, flashing reminder of that day and the end to that chapter in my life.   Truth be told I've never been much of a Valentines Day fan... I just believe that really every day should be when we do nice things for the people that we love.  But this year, which I believe is a year of beginnings, I take this day as a reminder of being able to find within me, some sort of invincible summer.  That after every heartbreak, there is an invincible love.  And that even with moments where I have questioned my bravery, I know that through it all there is a better, stronger me that has resulted.  This year I celebrate me and a milestone birthday.  I celebrate all that I have endured and risen from. I celebrate that every ending will become a beginning because I choose to believe.  I celebrate all the love that surrounds me knowing that I am making space for even more to come in.  I am proud that in the moments where I felt fear, I didn't walk away.  I rose to it. There will always be moments in our life that scare the living shit out of us.  Sometimes they are quite happy moments - like when you feel like you are falling for someone and you're not quite sure if you are ready to put your heart on the line.  In all of these moments, it is our choice to jump in or back away; to choose fear or to choose hope. Just remember, it is usually in those moments where we are on the brink of something amazing and we have to trust that our wings will carry us.  We have to believe that love & hope trump fear. xo 

06 February 2017

blessings

On my way home from work I stopped at the graveyard to talk to my dad - his official name plate finally was installed which was nice but it was weird to see both my parents name there.  It's still hard for me to believe sometimes that he is really gone.  I still expect him to come lumbering up the stairs when I get to their house.  I still hear his voice say "Yeah Linds" or "Hey kid" when I'm there in that space.  Sometimes like tonight when I just want to talk to him and it hits that he's really gone.  Not that it stopped me because I just sat there on the ground in front of him and hoped that some how he could hear me.  But what I wouldn't give to be able to wrap my arms around him and lean in for one of those giant bear hugs.  

We spent the night at the funeral home tonight - paying our respects to Alissia's Nonna who passed last week.  Sometimes like tonight it hits me just how lucky I am to have such wonderful family and friends.  All of our parents are able to visit with each other and watch all of us and how we carry each other through times like this.  From Mary's dad teasing me and reminding me of how I'll always be the bad influence to his girl, to my mom sitting with Christie and chatting away. The fact that we can all so easily get along with and care for our families and the families of those who are a part of our lives reminds me that this isn't a blessing that everyone gets to experience.  To know that our lives have intersected so closely warms my heart so much and I realize that even in the moments where I may feel lonely I am surrounded by love and for that I am more than grateful. 

They love the real me.  The broken me, the confused me, the one that loves a little too much and laughs a little too loudly.  We love each other without judgement and with a fierceness that is second to none.  These are the people who make my life so much brighter and even in the darkest moments like losing a loved one, we come together and stand side-by-side in support.  It goes without question that we will all just show up and be there as one.  They make my life better.  They make me a better person.  They make my heart feel so very full.  I know I've been struggling with changes and then there are nights like tonight where I can spend hours with them, letting every guard down and being my true self and I finally feel like as much as letting go is breaking my heart, these girls will always hold me up.  Tonight I count them in my blessings and remember just how full my life truly is.  xo 

12 January 2017

Big Love

2 years ago this week we said our final good-bye to Allie - it's hard to comprehend how quickly that time has flown by.  I remember each moment of her funeral services like it were yesterday, as I'm sure most of us do.

I remember listening to Jeremy speak during prayers and thinking to myself how amazing the kind of love they shared was and what a gift each of them gave the other in choosing to love big every day that they had together.  I knew then, that was the the kind of love I wanted in my life.  It made me see more clearly just how lacking in love my relationship with Tim really was.  I could never imagine him getting up and saying anything nice about me.  I certainly never remembered a moment where he pledged his love to me.  He didn't even write his own vows to me - instead he texted me from a night out with the boys and asking if I would write what he had to say.  Why? Why did I live in such oblivion that love should be more than that?  From the moment they met Jeremy knew she was sick and that did not deter him one bit from loving her with his whole heart.  
Standing there at her funeral, hand in hand with Christie and trying to sing You Are My Sunshine was such a profound experience. Never have I left a funeral service so motivated to do good in this world and so optimistic that what I do in my life.  It was there that I made the conscious decision that I wanted my life to be about Big Love.  I've always had the kind of heart that sees people for who they are deep down, that forgives easily, and that doesn't ask for big displays of affection in return.  I decided to choose to be my best self every day to honour her.  We all had the words "Be Brave" inked on to our skin because it was the one tattoo that she wanted for herself and because it was the two words she said to herself daily. 

There is so much that she taught us, not only in her dying but in her living every day.  This week on my mat I have been thinking a lot about my own feeling of bravery and how there are still those days where I have to recite the words "You Are Enough."  I realize that there will always be those moments when we feel our weakest, when we question our strength, tenacity or bravery. There will be the times that we question if we are in fact enough.  I acknowledge that sometimes it's hard to accept or believe that we deserve the big love.  It is being present in those moments that allows us to remember that bravery is always within us.  Like the arrow, we need to be pulled back in order to move ahead.  We need to forgive ourselves for our missteps, to be kind to ourselves in the the times we reach out for support and know that no matter how overwhelming things may feel, that within each of us like an invincible summer.  

04 January 2017

The Burning Bowl

So much of the past few weeks have been spent writing however mainly in the forms of New Years letters to friends, family and even to myself this year.  Going through my gratitudes and journals have given me so many gifts because they allow to me to remember all of the wonderful moments over the past year.  It makes me so happy to share the love that I have for those who are closest to me as that is what I treasure the most – the people who are in my life and in my heart.  There were two letters to myself – one was all the things, people and emotions I was letting go of with the close of the 2016 year and the other was one that I sealed to read Dec 31st, 2017 which overviewed all that I was currently feeling and hoping to manifest in the year ahead of us.

When I was asked to attend a ‘burning bowl’ ceremony at the close of the year, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I accepted with the hopes that it would help provide me with the closure I was seeking. Danah, Christie and I sat in a circle amongst about 30 others, room darkened and in the centre was a table with a beautiful display of a green glass bowl.  Around this bowl laid various crystals and rocks each with their own meaning for cleansing and releasing.  It began with a simple intention prayer to allow ourselves to open up to that which we were hoping to let go of and then Tracey led a simple meditation.  I was never expecting to receive such a powerful realization during that time but what a gift that it was!  She walked us through a beautiful, seaside garden and when we approached a lovely wooden bench, ourselves 2 years in the future was sitting there.  My future self wasn’t alone, the shadow of my dad sat on that bench with her – his arm around her shoulder.  What a beautiful gift it was to see him by my side – the tears instantly started to fall as that love just overwhelmed me.   Approaching my future self, I saw that she was dressed comfortably in yoga leggings, black sneakers, a lovely cashmere sweater and a beautiful scarf.  The most visible thing to me was a wedding band – so my future self was married! When I approached her, she looked up at me and simply said, “You are enough.”  And I feel like my heart just broke open.  It was incredibly overwhelming, sad and yet freeing at the same moment. 

We opened our eyes and wrote all of the feelings that came forward after that - all of the things that we wanted to release at the close of this year and through this ceremony.  There was closure for me in regards to closing my business and closing the chapter on something that I had built with my ex-husband, letting go of the feeling of unworthiness in regards to past relationships, ending that first full year in which my father did not exist and releasing all that no longer served me.  We each took a turn going up to the bowl, lighting our papers and watching them burn out of any existence.  I took that goodbye 2016 letter to myself and lit it on fire as well and simply said goodbye.  There was a feeling of lightness that followed as we wrote ourselves the intentions of what we wanted to manifest in the year ahead of us.  

The ceremony was more poignant than I imagined it ever would be.  I realized that in most of my relationships – even my marriage – I have never felt as though I were enough.  Even in my relationships with friends and family I have struggled with that feeling of being enough for them.  I am often hesitant to say no and often put the needs of others in my life ahead of my own because I’ve felt as though I need to prove something to them or be what they needed.  If I am being honest, I have never felt as though any of the men in my life would look at me and love me authentically, because I wasn’t good enough.   Over the past decade I’ve struggled with being good enough in the way of my career – second guessing if I could be successful or if I would ever attain the things or positions that my peers were at.  Seeing that this feeling intersected each area of my life was as though all of a sudden a light turned on. 

In hopes to actually create physical space in my life I have been cleaning and organizing my apartment.  As I packed up a few dozen journals from the last few years I casually flipped through and read – it’s funny the clarity that does truly come with hindsight.  We only accept the love that we think that we deserve, which would ring true for me not believing that I deserved more than the treatment which I was given.  In all the entries about any boy that I dated or was getting to know, they were all about things that weren’t working between us or negative things that I was feeling in hopes to find a way to make one of them work.  And then I read of JC and almost every entry was about the beauty or the happiness I was feeling – for the first time, I feel as though I truly deserved and had the capacity to love.  Perhaps that is why now it is so hard to finally let go, even as I come to terms with the fact that he doesn’t see a future for us.  
My love for Tim was the best I knew at that point in my life, but looking back it surely wasn’t true love if I was thinking “is this it?” the whole time? Was I just too afraid to let go because I wasn’t confident to think I would find someone to love me? Did I stay because he gave just enough to make me feel like I was wanted? Did I ever feel good enough when I was with him? He never listened to me – not in any way that he wanted to truly hear me.  He didn’t respect me enough to be honest with me or faithful to me. He often made me feel small and inconsequential.  And I let all of it slide because I didn’t realize that it could be any different.  I see how now,  after the divorce,  when Jessica told me that she felt as though I had finally came into my own, it was her way to acknowledge that I had finally grown to see myself as deserving of more than what I was receiving. 

So when my future self told me that I was ‘enough’ I felt as though a part of me opened up and every insecurity I ever held broke free.  I AM enough – more than enough.  I am so many things and I need to see them all for myself in order for someone else to see them in me.  If JC doesn’t love me that is ok because he has showed me that I can truly open my heart to something good and true.  It hurts to say goodbye to something that filled my heart up so much.  Our relationship could never have grown because at the time he still held so much back. I've held this hope that we would find our way back together but as hard as this feels, I know that I have to let it go and let him go and look forward. I have to accept that he doesn't love me. 

I read once that “sometimes the road to love meanders, yet it’s not the speed we travel but the intent behind the journey that has the greatest meaning.”  I am quite thankful for the journey and for each of the lessons that I have learned about myself and others along the way.  It has made me one hell of a woman and I know that in the end, I will love even harder because of it. I trust that this year holds love for me. 
  
And so another year lies ahead of us and I realize that nothing really makes sense and sometimes the most beautiful times of our lives are tucked into the most painful ones.  Maybe the lesson is not about finding someone to love but letting go of all the ones you loved before. Maybe it’s about redefining love and what it means to you or maybe it’s about letting go of all the heartbreak so you can love again. Maybe your journey is not about finding love, maybe it’s about loving yourself. Maybe it’s about rebuilding yourself or maybe it’s about walking away.  No matter how much we want a love to work, sometimes it’s just not meant to be. 

I used to wonder if it was possible for someone to come back and realize that they love me or missed me but now I think I’d rather someone who didn’t leave in the first place.  Someone who I’m not too much for or someone who thought I deserved to at least warrant a conversation about what they were feeling so it could be worked on rather than walking away.  Someone who doesn’t balk at bumps in the road because it won’t be often that I actually admit I need help and I need someone who doesn’t walk away.  I want someone who stays no matter how freely I love them or show my emotions – I want someone who isn’t afraid of sharing their heart with me.

I deserve someone who reminds me of how I have survived, someone who reminds me of my strength, someone who reminds me of my greatness and someone who will say to me “you are enough.” I want someone with both feet in.  Someone who looks at me with amazement and thinks "she is mine." I want the fairytale that I never believed in.... until now.