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.