Celebration Wise Project 2019 #NakedTuesday

Good Day!!

Happy Naked Tuesday and Happy Birthday to me.

I know that some people think birthdays “meh”  it is just another day yet for me, it is a celebration of me, all that I am, all that I have overcome, achieved, experienced and all the wonderful things that are on the way. Just last week I was at Tony Robbins and he said we do not celebrate our lives enough and that really resonated with me. There are times that I have really exciting things going on and I am hesitant to share. It is the fear of being too much that really rears its ugly head a great deal for me. How dare I take this life I have and make rainbows and fire them into the sky and stand back and fucking admire them?

How dare I not?

Several times in the last year I started to feel a disconnection with Tenacious Tuesdays. I used to subscribe to the Glennon Doyle Melton School of “we can do hard things!” Yes, of course we can, do we have to? I feel, and I have been gently nudged on this by more than one well meaning person, that the universe gives us what we need and that it follows our lead. The thought that I unknowingly call hard things into my life so that I always have something to conquer is kind of alarming. I have learned a great deal from the situations I have faced this year and I am proud of the fact that I have faced them all head on; however, if I am being honest, I am wide open to things flowing easily going forward. I caught Robbie Robertson’s blue train and ended up fighting the current somewhere on the crazy river and I am more than ready to haul my ass unto a tube and float down the lazy river for awhile.

I am learning that there are plenty of exciting things to fill my life besides struggle.

Since I lost my husband Kirk to suicide in June of 2017 I really tightened up my circle. Some unfortunate situations occurred after his passing that made me reluctant to allow new people into my life. I am happy to stay that this year a wonderful friend and mentor, Dawn Southy Hills gifted to me a life changing workshop with Integrity Seminars called The Gift. It opened up my eyes in a whole new way to how I was accountable to my life, my choices, my reactions, the way I feel about myself, about others, about situations and how I often place chains on myself to keep me small. I had an uncomfortable week after leaving the course and I struggled with letting go of old beliefs that kept me rooted me firmly rooted in mediocrity. The Gift also gifted to me, an entire community of inspiring and growing individuals that have welcomed me into their lives and hearts with love and embraced me in kindness, understanding and non judgement. The Gift really is a gift that keeps giving. I was able to share that with my oldest daughter Morgan, who for the first time in a long time feels listened to, understood and loved by her peers. At 19 years old she has gotten serious about healing and has decided what she wants to do with her life. I walked into her graduation on Sunday night and as she was introducing me to the people in her group and I was amazed and inspired by their glowing eyes and radiant faces, they were shiny. They are on the beginning of a fantastic journey and they looked like they had just been pumped full of sunshine. Our most fundamental relationship is always with ourselves. Nobody else goes through this entire journey with us. It is essential that we learn to love and invest in ourselves, that one change, can be the catalyst in changing everything.

I feel that my greatest success in 2018 was asking for what I wanted and being honest about my feelings. It does not always get you the result you desire, yet there is a great deal of empowerment in attempting to get all of your needs met in a healthy way. Sometimes, ironically, not getting what we want can be a wonderful stroke of luck, I am learning to celebrate my successes and take the lessons from from the situations that do not produce results I had wished for.

I struggle with patience. I have decided to stop blaming it on being a Capricorn and really work on it. It is a virtue that has escaped me for all these years and I genuinely want to be a more patient and reflective person as opposed to reactionary.

Today I am rolling out Naked Tuesday. I am not getting Naked today, at least not publicly, or in the sense that automatically comes to mind when we conjure up images of naked, however what better time to be naked then on your birthday. We came into the world, not just unclothed, also innocent and without fears, insecurities and inhibitions. One of my biggest goals this year is to come to you vulnerably naked and speak to you honestly about some of my most critical struggles, as a woman, as a widow, as a parent and as a friend.

In the next couple of months I will be doing a complete overhaul of my blog to reflect this naked vulnerability. I am not quite ready to share my ideas in regards however; you will be the first to know.

I have some things to celebrate currently that I would love to share with all of you. I have started some exciting writing projects, I am 25% through my Life Coaching certification and this year I will be working the amazing Ev’Yan Whitney of Sex love Liberation. Ev’Yan is going to work with me intensely to help me heal from past sexual trauma so I can step into my full power as a woman. In the last couple of years I have admitted to myself that though I have pushed the memories down as far as they would go, being raped has had a significant impact on my life, my choices, the way I feel about myself and the way I interact and react to others. My hope is that in continuing to put this work in and heal my unhealed areas, I can focus my life coaching on working with women who have suffered trauma, are rape survivors as well, have fears, insecurities and/or inhibitions and help support their journeys as they find and step into the full expression of their sexual and sensual selves. Pleasure is our birthright, and too often we are willing to accept things as is when they can be and should be changed. Society puts a lot of pressure on all of us, as a woman I can relate to that quite intimately. We lose a great deal of our personal power struggling to meet the grand expectations of the masses and we end up in a place of fear and scarcity.

The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure.
~Mikhail Baryshnikov

I invite you to continue to follow me on my Naked journey. I know my mom will love that name and never stop fearing the day where I decide to get Naked. I am a wild card…love you mom. Thank you for everything, always, especially my beautiful life.

 

If you would like some incentive today I would like you to join me in a small exercise. I want you to write down five things that you like about yourself, as you are doing this I would like you to remember that your self image is tied to your energetic vibration and your physicality so try to choose things that are a combination of physical and non physical traits. If you find this exercise difficult and are being bombarded with things you dislike about yourself, this is an exercise that you should commit to daily for awhile. Consider the traits that you like and admire in others, as other people serve as mirrors for us; these traits are most often traits we possess as well. If you can only come up with a couple items that is fine, lets all try again tomorrow. Let’s continue until Sunday and see and celebrate  all of the amazing things that make us unique. If you continue to struggle feel free to reach out to me through private message or leave a comment and I will modify the exercise for you to help you find and celebrate the amazing qualities that make you so very you.

 

Thank you for being you.


xoxo-michelle1

 

 

 

 

Semi charmed life- Wise Project 2018

Dancing into 2019

I wanted to sneak in one last Wise Project post into 2018, an opportunity to tell a lit bit more about myself, dispel some myths and say some inappropriate stuff.

I believe people get a certain idea of me from my writing but it is somewhat one dimensional. From my writing you would not garner that I talk about penises way too much to be normal and that I live a lot of my life in song lyrics and movie quotes. Most of you are not even aware that I am incredibly funny; the problem is I often forget the punchline.

I have passed these things along to my middle child Morgan, along with some other great stuff that I am sure she will be eternally grateful for. While students were moving a table in her high school class Morgan yelled ‘PIVOT, PIVOT” in the consummate Ross Gellar voice, Friends circa February 1999. (She would have been four months old when it aired originally) Only her teacher got the reference but in any case that is a parenting win. I also convinced her that in the U.K. there were 8 days in a week, hence the popular Beatles song. Unbeknownst to me, she carried this belief with her like a favorite childhood teddy and protected it fiercely. Despite being bullied for this she stood a firm ground on it because her mama was always right. At nineteen she finally knows the truth. She has known the truth for about nine months now and a lot of truths came out that day, she discovered that the ankles of the bread were actually heels (at least to boring people) and that Chef Boyardee ravioli was not made with horse meat. Perhaps what I should have said is that I find me incredibly funny.

If you have spent any time with me at all you know that I care about my undergarments a great deal and I believe they should match. The last thing I want is to end up in a car accident and the nurse’s judge me for granny panties and a ratty old bra. I also had embarrassing incident in my twenties where I ended up in a compromising scenario wearing no underwear, the day “el fresco died”  To me, mismatched undergarments is like going on a hot date that has the possibility of ending in sex with unshaven legs.

I went on a coffee date a couple of weeks ago and I had on a nice designer sleeveless dress that I managed to score at the thrift store. My entire outfit cost about $18.99 but I felt like a million bucks until I discovered I had forgotten to shave my armpits. I have multiple Groupon’s to use and had intended to get them waxed when I took care of the rest of my personal business but alas I sat outside of Starbucks and dry shaved my armpits with a razor I picked up at Sobeys on the way there. Sometimes looking good comes with a price.

Last week my daughter was watching “How I met your mother” and Robin was on a date with a hot surgeon, she had not intended on it going so well and had not shaved her legs. I was watching this intently as I sat there with my overgrown jungle woman legs. She somehow convinced her bitchy waitress to go buy her a razor but she did not grab shave cream. Robin was shaving in the bathroom using butter as a shave cream, some dropped, and she slipped on it and knocked herself out. Meanwhile the waitress picked up the hot surgeon. I had never felt so deeply seen and understood in my life. I am Robin and Robin is me.

On a previous waxing appointment I had not let the hair on my legs grow out long enough and it hurt like a motherfucker and grew back patchy. The last time I thought they would need to use a lawn mower on it. As a lady who likes to parade around in her fancy matching bra and undies, appreciating my smooth, daily shaven limbs the grow out period is painful for me. I feel like my relationship with myself suffers immensely. I am avoid things like good night cuddles and admiring touches. Weeks pass where I do not wink at myself or slap my own ass. My love meter drops into the negative. Last week Kelsey at Bodhi Spa helped bring me back to myself. I came home that night, put on the Rose Royce classic “I wanna get next to you” and I felt a great love for myself.

Not that that is relevant to anything at all but I am not a swinger. I am finally at peace with the idea that everybody you meet creates a different version of you in their own minds so if you have created me as a swinger I hope I am at least a good one, whatever that would mean. After my husband passed away one of his old buds’s started that rumor and I am sure it was tossed around a lot over drinks. As the case is with small towns and possibly all towns, people talk more than they listen and they just adore gossip. I am glad I gave them all something to talk about and I am sorry to disappoint. I do rather respect swingers for their ability to just be themselves and no matter how you or I or their parents feel about it, adults can and will choose the sex life that feels right for them. Anyway, I am sure the rumor morphed from a story about the time that Kirk and I accidentally ended up at a Swingers bar and as he recounted it I am sure he had no idea that someday it would be twisted and turned into something it wasn’t. We sat in the corner eating donairs because we are nothing if not East coast classy and then we decided to make the most of it by playing this match the boob’s game. They had a huge poster board and rows of boobs and below those, rows of faces to match them up. There were some interesting boobs, let me tell you. I will never forget my late husbands face when a woman came over offering for him to squeeze her tits to be of some assistance. That is almost the extent of Kirk and I’s swinger lifestyle. In fact, until we moved to Edmonton in 2008, I thought Swinging was just something you do at a park. I do appreciate boob’s though, one of my fondest memories is Las Vegas in 2009, at a huge, I believe they call it ‘Gentlemen’s Club’, I was telling this young, beautiful Latin girl that her boobs were just perfect and she did not need a breast augmentation. Somehow this led to a fun game, as most nights involving tequila shots do, next thing you know I am the resident boob expert and I get to decide real or fake for a succession of amazingly beautiful women with boobs of all shapes and sizes. No jury needed, real always wins. It is difficult to recreate the squish, the bounce or the gentle curve of a real breast. Breasts really are art come to life. I suppose I just started a new rumor that I am a lesbian, which no disrespect to lesbians, I just do not like cats that much (according to Ellen to qualify you need to own three or more)  and I have a great love for penises and sometimes the interesting men attached to them.

I share a bathroom with my fourteen year old daughter Haley and she could tell you a lot of stories I am sure. I am grateful that she taught me how to contour and highlight, I did it all wrong for several years and the results were atrocious. She didn’t outright tell me I was doing it all wrong but after about a year of her horrified sideways glances I finally asked her for advice. She has watched countless hours of YouTube videos and basically knows everything about everything.

My son Jeff is a younger, less jaded version of me and it is very difficult to say no to him. I like to think that everything I do is rooted in love and then Jeff visits and he is so magnanimous in his affection and capacity to love, minus the lackluster, world-weary, cynical bullshit that I often have to wade through. The way he goes through the house picking out things he would like to take home reminds me of how after I moved out I used to go to my moms and I was constantly in her cupboards, “WTF Mom, when did you guys start buying Nutella?”

My kids are amazing and I have a tiny fourteen year old cat that slithers around like a thief in the night, continually begs for canned food and stares at me while I am sleeping. It is quite romantic when I wake up at 4 am to the muted sounds of The Police ‘Every Breath you take and my cat; Aulie staring creepily into my eyes. I make excuses for Aulie because she was thrown out of a moving vehicle when she was too young to be taken from her mother, my late husband rescued her and she picked me to be her person. She has trust issues, anybody would.

My dog Buddy is a rescue as well and he was abused. He was anxiety ridden when he came to us, however he is the most loving and gentle beast. He is a Collie/Cross who hates to be brushed and even if I brush him three times a day he sheds an entire other dog. Due to early mistreatment Buddy came to us with early onset arthritis and is currently experiencing pain. He likes to chase the cat up and down the stairs and his pattern seems to be chase, hurt, rest for three weeks, REPEAT. I have a handful of people in my life that I feel truly get me and love me without judgement and Buddy is definitely in that Tribe. Aulie is not, Aulie does love me, in her own way, but I know she judges me constantly, even while I am sleeping.

I used to be a fairly judgmental person and I took a long hard look at that and I make a conscious effort to always offer love before judgement. I am human though, and therefore I err. Just a second ago I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw a model who was advertising a new hair color and my first thought was her nose was horrible and then I metaphorically punched myself in the mouth and decided promptly that the model was beautiful and her nose was not the problem, it was the angle and then I swiftly judged the photographer for his terrible eye and the advertisers for accepting the picture. I like to think of myself as a work in progress, constantly making an effort and calling myself out on my own bullshit.

I believe the best we can do in any given moment is the next best thing. Life is just one moment. Then the next… I do not believe in coping mechanisms, I work hard on thriving mechanisms. I am an introverted extrovert who overshares.

I am sure my mom is reading this and saying to Papa “Jesus Gord, does she really have to talk about penises? Maybe the right penis would shut her up!”

I see you Mom, I see you. 😉

2018 brought me the most amazing experiences and I thank my children for constantly dragging me outside of my comfort zone. If it were not for them I might spend all of my free time curled up watching Drop Dead Diva reruns. They show me everyday what is possible in life and how important it is that I do the same for them.

Like all of you I am sure, I had experiences in 2018 that brought me heartache and lots of tears, those experiences also brought me lessons that I really needed to learn. Society would have us believe that if we are single we are somehow less than and what I learned is that my heart is expansive, I have a huge capacity to love, though it is not my job to be enough for anyone or to make myself small to fit into a box that is not for me. Being single teaches you a great deal about yourself and what is important. When I find myself succumbing to loneliness I become curious and observant. I learn from others. The one thing I am very aware of is that I do not want to settle for someone that does not tick all of the boxes for me. In the future, if I commit to being in a romantic relationship with someone else there has to be an intimate friendship; they must be my best friend and be able to communicate with me even when things are tough, there must be mutual respect, we do not always have to agree but we should respect each others differences and while we remain rooted together we must also be free to grow individually. They also must be an animal in the sack, no exceptions. (My mom is now either fist bumping the air and saying “yes” I made her or crying and tearing her hair out” This is not negotiable! I have a great relationship with myself and I have lots of fantastic people I can spend time with, if I am going enter into a serious relationship or lets be real, even a casual  sexual relationship, it must meet this criteria “GREAT SEX”

I think sex is an important criterion in a romantic relationship as it distinguishes it from all our other relationships and that intimacy that is created between couples can be powerful, should be powerful. You can all send me hate mail if you like and tell me all the reasons that there is more to sex in a relationship. I agree, there is more, lots more, however it is my fake relationship we are planning and this box must have a big, red check mark beside it (the bigger the better 😉

As I marinate in all that was in 2018 I realize that I did not become a “new me”, I did however dust off and polish some layers of me that were blanketed under the weight of burdens, expectations, old vows and beliefs, fears, shame and insecurity. As I move forward into 2019 I want to continue to shed anything that is no longer useful.

It is hard to narrow down the life altering events in my life in 2018, if was full of organized learning opportunities, courses and workshops, art, theater, ballet, music, friendship, love, loss and heartbreak. All in all I feel incredibly blessed.

I have started courses working towards my certification in Life Coaching and I just finished a 30 days of Sensuality Course with Ev’yan Whitney, who penned the piece titled “Too Much Woman” which shifted my entire perspective. I am hoping to work extensively with Ev’Yan in the coming year to heal and step fully into my own personal power and the full expression of my own sensuality so the niche of my future coaching can be focused on helping other women to do the same. I feel like I have been blessed with some special gifts that I am compelled to share with others and I know that as a woman who has suffered past trauma that we often allow our fears, shame and insecurity to keep us small and silent and that prevents us from embracing ourselves as beautiful sexual beings and enjoying amazing and fulfilling sex lives. Pleasure is our birthright and I believe great sex is an integral part of the mind*body*spirit connection that keeps us physically and mentally healthy.

I hope the year ahead for you is filled with magical madness, great literature, art that makes you ponder, movies that make you cry and moments that make you want to sing. I hope you kiss someone that thinks you hang the moon each night, I hope that same person would hoist the sky into the sky each morning if it meant brightening your day. I hope your love for yourself is profound and I hope you find healthy ways to fulfill all of your needs and that you chase your dreams instead of just living the same day over and over. You are about to be presented with 365 new opportunities. Do something amazing!!

Have a safe and wonderful end of 2018 and a fantastic beginning to 2018.

Imagine-WISE PROJECT 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

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I woke up this morning in a very good place, I was vibrating at a whole new level of awesome and I was thinking how amazing it would be if I could bottle that feeling and drink from it on the days that I wasn’t feeling so shiny. The truth is, I can, in a way, I know all of the good things that I put into place to harness this powerfully incredible energy. I drank the kool-aid and I want seconds.

I came across a sticky note on my desk on Monday, it has been there for months and I cannot recall what circumstance had me write it, I generally  write sticky notes hoping that later it will trigger a memory for me and though this is not bringing me back to a particular memory it has resonated with me in numerous ways. It is four scribbled words, barely legible, scrawled across a pale yellow sticky; forgiveness, connection, healing and hope. The words are then encased in a loosely drawn semi-circle with an arrow that says love.

For me, it all comes back to love, every single bit of it. None of those other things are possible without love and we cannot lead a truly fulfilling life without love. Love is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

I know I read things all of the time that trigger me and I bet the above paragraph is a trigger for many people, particularly single people because many people would see that as me saying that love is a necessity and without it you cannot lead a truly fulfilling life.

That is absolutely what I said. I stand by it. If you are triggered by it your interpretation of it may possibly be, I am single, therefore I cannot be fulfilled, something must be missing for me.

I didn’t say that, but if you thought something along those lines the important thing to note is I can tell you something from my perspective but I cannot be responsible for how it is received. This revelation alone has been a game changer for me.

I believe that love is the most powerful thing in the entire world. That is not to say that if you are not paired up with a significant other that you are somehow less than or not living your best life. That would never be an appropriate thing for me to assume.

I think that we are way to conservative with love in our society, the very word can illicit fear in people. Being told ‘I love you you” can make some people extremely uncomfortable, almost as if the very word comes with a contract and a whole slew of scary promises.

Romantic love is a beautiful thing but it is not the thing that defines love. Love is expansive, I would find it entirely impossible to define it in a single dictionary definition but I do Know that those four words on my sticky note; forgiveness, connection, healing and hope are not possible without love.

The love we give to ourselves is the most essential thing, and when we are committed to loving ourselves for all that we are we meet others in a very loving space, a place of authenticity and of non judgement. A place that illuminates positive energy and healthy connections and invites growth.

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We cannot commit to loving ourselves when we become all that we can be. Loving ourselves fully is what empowers us to become the best version of ourselves and to those of you putting in that work you are fully aware that it is an ongoing process. You don’t become your shiny self and say ‘Ok I am good here, I am going to stop now.” The universe is continually shifting and changing, as are we, and learning and growth is life long.

As 2018 is drawing to a close I was looking back on my year and thinking that one of the very best things I did for myself this year was reconnect with an old friend who allows and encourages me at all times to be my authentic self. There are situations in my life where I have wondered if I measure up, there are others that I feel like maybe I am a bit too much. I had my mind blown last week by a quote by Nayyirah Waheed, author of Salt (Poetry) alluding to the fact that the fear of not being enough and that fear of being too much is the exact same fear, the fear of being ourselves. What a wonderful thing to find a person that invites you to be all that you are, all of the time, without fear of judgement or ridicule, whose acceptance, support, love and encouragement empowers you to be…just you. That simple connection has encouraged me to show up differently in other areas of my life, trusting that when I show up as all of me I will attract the people that are meant to be in my life at this time.

I have struggled this year with the delicate balance of knowing when to hold on and knowing when to let go. Knowing where to put my energy and where to set my intentions and release my white knuckles and allow things to flow naturally.

I have caused myself a great deal of stress trying to manipulate situations to go my way, feeling like my tenacity would always win out in the end. Stress physically manifests in my body and just recently I went to the doctor for a recurring, stabbing pain at the base of my skull. It had gotten quite bothersome, subsiding a bit when the doctor confirmed it was muscular and caused by stress and not by something life threatening. I then went to my Acupuncturist, the amazing Dr. Geha at Wellness on Whyte; Geha is very intuitive and she told me immediately that I needed to get moving. I was sitting there looking at her blankly wondering how she knows that I have not been being active, how does she know that I was internalizing a personal situation and curling up under fuzzy blankets hiding from all of the things in my life that have kept me well. I had an amazing visit and left with a great deal of relief but the pain crept back and began stabbing me again, randomly at first and then incessantly. I went to see Dr. Mailie, my Chiropractor at Wellness Chiropractic and she worked her magic and then looked me in the eye and spoke to me soul to soul, Maillie is very insightful as well and can take one look at me and know that I am the creator of my pain. She gives me an amazing adjustment and then talks to me about my tendency to hold stress physically and makes some suggestions. I left her office with some relief and I went home to curl up under my fuzzy blanket with my cell phone, as if something on Instagram was going to jump out and change my life. That did not happen but what did happen is that over the next few days  inevitably, that stabbing pain returned at the base of my skull and even though the doctor assured me that it was not a tumor, I began to wonder if she could be wrong, she had not run tests after all.

In my misery I started thinking of all the things I would be doing if I wasn’t wrapped up in this pain, and a blanket. My mind traveled back to the weeks prior to the pain and all of the things I was doing on a daily basis to promote physical and mental wellness. I had a daily meditation practice that I had abruptly stopped, I was out walking daily and often working out at home.

The situation that was causing me stress was not personal,  meaning it was not meant to be taken personally. From the very beginning I knew that and I was also assured that there was nothing I could have done to change it, yet my unwillingness to accept the situation as it was, seeing any sort of repose on my part as giving up on something important, allowed me wallow in guilt and anguish. It allowed me to stay still, to feel sorry for myself and make myself unwell.

A good friend asked me some tough questions that not only led me to some very honest contemplation, it led me to three hours of crying. After that I meditated for an hour. My entire perspective shifted. What I wanted to give the situation at hand was compassion, understanding and love. I was giving none of that to myself. I fed myself that outdated bullshit of self blame, maybe things would have been different if I had been less of this and more of this.  I wasn’t sitting in integrity with myself, I was not holding myself in a loving space and in turn my entire focus was skewed. I am happy to say that I am maintaining a daily meditation practice again. It allows me to access a quiet place of non judgement within myself and move through struggle with grace. Letting go does not have to mean giving up. Sometimes it simply means loosening our grip and allowing the energy to flow where it is needed. I have started to move again. I am busier at work and it is colder outside, my daily walks are not as feasible but I have started shaking what my mama gave me at every opportunity. I close my office door several times a day, put on some old skool hip hop and just move. Last night at home the dog and I were grooving to Bust a move as we moved out old energy out and invited new energy in.

I slept amazing last night on freshly laundered sheets, accompanied by smooth shaved legs, such a simple feel good thing. On the way to work I could feel that there had been a phenomenal change in energy. Within moments of each other I got two fabulous messages that lifted me up, one from a new friend and one from a dear friend who was also a close friend to my late husband. Reading those messages assured me that the universe was fully supporting this energetic shift. My stabbing pain subsided and it has been replaced with a feeling of excitement. I am excited about my life, excited to keep growing and learning and to connect with amazing people.

I will struggle, that is inevitable but I am truly starting to see that I am the creator of my experiences and there an extraordinary amount of power in that.

For those of you that are struggling to let go and move forward in your life I have created a quick meditation to encourage you to let go of what is holding you back and move into imagining the very best version of yourself. The very minute my energy shifted I literally spit this out, it was there, hidden under a cloak of fear.

I invite you to get comfortable and take a couple of minutes to relax and empower yourself.

I am not afraid to say I love you.

To the person that is reading this and hoping for me to fail, I love you. To the person who takes the time to reach out to me and let me know that you are encouraged and inspired by me, I love you. To the person who sees the very best in me, even when my fear doesn’t allow me to see it, I love you. To the person who is struggling but still showing up, I love you. To the person who is not ready to let go, who is afraid to forgive and afraid to love, I love you.

Love is not scary. Imagine a world without love. Imagine for a second the atrocities that are happening in the world right now, acts that are born of fear. Imagine waking up and all love has been erased from the world? The absence of love is terrifying.

Love is not a luxury. Love is a necessity.

Love yourself. Love one another.

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Break Free- Wise Project 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

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I woke up yesterday to the devastating news of the Greektown shooting in Toronto Sunday night and though my instinct during these tough times is to dwell on the horrifying nature of people and to find myself in a state of overwhelm, I resisted that urge, took a couple of moments to contemplate and send love to the people of Toronto and consider how we are becoming way too conditioned to accept these things as normal. It seems that we are less shocked and appalled than we once were and the alarming part of that is that we have begun to acknowledge these unthinkable acts of violence as customary. We are suitably upset but not astonished. I am not exactly sure what the answer to this is but I feel like there is some danger in our growing indifference and the fact that the most common reactions to mass violence these days seems to be to perpetuate fear against certain groups of people instead of sitting with the discomfort of what is actually happening with the world around us.

I do often prefer the solitude of my own personal bubble, it is quiet and loving and I feel safe there. The past several weeks I started to feel the opposite of all of those things. There was a lot of noise in my brain and the love I normally give myself was a bit absent. It is no secret that I like to feel a certain way. I have a bright and sunny personality, I work really hard to put a positive spin on things and I understand the significance of self love and self care. The thing is, it has been an incredibly tough year for my family and I; and for me personally everything has changed. Though I can dig very deep to find courage, gratitude and create happiness even during times of struggle, I can also find my changing disposition deeply uncomfortable, so when I am not in the sunniest of places the feeling is so unnerving for me that I judge it and myself harshly. The truth is I am not incredibly loving and accepting of cloudy day Michelle and I cast a lot of judgement upon her and can very quickly find myself in a very unfamiliar and exceedingly uneasy place.

I spoke a lot last week about our tendency to cast judgement upon others without looking inward to see what it is in ourselves that we are trying to avoid confronting. I think the flip side of that for me, which has been an interesting and unpredictable shift is that I realize that I am often accepting of others, seeing them as beautifully messy and evolving individuals but there are times that I allow myself to be overpowered by self judgment and my refusal to accept myself as I am, where I am and give myself the same love and space to grow that I am willing to give to others.

I reached out to one of my oldest friends on the weekend because I was feeling such a disconnect with who I was as a person that it had me in a terrible state. My friend has a brilliant mind and he is constantly growing and evolving. He is not a perfect person, and even writing these nice things I fear his head may swell,  but honestly the thing I admire about him is that he has never feared discomfort. He has been a touring hip hop artist, dancer, actor, writer, director, choreographer and teacher. He has never gotten comfortable and thought, OK this feels good I think I will stay here. I know he has felt fear and unease, I am sure there are days it feels like his skin is on fire but he continues to be and to do. He continues to grow. To me, he will always be the little boy that came knocking on my door everyday to come out and play but we have both faced our own personal demons throughout the years and though we have continued to quietly support each other, it is sometimes easy to forget that despite our differences some of the things we face as humans are universal. It is nice that the person who knew you before the world wrapped you in chains of fear, judgement and expectation can remind you that you are a person first and sometimes you just have to let go or you will never be free.

“The world is small, but it’s also big and sometimes life is like a snowsuit you can’t get off on a really hot day!”  ~ Cory Bowles (Hip Club Groove)

I am learning to surrender to the discomfort. It may be clearing me out and bringing about positive change. I do not want to be small or live my life on auto pilot. I want to break free from generations of chains. I am a deeply feeling person in a noisy and messy world, sometimes I will feel unnerved but I will not be defeated.

I am not “just a person’ but I am a person and maybe to be the best version of me I need to find a little bit of comfort outside of my comfort zone.

 

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi,

Bonfire Heart – Wise Project 2018

“Your mouth is a revolver firing bullets in the sky
Your love is like a soldier, loyal till you die
And I’ve been looking at the stars for a long, long time
I’ve been putting out fires all my life
Everybody wants a flame, but they don’t want to get burnt
And today is our turn”

~ Bonfire Heart James Blunt

A little over a year ago when my husband was taken from us by the cruel hand of depression, PTSD and Mental Illness I was faced with some immediate choices about how and if I would move forward and how I would lead our children through grief.

I have been incredibly blessed to have met so many kind, loving and wise guides through Lifestyle Meditation here in Edmonton and each one of these passionate souls have reminded me that we are the healers, but they will continue to hold space for us while we heal. I have been reminded that Kirk will heal through our healing and that continues to be powerful for me. I never wanted him to sit in my pain any more than he wanted me to sit in his.

Grief is an agonizing journey and what has been unbelievably important to my emotional health is the belief that we are all spirits having a human experience. Death ends our physical life, it doesn’t end our love and it doesn’t extinguish our light. I can no longer take comfort in Kirk’s physical presence, but I am reminded quite frequently that he is still in the universe, and the universe is continually supporting us and working for our highest good. We often can’t see that because we look at life through a lens of entitlement, bitterness and fear and no matter how many inspirational memes we share on Facebook it is our actions when nobody is looking that really matter. If we are living out of resentment, fear and indignation that is exactly what we put into the world and like attracts like. We will get back what we call out for.

My physical body is 44 years old, but I know that my soul is much older. I believe when we take on our physical bodies we are given a task, something to learn in our lifetime, and no matter who we are we are also given challenges to overcome in our journey. I think our challenges and how we rise to face them present us with our greatest lessons and our most powerful invitations towards personal growth and fulfilling our divine purposes.

I have believed for a very long time that my purpose was to learn about, embody, encompass and give love despite any challenge that I am faced with. I know that the Merriam Webster dictionary of love cannot do justice to all that the word love holds and embraces. It is a weighty task indeed to face each day with love when hate stares us in the face constantly.

We spend much of our lives trying to bestow our love unto people and we are incredibly hurt and sullen when our love is not reciprocated. We become fearful and jaded and we build walls around our hearts. We keep the love out. We keep the joy at bay, but ironically the acidic lure of acrimony seeps into those walls like rain into dry earth.

It was only a few short years ago that I learned the importance of loving myself first. If we do not love and invest in ourselves how can we expect that anyone else should find us worthy of that investment. I have also been guilty of thinking that love was rare and must only be given in the most special of circumstances. When we love ourselves, we are overflowing with love, we than put our love into the world not because we are in desperate need of love, but because we are abundant with love and we want to share it. I think the important difference is that we attract people that want to share love because they are overflowing with it too, not deplete us because they are desperate for our love because they do not have any of their own. This creates relationships that are not based on the divine truth and freedom in love. When we fail to fill ourselves up with love we have a constant need to get that love elsewhere and it can lead to unhealthy life patterns.

Our hearts are more powerful than our fear and contrary to popular belief lost love does not break them. Often our ego perspective holds us hostage and we fail to see that if we give love because we have abundant love to give instead of searching for love because we need it we will recognize an important shift in all our important relationships.

The thing that has been nipping at my heals is how love should feel like freedom yet we constantly put chains on the people we love, trying to hold unto to something that is intended to move freely. There must be a way to love ourselves and embrace our authenticity in a way that we invite others to be their true selves and any love shared between us is void of judgement or restraints.

Love should not assume, it cannot be held, it is not boastful, unkind or judgmental. True love moves like the universe and the universe cannot be restrained. The universe roots itself firmly in the present knitting its energy interminably in the here and now, never losing itself in the pain of the past or worries for the future.

“Trying to hold on to love is like trying to hold on to the ocean. An exercise in futility that leaves you a constant “failure”, even while the ocean itself beckons you at all times to come into it and be surrounded and supported by its majesty.”

~ Roberta Shepherd, HHP (Love is Freedom)

The Journey

Dylan Glynn

“Tomorrow we die, today we love” ~  Geha Gonthier

I sing out loud even though I am tone deaf.

I speak truth to bullshit.

I compliment people.

In a moment I fear everything yet there are moments that I am fearless.

I love to laugh and I am so sarcastic that sometimes I am not even sure if I am kidding or not.

I keep my circle smaller than ever, not because I am afraid of getting hurt but because I realize that my time is the most valuable currency I have and I only spend it on the right people.

I am very protective of my energy.

Superficial relationships are not for me. I like to get to know the meat and potatoes of a person so if I am intrigued by you I am all in.

Learning to say NO has been life changing for me and every time I want to say No and hesitate, thinking I need to be nice, I end up fucking myself over.

I am emotional. Sometimes I experience all of the emotions in ten minutes. I don’t hide how I feel. If you are in my orbit you know that well.

The last year without my husband has been a journey.

I remember the moment I knew he was gone realizing what a huge responsibility I had in showing our children how to move forward in love and grace.

When tragedy strikes often our instinct is to get very small and quiet. That wasn’t for me. I have learned so much from seeing fabulous people move through their struggles that I believe there is beauty and value in sharing my authentic self and being real about the darkness of grief but also the opportunities that adversity presents to us.

I have spent the last year learning to laugh again and encouraging my children to embrace life and to invest in themselves and fill themselves up with love so that when they share that love with others it is not because they need love, it is because they have so much love to give that it is overflowing.

I am growing into myself, learning to fill my space so to speak and it is not without challenges. Not everyone is interested in knowing themselves as intimately as I know me, accepting the darkness in themselves so they can safely move into the light.

People can only know you, accept you, and love you to the extent that they also know, love and accept themselves and it is not our job to fit ourselves in a box to be enough for people.

You are enough.

Just as you are.

We want to be accepted. We want to be loved. However, part of finding out who we are and expanding and growing into the person we are truly meant to be means that we will not be right for everyone and that is OK.

I truly believe that the people meant to be in our lives will always be there when they are meant to be there. Not everyone is meant to be with us forever. Not everything is permanent.

My son, who is an amazingly kind and old soul said to me that society teaches us to be careful who we love, as if we only have so much love to give but in reality love multiplies love.

The death of my husband taught me so many lessons but there is a quote that I said at his service that will resonate with me forever.

“The only remedy for love is to love more” ~Henry David Thoreau

The only way to have that type of true and unencumbered love is to first give it to yourself. Find you, be you, love you.

People will move in and out of your life, but you will always be there. Spend less time trying to be the person everyone needs and be the person you need. Everything else will eventually fall into place.

Louie Schwartzberg, a nature photographer says “beauty and seduction are nature’s tools for survival, because we will protect what we fall in love with.” Why wouldn’t we fall in love with ourselves first?