Steal my sunshine- Wise Project 2019 #Naked Wednesday

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I had a great day yesterday, one of those days that makes you feel filled up. I was talking with a friend that has a lot of exciting things going on and then I met another friend for coffee that is on a new and exciting journey and I felt such immense excitement for the two of them. It was a powerful and thrilling feeling and as I sat with it I was immediately taken back to a time when those electrifying feelings were not possible for me. There were many times throughout my life that the world around me felt very out of my control. I subscribed to the belief that life was happening to me, not through me or for me and my best defense was BRACE. DUCK. COVER. ENDURE. During those times I saw people in my life having better luck and getting things that felt impossible for me. I am sure I feigned some sort of halfhearted interest but I am being honest in saying that I did not always feel it. Sometimes your good news and your accomplishments made me feel small and diminished. That shook my confidence and though I desired things as much, or even more than I do now, they felt very unattainable.

I am delighted to be able to say that in the last couple of years I have realized that I am in charge of my life. I am not always in charge of circumstances but I am in charge of how I react to my circumstances. Life is at all times happening for me, and it is not happening to me, it is happening through me. I am the co-creator of my life. This has been huge. I have made some huge changes in my life and most of them started with something very simple, choosing me. I had to believe that I was worth the investment and a great deal of that, I will admit, is because of my children. I am their teacher, the person they will look to as they grow and spread their wings. Sometimes it does not matter what I tell them, yet it will matter what I show them. If I never choose me, if I never deem myself worthy of good things, I will teach them the same. I will raise people pleasers that gage their self-worth against how much they can do, not on being who they are meant to be. Being yourself is the greatest revolution, it is something that can never be taken away from you and once you know yourself and love yourself and choose yourself you open up a world of opportunities. You start to connect the dots that the universe has laid out and you create a network of people, places and experiences for your highest good. You begin to realize that people are not always in your life forever and you learn to be okay with that. The people that are meant to be in your life forever, you learn to hold them carefully, to support them properly and to find honest ways to share and communicate openly and honestly. You become accountable to the fact that you may have been the toxic one in past relationships. You learn to own that, to learn from it and to move forward gracefully. You learn to say goodbye to the things and the people that no longer serve your greatest good. You choose the things that speak to your soul, you plant the seeds, and you tend them and water them and watch them grow. You feel the energy in that creation and you are inspired to create more for yourself and as you do this you become very captivated by what your people are creating in their lives. You support them and encourage them and you feel this massive enthusiasm for their successes. You feel drawn to lifting your people up when they struggle and it gets less scary to reach out and admit when you are struggling and your tribe is always happy to provide perspective and lift you up as well.

You become very comfortable creating boundaries and you construct a revolving grid of mutual respect and equal parts give and take. It feels amazing and it empowers you to do things that you never thought were possible.

Today I am sitting in a place of extreme gratitude. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have the support and inspiration of some of the most gifted, loving and encouraging individuals. I am also not afraid to say that I feel like I fulfill my role in those relationships and that was not always the case.

Someone else’s talent, dedication and worthiness does not diminish your own. If you are not sitting in a place of gratitude you may been wallowing in scarcity and that is a dismal place to be. Please know that you can be grateful for what you have and still desire more and from there you put in the hard work to make it happen. Generally, when you see good things happening for people, they were not born with a “horseshoe up their ass” as we like to say on the East Coast. Most of them work incredibly hard for their accomplishments and just because you do not see that does not mean it doesn’t exist.

I want to say a huge thank you to my people (you know who you are) I see you, I love you, your support and inspiration means more than I can ever truly express. The conversations that we have had, honest, void of ego conversations that have helped me to grow, your willingness to allow me to express myself without judgement and your loving acceptance of all of me has made all of the difference in my life.

Nobody can steal your sunshine without your permission, even on the days when you feel you are attempting to shine through dark clouds, take all the sunshine you can.

You are great. Go be greater.

You have a cheerleader in me.

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Baby, I love your way – Wise Project 2019 #NakedTuesday

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Our craving to be deeply seen
Is often eclipsed by our fears
of being genuinely witnessed
with all of our invisible stains
and rooted soul blemishes;
to be wrapped in the embrace
of purely humbled affection
both tenuous and rare
is something we quietly desire
without having the courage
to ask for it, receive it, or give
it to others…

~Michelle DeBay

 

I promised a piece on intimacy this week and it has been a little tougher than I thought. Everyone has different ideas about what intimacy means to them and most people relate it to their romantic relationships. Being single, I believe I am able to see a less narrow definition of intimacy, one that is reserved just for romantic relationships, but one that if also often missing from romantic relations.

I believe that one of our deepest desires is to be truly seen and understood, void of judgement. Though we desire this, I also believe it is one of our greatest fears. Even those that shine the brightest lights have dimly lit corners that we they do not allow just anyone to see. We have cravings, wants and aspirations that we estimate we will be judged for so we keep those parts of us hidden.

To achieve complete intimacy in any relationship we have to be willing to trust that we will be loved and accepted for who we are and all of who we are. For our humanness, our flaws and all of the things that make us beautiful. Allowing anyone to see those parts of ourselves, despite any initial apprehension is what creates and builds intimacy.

Though our modern society has managed to somewhat separate sex from intimacy, admitting that intimacy involves both emotional and physical connection and vulnerability, we are often still guilty of confusing the two and end up feeling that horrible feeling of betrayal when we fail to satisfy our desire for intimacy with sex, leading to hurt, confusion and questioning our worthiness. This cycle on repeat can leave us feeling consumed, exhausted and depleted.

In any relationship, intimacy creates better and stronger connections. In a romantic relationship it can be the difference between a good and a great relationship. My friend Charmaine said that to her it’s the freedom to explore one another physically and emotionally without judgement. The comfort to be herself without hesitation. To look into her partners eyes and feel safe. I wonder how many people can boast having that in their romantic relationships. Being able to be themselves and be confident that they are enough at all times; free to desire and want and need and express and explore all of it without shame or fear of judgement. Studies show that about 20 percent of marriages are sexless and 43 percent of women and 31% of men (reported…believed to be much higher) experience some sort of sexual dysfunction. I believe it is safe to say that when intimacy is absent, problems become magnified.

I was with my late husband for 20 years and in the beginning things were tumultuous as we struggled to grow as individuals while remaining rooted together, raising a family and hiding our fears and insecurities. If I am honest it wasn’t until the last couple years of our relationship that we found a place of complete intimacy and unconditional love. It was scary for both of us and it meant seeing and being seen without judgement, it meant no blaming or shaming and to always, in any situation, approach the other with love before automatically arbitrating. There were times in our relationship that we were dishonest, we told white lies or untruths and the reason being is we feared the judgment and shame that would arise so it became easier to eliminate certain things from our conversations or to shave little bits off of the truth to make it fit into a pretty box. I am glad that Kirk and I were able to find that place and I know it will help me in all of my relationships going forward. I can recall in the last couple of years of his life having moments that I felt so close to him, that we were somehow connected by invisible bonds yet still felt free. In glimpsing back on those moments I feel amazingly proud that we were able to fight our own fears to get to that place, I can assure you it was not easy.

I have discovered that being yourself is way less scary than having people in your life that do not see you and that you fear you would lose if they really knew you. The greatest revolution is in being yourself and realizing that not everyone is meant to be in your life forever, but the right ones will stay and no matter where they are in the world you will know that a part of them is always with you, and cheering you on, no matter what fucked up thing you just did or said or admitted to.

When someone makes you feel safe and seen and whole and worthy, no matter what, that is intimacy. Not everyone is able to achieve true intimacy and we really need to look inside of ourselves and stare down our own demons. If we fear not being loved for who we truly are, would we really want to be in a relationship with that person? Fears are not always reality, but we create our reality.

I have fears and insecurities, we all do. I work hard on them and at this point in my life I am only interested in investing in people that genuinely care about me for who I am. I do not care about the latest fads or being in the cool club, for me the coolest club is one that you feel like you belong at all times.

In the last several years of my life my experiences have lead me to believe that intimacy is not a passing whim, it is a deep psychological need. Learning to get that need met, in a healthy way in nourishing relationships is a step in the right direction to a meaningful life and happiness in the here and now.

When we connect in an authentic way, from a place of love and vulnerability, we can create magic!

~Michelle DeBay

 

 

 

In a gadda da vida -Wise Project 2019 #NakedTuesdays

feeling that music fill my body and make me move and sway and forget and remember. I love those moments when the music takes over, wrapping you so tightly in melodies that for a short time nothing else matters.

I believe in most circumstances if I used the term in the garden of life, a good amount of people will conjure up images of brightly colored flowers, lush green foliage and quite possibly butterflies. When we think of other peoples lives and gardens we do not think of clearing away the weeds and that which has died, preparing and watering the soil and fertilizing it to promote new and continued growth. We don’t really consider the work that goes into a life, we just see the fruits of that labor.

95.7 Cruz FM played all 17 minutes of in a gadda da vida today on my drive to work, I had heard of the song, I believe there was a reference to it on a Simpsons episode I watched once as well. The song was written by Iron Butterfly Band member Doug Ingle and recorded on their album of the same name in 1968, occupying the entire second side of the album. There are a lot of drug and alcohol fueled rock and roll rumors about the origins of the song meaning and the lyrics but it is just a lot of soulful guitar riffs, drum solos and hard rock goodness to contemplate life to.

I was lost in the music, lost in memories of many a rock concert I had attended over the years, feeling that music fill my body and make me move and sway and forget and remember. I love those moments when the music takes over, wrapping you so tightly in melodies that for a short time nothing else matters. I see a collage of smiles, hip shaking, hands reaching to the sky in glorious abandon. Music has been such a huge part of everything I have ever done in my life that 17 minutes in my truck reminiscing as the psychedelic riffs of In a gadda da vida melt into the background barely scratch the surface.

My garden of life has been rich and blooming, attracting butterflies in the summer swell and it has been dead and dying, thirsty and abandoned and every possible stage in between those to two things.

A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.

— Liberty Hyde Bailey

Sometimes when we see other peoples gardens, we only see what they want us too. We are not so different, those with beautiful bursting blooms and those without. No matter what neighborhood we live in or what box we tick in the salary range we have similar triumphs and challenges. We have similar choices and opportunities.

We have all suffered through moments of immeasurable pain, we have all felt the cruel sting of rejection and heartache. We have all had nights that turned to day where we were consumed by blackness and those that we watched the moon fall and the sun rise with a person that we believed would love us until the end of time. We have all questioned our worthiness, our talents and gifts and we have all had days that it feels like the universe has lined up the stars to light us a pathway to our best life.

We live, we love, we learn, we fall, we cry, we rise.

We often have this feeling that we are alone and we are as reluctant to share our prevailing successes as we are to share our struggles. Both can be scary and intimidating. There is hope in both and rightfully both can and should be shared.

2019 has been great to me so far, it feels like a period of major expansion. I feel like there was a great deal of time that I vacated myself and yet the work that I am doing and the amazing people that I have aligned myself with has afforded me so many exciting opportunities that my body has literally been bursting with excitement. I have developed this incredible “can do” attitude and the dexterity to ask for the things that I want and all of that has proved to be so precious in guiding me on a path to uncover the fierce and unstoppable woman that has been hiding inside of a scared little girl.

I am afraid of regular things, the same as most of you but there has been a shift in those things for me as well. There are areas that I used to struggle with capability and worthiness and now I know unequivocally that I am worthy and capable of everything I set my mind to, I can be as big or as small as I chose to be, the work is all mine, the choices are all mine. Sometimes I imagine the voices of my critics, of my haters and weirdly they are the loudest when I am at my best, they come to try to knock me off perch with their bitterness and alienation. What right do I have to this life? They taunt me. I couldn’t even save my own husband, the person that meant the most, why are my words valuable? Why are they deserving of attention? They tell me I am acting too big for my britches and I need to shut up. I have no right to want an exceptional life. Those words hurt me of course, but they also shame me. Even worse, I know that when I am wading through that shitpile, that it is my own fears, my own judgements and my own inner saboteur that is wreaking havoc on my plans. I know her well, she has talked to me for years. I usually take at least a day to hear her out, I feel like crap, all goodness and motivation is drained out of my day and I feel like a deflated, misshapen balloon lying on the muddy ground at the end of a festival, used, inconsequential…left behind. Then I push that annoying voice away and I go about business as best as I can with a shrunken sense of self that I need to rebuild once again. The other day when she arrived, in the cutting voices of my taunters, I decided to offer her some love; something I had never considered. I often say that when facing challenges we should meet the situation with love first and this is the very first time it had occurred to me to face this with love.

These voices, no matter how they are disguised, no matter what antagonizing words they badger me with, I have come to the realization that they are from a scared little girl and she is a part of me. Anything that is not rooted in love is fear and that despondent little girl is afraid of change and choices and because of that she needs love more than anything.

Sometimes our fears are that we are not enough and others we fear being too much. As much as we fear insignificance, we also fear the magnitude of our personal power. Our brilliance is phenomenal, we have the ability to influence others in tremendous ways, that can all be scary. The fear is the same, fear of being ourselves, in every single way.

I believe that their is a sweeping assumption that people that achieve and people that make certain choices are without fears or struggles, that different opportunities are presented to them. I am lucky to be connected to some fabulously talented people and the number one thing that they have in common is working hard, despite their fears and not using the circumstances that they were born into to determine either their path in life or the choices that they make. They seize opportunities and they work hard. Talents and passions need to be cultivated, nobody gets by on a gift they were born with, with out investing a great deal of their time. Successful people are vulnerable, they open themselves up to the possibility of great attainment or failure and they look for the lesson in both of those things. They do not wait for opportunities, they create opportunities. Those choices are available to all of us. If you want something bad enough you will find a way or you will find an excuse.

I do not always have all of the answers, however I know how to find the answers. I am not afraid to ask the people that know. I spent a great deal of my life, afraid to admit when I didn’t know something in fear that it would make me look foolish. Instead of risking being potentially seen as foolish, I instead just felt foolish. It all feels very foreign to me now.

My boss always tells me how she admires my confidence and the way I hold myself and insists that I have always had that. I have not, no matter how it appeared, I just got really good at faking assurance and poise that I did not actually possess. My late husband thought I was brilliant and bragged to just about everyone he met about how smart and savvy and good at everything I was. I spent a great deal of our twenty years together in fear that he would one day discover that I was none of those things.

Confidence, like anything, is a choice and I chose to ask questions, I chose to educate to myself, I chose to invest in myself and I chose to believe in myself. The outward confidence that I now possess is not because I think I am perfect or that my body is without flaws and imperfections, I just choose to love it anyway and that has made a considerable difference in everything that I do. The way I conduct and carry myself, the way I express myself, the way I feel in a room of people, it is all relative to how I feel about myself as a whole and how I take care of my mind and my body. What I give to those two things, is evident in everything I do. I feel like I fully inhabit my space in the world and I do not feel less than, or inferior. I admire qualities in others without wanting to be them. I am kind and encouraging to others, instead of being envious. I support talented, courageous, and authentic people that give of themselves and their time to create and bring beauty, truth and education to the world through art and wisdom. I have learned the importance of having aspirations and people to look up to. Life is not a competition and I genuinely want us all to win.

We are not so different you and I and I will say it louder for the people in the back, I have fears too, I just act anyway.

Someone said to me last week that I seemed to be totally unaffected by being single on Valentines Day. I thought that was a bit odd and then it made the monkey’s in my head begin to chatter, “should I be affected by being single on Valentines day?” I wasn’t aware that being a part of a couple had such prestige attached to it and though I would like to say for the record that I am not jaded at all by love by I am a bit fatigued by the worn out ideas of what love and relationships should look like. I do not want to count myself among the statistic of people in unfulfilled relationships that do not elevate or inspire in some way. I will not be in a relationship to just avoid being alone. I feel like it is a good time to be by myself so that I can unlearn some unhealthy relationship patterns that I have developed over the years, not the least of, putting myself last. I will not settle. I have plenty of friends and I enjoy my own company, so when the right person wants to seriously share my time and my space with me intimately, it must be someone who makes me laugh, is my best friend or could become that and fulfills me while still giving me room to grow as an individual. There are things I will not compromise on and I know that that is OK. I believe that love should feel like freedom, I know that is possible if not probable in today’s society but it is a non negotiable for me. I believe a heart can love without a soul being chained. Plenty of people have told me that this type of love and relationship does not exist and even if that is the case, who is to say it cannot be created.

Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life.

~Bob Marley

We are the co-creator of every experience that makes up or lives.

I want to encourage you to step beyond your fears, that is where the magic happens.

With love,

xoxo-michelle1

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.

Happy -Wise Project 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

Rolling Stones Mick Jagger Keith Richards
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards onstage in 1971.
Chris Walter/WireImage

 

Recorded in France in 1971, and released on the Rolling Stones Exile on Main St., Happy is a philosophy for life, albeit not mine particularly but I believe we all have and are entitled to our own standard of Happiness. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the lead vocals were sung by Keith Richards who celebrates his 75th birthday today and one year of sobriety.

If you are a regular here you will notice that most of my Tenacious Tuesday posts are titled after songs and each song has some significance to me. To dive a little deeper into that I may lose some of you and some of you may want to commit me but I know that some of you will understand this on an almost inexpiable level.

After I lost my husband to suicide in June 2017 writing was a solace to me but at times it was also very difficult. For a short while I had set my intention to have my Tuesday post written by Saturday, I dedicated one hour for editing on Sunday and Monday I would schedule the post to be published on Tuesday. In theory this worked extremely well but this dedication only lasted for a short time. I started to have a lot of trouble focusing to write at night and I would end up frustrated and I would not be happy with what I created.

I enlisted the help of Kirk, my late husband. Yes, you read that correctly. Kirk left the world physically but I became aware of his spirit presence very soon after he took his last breaths. If you know Kirk, I am sure you have had similar experiences and had zero doubt that Kirk would be an amazing spirit, just as he was an amazing human. Anyway, Kirk communicates with me through music a great deal and he is extremely crafty. It used to bring me to tears frequently; however it has easily become a natural part of my life. What usually happens is that I am driving in my truck with no solid idea of what to write about and I say “babe, play me a song, I need an idea!” A song plays, there is usually a memory attached and the very title spins the web of creation and bam I have an idea. Kirk likely wants ghostwriting credits, however, “to be fair babe, you are my prompter, the ideas and writing are all my own.”  The day that Kirk is able to communicate to me in a way that I can write about his spirit experiences I am going to be stinking rich, or sitting in an asylum, one or the other.

I have been reluctant to write about any of this for a long time and I understand that people can only understand as much as they are able or willing to.

Immediately after Kirk passed away I couldn’t listen to music. Music was a huge part of our lives and Kirk never missed an opportunity to pull me into his arms and dance. Kirk really enjoyed Country music and when I got the guts to turn the radio back on I would only listen to country. That ended up being a disaster and I arrived everywhere with tear stained eyes and mascara running down my cheeks.  I was also never able to go back to my regular radio station. I was a huge fan of Now Radio 102.3 and the morning show with Crash and Mars and the Ginge, I spent the drive home with Ginge’s wife Rachel Day. I cannot explain why I cannot go back to that radio station, I really have no explanation. I started listening to The Locker Room on 95.7 Cruz FM.  I immediately disliked Lochlin Cross, Grant Johnson and James White, especially Lochlin,(mostly Lochlin)  however I was drawn to that station and that was that. I have know come to enjoy the guys and Lochlin has grown on me, I actually see similarities to Kirk in his brash sassiness.

I started hearing Trooper every time I got in the truck “We’re here for a good time, not a long time,”  would play for me several times a day. The simple message “So have a good time, the sun can’t shine everyday” has not only been instrumental in my healing, Kirk and I met at a Trooper Concert so it is completely fitting.  I truly feel that the message in the song is a gift to me, reminding me frequently that life is short and I need to live it now. It became uncanny how many times that song would play just as I was getting in the vehicle and I immediately became aware that it was for me. I dislike it when anyone changes my radio station!  My daughter is impatient and hates listening to commercials and we got in an argument one day on the drive from the South side and I made her turn back to 95.7 and as she complained and grumbled through the commercials I said ‘Kirk, play your daughter a song so she will understand and the song that played after the commercial was “Just like heaven coming down,” by the Tea Party. That is now her song and it comes on frequently, too frequently to be a coincidence, when she is in the truck.

I talk to my mom a lot about the magical happenings surrounding my new relationship with Kirk and the things he does to get attention. I have always wondered if she thought I was losing my mind even though she humored me. In June she flew to Edmonton for Morgan’s high school graduation and at the airport I went to get the truck and grabbed her bags and just as she was getting into the truck Trooper came through the speakers loud and clear ‘We’re here for a good time, not a long, time, so have a good time, the sun can’t shine everyday.” Mom and I both burst into tears and of course I thanked Kirk for showing my mom that I wasn’t crazy. It was an emotional moment for us and we knew that we were in good company.

Flashback to this morning, I am driving to work and I  still have no clue what to write about and I say “

“Kirk, play me a song I need an idea.”

Two amazing things happened. Last night an old friend and roommate from Ontario messaged me, she has been so good to the girls and me, and though we had some issues to overcome when we were young and foolish, we have remained friends for all of these years and she is someone I love and respect. This morning at the red light as Lochlin was introducing the WTF track of the day, Jacqui popped in my head and an extremely vivid memory catapulted me back to Toronto, December of 1994 and Jacqui and I rocking out to one of the most amazing shows ever, The Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge tour which incredibly replaced Pink Floyd’s Division Bell tour (saw that too) as the highest grossing tour ever.  The song that Lochlin played, as a tribute to Keith Richards on his 75th birthday was played during the second set of their Toronto show, all those years ago I will never forget, Keith Richards, illuminated in light as he sang  “Happy” and every distinct line on his face telling a story of a life lived.

It was not a huge moment or revelation, as I mentioned, this has become a natural part of my life. Though this happens frequently, it will never cease to make me smile and be remarkably grateful.  There were a lot of rumors after Kirk’s death, rumors and assumptions about our life and the truth is, if you read backwards on my blog I was always very vocal and honest about Kirk and my marriage, our struggles and our triumphs and the unwavering love and connection that we continue to share. Our connection now is an extension of that. Kirk left his pain; it was never his intention to leave the people he loves. I hesitate to talk about him in the past tense because in my reality he is still a part of my world.

I get that some people find that weird. That is OK.

Someone asked me last week if I felt that my connection to Kirk would keep me from moving on and the answer is “hell no” Kirk wants me to be happy and free and he will never stand in the way of that. I feel that the universe will make it difficult for me to walk into situations that are not meant for me and I also feel that sometimes the things that are meant for me will take patience for it to be the right timing. I know that Kirk can see that all very clearly from his spiritual perch (his high horse) however he will allow me to make my mistakes and continue to root myself in love as I grow and expand. His presence is not a hindrance or obtrusive, it is just something I am aware of, just as you are aware of the sunshine. I know that he is incredibly proud of me. Those messages have come to me through numerous earth angels.

The loss of loved one will teach you countless lessons. Kirk unfortunately spent too much time in a place of pain; it is the very last thing he would want to pass on to the people who loved him. My awareness of his spirit and my connection to him serves as a driving force to keep moving forward even when things feel tough.

We are not meant to be happy 100% of the time. It would be unrealistic and unhealthy. There are feelings that demand to be felt and unfortunately not all of them are joy. A lot of people ask me how I maintain happiness and I would say minute by minute. Life is never happening to us, it is happening through us so awareness of our choices and acceptance of our feelings and how we tie ourselves to certain outcomes is the key to understanding how and why we feel a certain way and the barrage of emotions that can overwhelm us and pull us off course.  Accountability is a word I have thrown around loosely for years while being minimally accountable for any of my actions or feelings. If we are never able to assume any responsibility for our emotions we will sit in a place of judgment of others, instead of a place of love and that UN-leveled playing field makes honest connections difficult. I find that we often get stuck in this place where we believe everyone is crazy or stupid or rude, everyone and everything is the problem and we are so set on that, that we barely take a moment to self reflect on what energy we are bringing to the table. Commonly, the things we dislike in others is mirrored back at us, and we are being given an opportunity to examine our own behaviors.

Gratitude is the number one component to living a life built on happiness. No matter what other emotions we move through with grace; anger, sadness, fear, shame, pity or love, if we remain deeply rooted in gratitude life will be easier and joy will be imminent.

I realize that we are very quickly coming to a close of year three of the Wise Project and the end of 2018. To each ending there is a beginning and I am so grateful that you continue to share in my life and my experiences and share your fears and your triumphs with me. You have lifted me up on the days that I was feeling low, straightened my crown and threw some glitter on me. Your genuine passion for life and for kindness will never be forgotten.

As we enjoy these last weeks of 2018 I would like to invite all of you slow down and enjoy the moments of your life. There is impermanence in life that can work for or against us, the choice is really ours. When we live in awareness with the fact that no life or feeling is permanent we choose to live out of fear or love. Each choice comes with a wildly varying result and neither determines a pain free life; however a life rooted in love will always attract joy.

I choose to live deeply rooted in love and richly infected with gratitude. I hope you will do the same.

Xo

Michelle

Looking Glass Girl Wise Project 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

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Picture courtesy of Yandex.com

Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

The tale of Alice in Wonderland has always been one of my favorites, it toys with reason in what is described as the literary nonsense genre yet there was a time that fantasy was so very real to me and I still trust that the curious characters that assembled for the Mad Hatters Tea Parties were some of the most beguiling characters ever written and though I have wondered often how high on life Lewis Carroll was when he wrote the classic fable, I have always held it in the highest esteem and considered it to be fictitious genius.

The truth is, like Alice, I was a wildly imaginative young girl and I miss those days when I sought guidance from the man in the moon and I imagined Mother Nature as an untamed spirit with bruises on her feet. I believed that the trees were my best friends and each day I abandoned all logic and ran through the woods, hair blowing all over my face; barely able to contain my excitement over my next adventure. There was a large stone I passed everyday, I called it my “Blarney stone” and I would kiss my hand, touch the rock and make a wish.

As I grew older I quietly maintained some of my foolhardy notions, I admit to occasionally talking to the man in the moon, wishing on stars and I still have mad respect and affection for Mother Nature. When putting together a list of some of my favorite movies and coming up with classics like Pans Labyrinth, Spirited Away , Alice in Wonderland, Bridge to Terabithia and Miss Perigrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, I realized that though I miss that wild hearted, untamed girl with the gigantic imagination I believe that she still very much exists inside of me.

I still go back, I still remember….

The past was gone but a trace, the future was irrelevant, nothing was done in haste. With a furiously beating heart and dirt on my cheeks I discovered that the world was alive and that somehow, I was important to all of creation…

                  Looking Glass Girl

I counted sheep and wished on stars. Heaven was a place that wasn’t so far.

He was a dancer and I sang off key, he was an artist and I was the sea.

The storms made me tremble, yet he was so steady, coaxing me forward when I didn’t feel ready.

We read by the light from a sweet cherry moon, escaping to magical places, smiling at mysterious faces.

Our creation was small yet spanned worlds and realities. Joy was as common as a mid day breeze.

Skies were marshmallow and rivers were gold, it was a place where we would never grow old.

Boredom….never. Youth lasted forever.

…and love was as boundless as our imagination. Life was a wild vacation.

Animals were pets roaming free. You were never limited to have just three.

Rainbows WERE the treasure, their candy store colors brought us great pleasure.

You were the King and I was your Queen. We sailed on ships to islands that had never been seen.

I made you a crown from branches and leaves. Together we collected happiness like a small band of thieves.

We lived by the sun and slept by the moon. I’ll never forget that endless sunny June.

You were the photograph, I was the flash, we were snapping for glory, stacking up cash.

You trained the army, I waved the flag, I wore pretty gowns made from a  discolored rag.

You said I was beautiful and handsome you shined. We were a poem that never quite rhymed.

We skipped through the dessert and sailed seven seas. You brought the sparkly juice, I brought the cheese.

Summer, it ended, as quick as it came. We traded our wonder for a new type of game.

We traded our crowns and carried our books. We stayed up to late and studied in nooks.

It didn’t feel real or inviting or free. I missed my soul, I longed for the sea…