That summer feeling: W.I.S.E. project 2016

In Don Henley’s 1984 classic Boys of Summer, “The summer’s out of reach” and so is the lady in the song that crushed his heart. “Those days are gone forever,” Henley croons. “I should just let them go.” The wistful lyrics gently remind us of the past slipping away, which is what the end of summer is really all about. However; with every ending we are offered a beginning as well and let’s not forget that Don Henley indeed saw a “Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac” which gave us us one of 1980s most iconic song lyrics.

The blazing evening sun hangs in the sky just a little lower than the days before, warm nights awaken to cool mornings and the emerald green of the trees has been dulled by hot days, some of the leaves have already turned to yellow, curling up around the edges. The summer of love will inevitably give way to the fall of responsibility, to sweaters, fuzzy blankets and pumpkin spice lattes. It is a time for long walks, thick socks, big books and new ideas and inspiration. Don’t mourn an ending but rejoice a beginning some would say. The promise of fall is just around the corner.

We always have a plan of what our summer is going to be like and I think no matter what we did it never seems enough. We long for just one more warm night, walk on the beach, hike in the mountains, skinny dip in the lake. It is a feeling of incomplete-ness that leaves us longing for more. Wet bathing suits wrapped in damp towels, dripping ice cream, sandy flips flops and iced coffee step aside for cardigans, hot soup and long pants. The change is inevitable, it happens every year but somehow we find ourselves not quite ready.

Fall is a beautiful time in Canada though. I felt the hint of it in the cool air this weekend as we visited Victoria. Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada, and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada’s Pacific coast. Victoria has a temperate climate and boasts rugged shorelines and beautiful beaches. Some of the trees have already started their decent into the gold hues of autumn and tourists line up at downtown restaurants and ice cream shops for tasty eats and cool treats, one last taste of summer.

Summer slows down at my work so the shift between seasons is quite significant. Fall means more responsibility, longer hours but less daylight, more to do lists and less quiet time.

I do enjoy seasons. There is something subtle in the intervals between the changing climate that makes you cling to one while at the same time longing for what is to come. For instance I hate shoveling snow but I sure love the way street lights glow against the diamond like powder of a fresh snowfall.

My W.I.S.E. principles for August were willing, idea, strong and evolve. I didn’t focus on these as much as I would previously in the project as I tried to just focus on the good of everyday. I mentioned in an earlier post that I felt like I was focusing so much on the principles that I was losing sight of the present moment, of being mindful and seeking joy in everyday. I do however appreciate looking back on the principles and reflecting on my growth and the areas where I have learned and things I can improve on. The purpose of this project was to be more mindful and find and create a deeper experience of joy in the present moment. Unchaining myself from the shackles of the past and becoming the person I am meant to be. Instead of living in a place of pain or shame I am learning to walk through it, to feel it, to take the lesson and to move on stronger. UN-scarred but possibly with a warrior wound or two.

I visited my husband in Vancouver last week as he is working there and I had not seen him in over 40 days. My second night there we had an argument and it wasn’t awful it was inevitable. I always say that if a couple does not argue someone is getting their own way all the time.

It was one of those times where I feel like I used all of the above principles. I was willing to speak up when I encountered a problem, I had ideas on how to make things better, I was strong enough to say what I wanted and I feel like I have evolved in my fighting style to be less mean and more meaningful. I have never been the type to hold back in an argument but I was the type to hold onto the bad feelings. These are the things I am working on.

My husband has worked away for years and although it has always come with it’s own set of challenges forty days apart has never been the norm for us but it is quickly becoming so. We are at a point in our lives and our relationship that we enjoy each others company, we are not afraid to share our feelings and we genuinely want to share our time. Loneliness has become a very real thing and we are challenged everyday to find the time to stay connected. When my husband worked away in the Oilsands no matter what he told me about the work conditions and living in camps there was an undeniable disconnect between what he relayed to me and what I understood. This year I have been visiting him at his away jobs and I am able to get a sense for the solitary feeling that looms around you when you work and live alone. I want to hold unto him like I want to hold unto that summer feeling and it has had an affect on me to the point that I have to dig very deep everyday to expel the foreboding perception of emptiness that torments me.

For those of you who have spouses that work away I am more than open to ideas on how you nurture your connection during long periods apart. I want to be able to acknowledge that I miss him but I don’t want to be miserable and lonely all of the time.

My September principles are wellness, improvement, savor and effort. I am hoping with some effort I can find an improvement to my current situation of loving and longing, to savor the moments we get to steal together and to continue to journey towards wellness and living purposely in the present.

If we can’t hold onto summer lets try to hold onto that summer feeling.

Be W.I.S.E. friends!



Thousand Acre Heart Part 14 We were on a break

Someone told me long ago there’s a calm before the storm, I know its been coming for sometime.
CCR Have You Ever Seen The Rain

Kirk and I growing apart was gradual but when life as we knew it exploded everything we knew  changed in an instant.

 Marriages are like growing a garden. With a lot of hard work and love you will get rewarded but if you neglect that garden it will dry up. People, like gardens, thirst and crave. When their needs are not being met some people dry up and become bitter and others fight for what they need. Life is survival of the fittest, of the most determined, of the most heart.

When I came to the realization that my marriage was dying I wondered how it happened so quickly but the truth is it didn’t happen overnight. As a mother I was juggling many balls and the one that was my marriage dropped and rolled under the coach and I neglected to pick it up because I thought It would always be there, when I got around to it. 
When Kirk and I met we collided. Falling in love with him was like finding the answer to all my questions. I loved the smell of him. I loved his intensity and passion. He is a fiery Scorpio, probably the worst match for a logical Capricorn like me. Being with someone like Kirk is like riding a Roller Coaster. When you are up, you are so high up you want to reach for the stars. The lights are bright, dizzying almost and the music is a nice accompaniment to your feeling of elation. When the Roller Coaster drops it happens so quickly that you barely catch your breath, the vibrant lights are but a memory and though you are still dizzy, that euphoria is now mingled with sadness and longing. That was our young life together, chasing the highs, enduring the lows and never really knowing anything in between. 

Truth is often harder to write then fiction but one thing I know for certain is that putting syrup on shit doesn’t make it pancakes and quite quickly my marriage became shit. I neglected my marriage.  Kirk became that plant in the corner that used to be bright and shiny and full of life, my favorite. I used to make sure he was nurtured and loved and then when both girls came along, his happiness became less and less of a priority for me. I had two beautiful girls to raise. I had been given a second and third chance at motherhood and I was determined to make the most of that. Somewhere out there was a 14 year old boy that I never had the opportunity to sing lullabies to and soothe away his fears. I needed to be the best mother I could and what I thought was my strength as a mother became my weakness as a wife. 

I am absolutely not taking all the blame. Until recently I wouldn’t take any of it at all. That meant I spent many years hurt and broken. I was self righteous,  indignant and mad. I held unto years of unnecessary pain. I punished Kirk and in turn I tortured myself. 

There are always warning signs and we made feeble attemps at improving our situation but we came to a point where instead of us against the world it was us against each other. It was a no win battle. We floated around, going through the motions without really connecting with each other. Kirk should have told me. He should have shook me till I got it. He held tightly undo some of his own childhood issues and chose to make me as unimportant in his life as he felt in mine. 

The physical connection was the one thing we clung to for dear life. It was our only form of communication we had that didn’t end in an argument. It was full of promises and apologies we were both to proud to say out loud. We became the couple that just passed each other in the hallways and we made no effort to be a part of each others lives or interests. Kirk was barely home, even when he wasn’t working he was hanging out with his friends. Had I made an effort to care I might have recognized that several of his friends were newly separated and that wasn’t a good situation for him, but instead we just carried on with the draining day to day fight and make up mentality that was wearing us both thin. 
I was dealt a huge blow when I found out that Kirk had kept a huge secret from me that threatened our marriage and several others. Instead of having the guts to tell me he made little hints until I started to dig and question. A long tale of lies and deceit began to unravel and what I found is that Kirk had kept a huge secret for a friend at the expense of his own marriage and others, even going as far as being a scapegoat for a cheating friend and getting tangled so deeply in a web that he couldn’t see his way out. Initially though I was furious at him we held tight to each other. It opened up the lines of communication between us and for a very short time it was us against the world again. It was short lived  though. We tried to talk like we used to but in divulving our truths it was clear to me that his choices were poor, his judgement wasn’t rational and we didn’t have much in common. I believed that I was better then him and he didn’t disagree. I recall quite clearly the day he left. He worked late and instead of coming home he went to his buddys. He was a truck driver so when he didn’t call to check in of course I was worried. When he crawled in the next day he said he didn’t want to wake me. I cried bullshit. I was mad and tired. I had spent one of countless sleepless nights worried. I had had enough. I told him we needed a break, he agreed and left. 

Kirk was always a runner. He always chose leaving over arguing. He left me in tears several times over the years only to come back later and apologize. This time was different and I knew it immediately. Without raised voices or slammed doors he quietly walked out. We were on a break!

Unlike the infamous Ross and Rachel break I didn’t have the luxury of sitting in front of a rainy window listening to U2 ballads. I had to be a mommy. Haley was almost 8 monthes old, Morgan had just turned five. It was Nov 21, just over a month till Christmas. Good Times.