Saturday, October 10, 2015

Taking a Lesson From the Trees

This photo recently came across my FaceBook feed and it really brought on a sense of wonder and awe as well as a desire to genuinely embrace this season of letting things go. Letting dead things go. This post really arrived at a time that preceded some chaotic stuff. "The lesson repeats itself until it is learned." was another little meme that really hit my awareness too. I believe the two are going hand in hand for me right now.

There are experiences that continue to repeat themselves. I am really digging deep to look at what is going on inside myself because I understand how painful it has been to continue running from it! I have not done it alone. I have had some seriously great pillars who have been super strong and let me lean on them. I often hear them say, "That's what friends are for" or "that's what family is for." But it goes beyond that because not all of my friends have been pillars for me. Not all of my friends would get down in the shit with me to make sure I could at least stand up.

I have never hinged my ability to get through things on my friends. Sure, a shoulder to cry on here and there or someone to vent to, but not the messy stuff. And I am soooo grateful for the ones who could see. They could see me where I was and let me be where I was without trying to make it ok. That was what I needed. I didn't need another f-ing pep-talk, I didn't need another person to tell me I would figure it out. I just needed someone to sit there with me, acknowledge that it sucked and tell me that I gotta work through it, but it would be OK. The people who have shown up for me somehow know that I have to navigate this by myself to a certain degree, but they see when I'm drowning and offer up a life jacket and a check-in to make sure everything is as good as it can be. Although they, along with me, do not know the destination I will arrive at, they somehow know when I've venture off course and bring me back to focus.

And here's the deal. There are people everywhere who struggle on a daily basis without these kinds of people in their lives or they have these people in their lives, but they don't let them help them. Your perception of my ordeal may seem irrelevant in the face of yours, because after all, our own struggles are always way more important than those around us. We are selfish by nature, there is no need to hide that. You are allowed to have your ordeals. (But I'm talking real problems here. Not Sephora discontinued my line of lipstick, or my iphone doesn't do that app right, or my Netflix wasn't working for an entire week...those are what you call luxuries) But then we look at our ordeals and compare them to people with terminal diseases, or living in war torn countries, or whatever the situation might be and feel guilty for ever thinking that our problems could warrant so much worry.

Some of your worries really do warrant worry! And sometimes comparing your ordeal to another (insert seriously large social problem here) is a means to catapult you into more gratitude! Which is great! Everybody's lives are different yet the same. We all have shit coming up for us to work on. The difference is that some of us realize that we're working on stuff and others of us just think that 'it's life' and keep rolling. Those of us who pay attention often notice the repetition of our cycles and get really tired of having the same shitty experiences over and over and get curious about what's underneath it all only to unearth more shit...oh the joy!

Somewhere in there though comes the end of shit and you can see all you have unearthed and you can take stock of what's alive and well, what is dead and what could use a little life support. When you see it all laid out there for you, you get CHOICE! You get to choose how you use all those lessons that shit churned up, you get to choose what stays and what goes and you get to have another go at it. So you begin to rebuild a new foundation without all the old shit. (There will probably be new shit that comes up, but hey, you've been here before. You know the deal. Stick it out, sift through it, take the nuggets and leave the rest.)

Life transforms you when you allow life to transform itself. When you can see that life is nudging you to have a good look at life, take the time and have a good look. These are important moments that shape the path ahead.

Let the dead things go. Their time has come.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Faith...Do I Have It?

Because I am ready to write now. (see previous post if this sentence confuses you)

I had a moment, and I have known this moment was a 'defining' moment for a long time. It was a moment when my world around me collapsed (temporarily) and so did I (maybe not so temporarily). It was a moment where I questioned every belief I had ever been taught to believe for 14 years. It was a moment, not where I stood up and brushed myself off and said, "Ok we can do this." But rather it was a moment where I stood up and said, "The walls must go up now. They must be impenetrable and they must be heavily guarded. I will get up, but this is what people will see, the fortress of strength that I will now have to become."

In reality, shock and grief had collapsed me and they begged me to stay there. They begged me to let go and cry and FEEL myself going through shock and grief and anger and hurt. They didn't want me to stay there forever, they simply knew we needed to hang out for a while.

I was not interested...

What I could not comprehend then was that freak accidents, that crazy shit that happens to everyone else, those sudden and unexpected deaths that are so, well, unexpected could indeed happen to my family, to me. Also, what I could not comprehend then was that these moments can change our life. I did not see it as a moment where I could learn to grieve and simultaneously celebrate someone's life, I saw this moment as the day that God showed me what an asshole he was. Along with sending God 'back to where he came from' I sent Faith along with it.

This is where I am today. Playing with Faith, wondering what she's about, whether or not I 'have her', how I had her all tied up to God and how I didn't really even know she had existed in my life prior to the 'moment' when I sent her packing. And then there is the question, "Can Faith and God be exclusive of each other?" Do I have to have God to have Faith?

I do not believe that there is one 'God' above all. I believe that the many scriptures and religions out there serve as a way to educate in all the ways that spirit shows up in our lives. Some days it's Buddha, some days it's not. Some days it's praying, some days it's not. Can I have Faith without God?

I keep reading that question and thinking, "but it's more than that."

Sunday, October 4, 2015

I'm Not Ready to Write Yet. I'm Having a Conversation with Disappointment

I'm not. I'm not ready to write yet because it feels totally unnatural for me to do what seemed to be effortless when it was effortless.

It feels jagged and choppy and uncomfortable to sit here and write. It feels like my life! I'm not ready to write because I feel the ick of my life spilling out onto the screen. I feel it's stickiness pulling at all the words, except it is not pulling them out, but rather preventing them from moving at all.

I'm not ready to write yet because I feel exhausted with my life. Every day I wake up with optimism (the level of which is entirely relative to the amount of optimism I woke up with the day before or hope to wake up with tomorrow) only to be shown new levels of low.

I am learning that disappointment may be the most challenging of states to work through. Going on nine months of being so keenly aware of disappointment is both a blessing and a curse. It blesses me by forcing me to be grateful and find moments of joy and celebrate them. It curses me by throwing me into stints of anxiety and depression. While most states I have been able to work my way out of with the tools that I have, disappointment comes out of no where, takes me by surprise with a guise of hopeful charm and then tosses me down and laughs at me.

Nowadays I get up much quicker and its laugh isn't quite so taunting. I half expect it now. Sometimes I wonder if I put myself in the way of disappointment just to see how much I can take; how strong I can become; how fast I can get up and keep moving; whether I can become agile enough to play it's game and perhaps one day be able to throw it down. Only if I was able to reach that state, I would not laugh. I would just look disappointment in the eye and say, "Are you done...because I am." And I would hold it down there, like a misbehaving dog, until it submitted and said, "Yes. I am done. You win." At which time I would remind Disappointment that it is not about winning and losing, it is about coexisting and understanding. I haven't decided if I will leave Disappointment down there or if I will offer a hand to lift him back up. I'm not ready to write yet.

Can I forgive Disappointment? I'm not ready to write yet.
Can I tell Disappointment that I'm ready to live a life with him in my existence yet? Not ready to write that yet either.
Do I understand that Disappointment is inevitably a part of life? Yes. And what I need from Disappointment is a helping hand back up after he knocks me on my ass! I need Disappointment to look me in the eye and say, "Are you going to keep going?" "Are you going to go live life anyway?" "Are you going to let it go?" "Are you going to work at it?"

Maybe I'm ready to write now.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Canadian Perspective

Today is the day after.

It is the day after a soldier fell and died from being shot guarding a war memorial. It is the day after the same shooter ran through Parliament only to find his own final moments making his peace with the bullet of an others gun. It is the day after Canadian news made international headlines for an Attack on Ottawa.

First, let me clarify that if there is an underlying stereotype that I am operating with, it is that the majority of people associate Islamics as terrorists. I believe terrorism has many faces, religions and ideals. This planet has a long history. Second, I will tell you that this is merely my perspective, through the lenses of my own life experience. Third, get a grip on reality. Fear, greed and violence vs truth, ownership and solutions. Filter all the media input and chatter through the question, "Am I really seeing this from all angles?"

Yesterday, as I watched the news take over the television and my Facebook feed I only felt still and aware, listening for more information, trying to avoid the constant replays of video footage and checking back to see if there had been updates. As the day went on my anger began to rise not at the shooter, rather at Canadians naive enough to believe that this cannot happen on our soil. Do we feel so entitled to our freedom that we believe that these so called terrorists do not live in our country, that they cannot get on a plane tomorrow and land in a Canadian airport with the goal of terrorizing us? Do we genuinely believe there are not people in the world who dislike us? Do we actually believe we are immune simply because because they are 'over there' on the other side of the ocean?

There is no country on this planet that is not accessible by some form of transportation. There are any number of technological devices that can be used remotely. Our world is small and we are more connected than ever. We are not out of reach of anybody and I don't mean that just as a Canadian, I can confidently say that about every country in the world. If you don't believe me, look at Ebola. How far away are the countries in West Africa? One plane ride...

For the last five months, while in Europe, I repeatedly said that coming from a country that has not seen a world war on it's own soil, it is hard to imagine, to integrate all the war experiences you are exposed to. You simply cannot comprehend the magnitude of what that does to a land, to a culture, to it's people and their faith. To their families and communities. It is too overwhelming to imagine. You can see it in their eyes. And here I am today, hearing Canadians lash out about how we have been wronged and violated and how we are victims of terrorist crimes. We lost a single soldier on our home land yesterday and today the nation commemorates his life because we had the ability and safety to choose to do so! Despite what we might believe, there are soldiers in the middle east fighting to keep civilians safe. There are true Islamics fighting the extremists every day, but I doubt those people get the freedom or safety to commemorate anyone. They might be lucky if they get to mourn. That is violation.

Yesterday, today and for likely all my tomorrows I will be grateful to have lived in a country that has, so far, been free of war on its soil. I do not feel violated. I do not feel wronged. I feel alert and aware and investigative.

This is an opportunity to find perspective. We, as Canadians, have not been wronged or violated. We have merely been prodded. It is easy to mistrust when fear is all around. Some people are counting on this. Our responses (as individuals and as those representing us) and steps following this day will dictate how our future unfolds both within our own borders with our own people and outside it internationally. We must start paying attention, if only for ourselves.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Random Findings on a Mac

I was fumbling through folders on my laptop and came across this piece. I had to share it...I am so grateful for my writing and for another years worth of experience that I have brought to reading this. I would not change a thing.

Crack Me Open…Please!

God damn the last few months have been challenging. From health to happiness to work and relationships; anything and everything I could possibly feel has run through me with an intensity unlike any I have experienced.

My life has reached a perturbation point…AGAIN! And this time the reorganization of my life is less about letting go and more about moving on. I want to make a distinction between the two for myself. Letting go, for me, is releasing my attachment to what should or should not be and allowing it to be as it is because it is beyond my control. Moving on, for me, is a realization that the situation may be beyond my control, yet my ability maintain my happiness and health is dependent on my own conscious choices to honour and respect myself.

I have been wanting for months to feel something other than frustration and hurt and disappointment. I have been loathe to the fact that I have felt out of alignment for far too long. I have been resentful for circumstances in which I have found myself in and have been wondering if I am not becoming a martyr for a cause that seems to care so little about me.

And then I found myself in a room of 200 people this weekend as an event supervisor, completely unattached to anything other than getting the event delivered to the best of my abilities. It was not my designation position to help clients enroll in programs, or train the staff on how to communicate effectively with clients, or worry about whether or not I would offer someone a benefit of the doubt in the hopes that I could help them to help themselves change their lives. I found myself in support of a gracious and kick ass team who showed me what it was like to be of service again. Who modeled to me what it was like to have fun and smell the roses and who showed me in more ways than one, that they had my back and would do anything to make my job as smooth as possible. They showed me over and over again what it means to care about something bigger than yourself, to care about others because they are scared and new to change, to care about each other because that’s all we’ve got. They showed me a part of me I have long since lived in…and that’s a tough pill to swallow.

And there was a room full of people who reminded me that there are always wounds that need to be healed, that the most minute details can have a major impact, that people are always seeking something and usually the root of that something is a wound that needs healing whether it’s personal, financial, physical, mental, spiritual. The healing of those hurts is what allows them to transcend beyond their reality to create a new one. The healing is what creates their freedom from whatever chains may lay around their ankles, wrists, or necks.

I want more of this. I want more of these moments of vision, compassion, heartfelt caring and empathy and I want more of the moments that bring me to tears as I listen to people share from the back of the room and think to myself awestruck, “I helped create that for that person…wow. I helped to create freedom for that person, I helped to create empowerment for her. I helped to create healing for him. I helped to create a lighter, more conscious world this weekend…”

It’s not OK for things to continue as they are. I have always been willing to stand in the fire and hold space for shifts to occur. I have been standing in the fire long enough…I am beginning to get burned.