Tuesday, 31 December 2013

JUST BE - 2014

Well here I am on the eleventh hour of 2013 and writing my yearly 'ring in the new year with a new word' post.  I declared 2013 to be the year of 'CALM'.  I am aware that I have fallen short in some areas of 'calm' but feel I can turn the page on this year with many valuable lessons under my belt....

I have learned:
  • over committing feeds only my need to please others, while greatly depleting my inner peace and calm.
  • I am greatly driven by my need to please others.
  • what it feels like to sell a piece of my art, and subsequently how to part with pieces of my heart... and how that opened up a whole new way to love and be connected to people I may never ever meet.  Initially, deep breathing was required to instill 'calm'.
  • to not take for granted the miracles that our bodies are, and how frustrating and debilitating it can be when one small part isn't working quite right... and to remind myself to be calm and patient with "it takes as long as it takes."
  • that the things we run away from always end up on the path ahead of us when we least expect it.  'Calm' then only happens when you trudge through the muck to get to the light.
  • I am still learning that I get to own and tell my story...  All of it... And re-re-re-assigning truth to some lies I believed long ago may be a lifelong activity for me, but that too is part of my story.  Calm means embracing that story peeling away the lies and holding on to the truth and then speaking it as loud as possible when it needs to be heard.

I declare 2014 to be the year of 'JUST BE'.  I absolutely need to reconnect with the part of me that knows to live in the here and now...
  • JUST BE in the moment.
  • JUST BE who you are, and nothing else.
  • JUST BE proud to stand up for what is right... whatever the cost.
  • JUST BE willing to surrender the unknown to the Universe and accept what unfolds.
  • JUST BE willing to relinquish control of the things that I was never meant to control in the first place.
  • JUST BE grateful, kind, and compassionate.
  • JUST BE a good role model and ambassador to living a fulfilled life to my children

As I contemplate what is to come in 2014 I already know it is going to hold its fair share of changes, challenges - and growth opportunities...  but I intuitively know that it will also hold so many moments of unconditional love, sheer joy and complete bliss...

I will be ringing in 2014 very gently with only a few of those most precious to me...  I am loved, I am grateful, I am excited.  I am going to simply JUST BE.

Happy New Year!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Just. Love.

...So, I don't like crowds.  I am not comfortable in crowds, I get all nervous and sweaty and even a little paranoid whenever I find myself in large groups of people.  And, I am OK with admitting that it is a weakness.

I wasn't always that way.

I began not liking crowds a few years ago when I was treated very very badly while I was in a crowd.  Then came the fear, self blame, the shame and the self loathing - then the Police report, police investigation, and the photo lineup.  There was a workplace connection, so then came dealing with HR, and the emotions that come with dealing their 'mismanagement of information' - more fear, more shame, and more self blame.  Then came the need to take extra measures to protect myself, my husband and my kids at our home, our work, and at their schools.  Then came the stress leave and the therapy.  Then there was trying to re-establish myself back into my old work environment...  Then there were meetings with all levels of authority and anger and frustration and then attempts at retribution, and encouragement to make amends... Then there was the whole choosing to leave my career for a minimum wage retail position, changing fields, then changing back, but with a different company.

This became my theme song... (click here if video doesn't show up below)

Someday, I hope to be brave enough to write THAT post.  But not today.  Just know that my dislike and fear of crowds is one that I have duly earned.

But... We all know crowds are unavoidable.  They are part of life.  

Well, at least they are a part of my life.  I am head over heals for this guy who loves to play music to crowds, and it is my whole hearted desire to support him in all things that make his eyes sparkle and his heart feel peaceful...  

Also, together, we loved to take in live shows.  We always have.  We have planned vacations around when our favorite bands are touring and gone to where they will be playing next.  This is not something I could give up.  

All of these scenarios leave me constantly checking in with myself to rationalize this almost debilitating fear (at first I wouldn't even go to the grocery store) down to something I can manage, so I can keep doing the things that I love.

This past weekend we had the opportunity to take in, for the first time, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival.  For those who don't know, this music festival takes place over four days on seven stages at a local ski hill, and it sells out (around ten thousand tickets) almost instantly.  It has been going on for 30 some odd years, and has a fabulous reputation for putting on a kick ass show of amazing talent from all over the world, and is something our city is, and should be, very proud of.

But... It draws a crowd.

On the last day of the festival, Sunday, I was exhausted.  

I was exhausted physically, from walking up and down 'the hill' countless times over the course of the past four days, the late nights, the early mornings, and the packing around all our required daily belongings.

I was exhausted emotionally, from having to constantly talk myself off the ledge after being in the throngs of a huge crowd for four days running.

I was about 'festivalled out'.

So, on this day, my husband and I sat on the hill in our chosen location waiting for the final few acts to perform on the main stage.

Then this weird thing happened.  

I don't know if it was all the pot in the air - and there was A LOT - or if I had been just exhausted enough that my carefully placed defenses were beginning to crumble.  But it was like I passed through a worm hole to clarity and peace in the most unlikeliest of places... 

- ya, when I word it like that, it kinda sounds like it was totally the pot. -

All joking aside, it was a very spiritual happening for me.

I started looking into each face of each person who passed me.  Really looking...  Really seeing...

To my surprise, I suddenly didn't see them as part of this huge threatening crowd.

I saw them as a person.  An individual.

As one who laughs and reads and sings and dances.

As one who cried when their dog died, or when someone they loved was sick, or when someone made them feel sad or unworthy.

As one who has self doubt, insecurities, and flaws... and tries every day to overcome them.

As one who has huge dreams that they are just trying to live into.

As one who has to conquer fears every day.

As one who is a friend, a spouse, a child, and a parent.

As one who means the absolute world to someone else.

As one who is just plugging along in this life looking for ways to be blissfully happy.

I saw them as people. Vulnerable, flawed, happy, and loved.  

I saw them as valuable, beautiful, precious souls.

I started wondering what their story was...  What made them who they were...  I spent the entire evening in that head space.

And I found myself just loving them all.

I found myself happy to be in their space, happy to share these moments of amazing live music, with these people whom I didn't even know, but was looking at from the purest part of me.  Without fear, and without judgement.

It was re-emphasized to me that we are all the same.

We are all beautiful, precious souls - trying to maneuver in this life as best we can, amid the noise and the distractions, just looking for ways to connect, and reasons to smile as often as we can along the way.

Just. Love. and keep smiling.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Hello old friend...

I close my eyes on this day contemplating grief.

Stages of Grief
Perhaps it is a staircase. Each step containing all the stages of grief in various quantities, configurations and winding paths. You carry on with the mazes and paths on that step bouncing among the stages until the pain dulls a little... And once you get used to that step, and are comfortable with it, the next step suddenly reveals its self...

This step also contains all the stages of grief. You know them well, you have become old friends... But again, they show up in different variations- they blaze new trails in areas that are new... Bringing a sadness that sits a little deeper in your heart. It can catch you off guard, the punch it packs - as you let the stages of grief lead you through the paths and mazes they are blazing ahead of you.

You have learned to trust the stages of grief. They have never failed you. You have learned over the years that resisting them is futile. That you stay stuck in one place if you refuse to walk the way it leads you. That the fastest way is just straight through the muck. You have tried skirting safely around the edges, but know by now, there is no way to avoid the deepest spots. Skirting around the edges prolongs the agony.

You have also learned to embrace the pain, to welcome it, and to just cry sometimes... Because you know the growth is so worth it. It waits for you on the other side of the muck ...gleaming golden and shiney like a big beautiful prize. Sometimes you can't see it... But experience tells you it's there... And you have learned to trust experience as you have learned to trust the stages of grief. It too has never let you down.

When you reach that gleaming golden prize... You hoist it above your head and shout out and do a well deserved victory dance... You stay in that space for a while, you deserve it. You deserve to rest... You reflect and celebrate your accomplishments. 'Wow. I went through all that?" you say.

When it is time, you pick up your gleaming golden prize and you carry it with you - with the others you have achieved along the way. When the next step reveals itself, and by now, experience tells you it will ... you respectfully bow your head and say "ok. I got this."

Perhaps the staircase is spiral... And each step and the paths and trails and teachings the stages lead through actually lead you closer and closer to the grief that resides in the core of your spirit... Where it sits, patiently, just waiting to be felt.  Only then can we be free.

And I think in as much as possible we are just meant to make the most of our journey to it.

"I embrace my desire to
feel the rhythm, to feel connected
enough to step aside and weep like a widow
to feel inspired, to fathom the power,
to witness the beauty, to bathe in the fountain,
to swing on the spiral
of our divinity and still be a human."
Maynard James Keenan - Lateralus TOOL 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Oh sweet clarity...

Yesterday was one of 'those' days.  Things went right, and things went wrong...  Much to be happy about, some to be nervous about, and even a little to be upset over.  I would call it a bit of an emotional rollercoaster kinda day. 

Last night, however, I was able to put much of the day behind me, and went to bed feeling SO loved, and so incredibly in love... This morning I happily woke with that peaceful loved and loving feeling still in my heart.
I opened my email while I was having coffee, as I do every day...  And there sat an email regarding the things that set off me on yesterday's rollercoaster.  Aaand low and behold... off I go again. I won't bore you with the details, in fact I am probably not even at liberty to fully discuss the situation openly at this time, but those details are irrelevant to this story.

This morning, I had a HUGE breakthrough moment... A moment where I slid into a place of clarity that I had never ever been before.

As I read the email this morning that set me off on an angry rant, my husband tells me, as he tells me almost every day about many many things work, life, and volunteer related...  "You need to not take this so personally" "you can't let this stuff get to your heart".

The familiarity of his words struck a chord within me...  "Coreena cries at TELUS commercials".  "Coreena cries at the news". "Coreena are you FOR REAL crying at Dumb and Dumber?".  "Coreena, you are taking it to personally" ... I have been hearing this stuff...these words MY WHOLE LIFE!

My husband's well meaning words sent me into my normal and oh so familiar spiral of negative self talk.  "Oh you did it again, you are so stupid. " and more stuff that I just won't share here...

Then my mouth opened and without even knowing the words that were going to come out I said "Honey, what if this is a strength and not a weakness.  Taking things to heart is who I am, and I like who I am.  It makes me SO good at so many things, including my job, being a mom, and volunteering...  Maybe I am not supposed to be able to turn that off?" 

He got really quiet and then said "Well, that's true.  I hadn't looked at it like that before.  But can you do that without beating yourself up??  I don't like it when you beat yourself up."

I said "Maybe I beat myself up because I keep not feeling like everyone tells me I should feel.  Maybe I should just feel how I feel?"

YESSSSSS!  Freedom.

Negative self talk... you're going down...

Clarity. Sweet sweet clarity.