Friday, 5 February 2016

Abundance

I don't even like to admit out loud how stressed I am feeling about money. Trying to trust that I will come out of the valley and that all will work out. It always does. And allowing myself to feel the fear when I look at my credit card bill. To admit out loud that I feel a bit lost in terms of my work.

I know I'm not stuck. I could take on more hours at my 3 day/week job in the architectural firm.. but I haven't wanted to do that. I love leaving space for creativity.. I need to. Just lately, that creativity hasn't necessarily had me keeping up with all my bills. And my generosity has me living much beyond my means. Consistently.

I know I could go back to doing art therapy and I'm certainly being encouraged by some of my friends towards this. But.. I'm not certain about that either. I have been waiting for the universe to lead the way.

I've been applying for some big craft shows, investing in myself and my company - equipment, supplies, website.. spending money to make money. Knowing that in the long run it will all pay off. But in the short term, it can be scary.

This morning, in a moment of depletion and desperation I lay in bed crying. Whispering.. please universe... give me a break. Help lead me where I need to go.

I still don't have the answers and I know I am going to have to do something soon if there isn't a natural shift into a deeper flow of abundance. I am ready for things to be different. I am ready to have enough and to live free of financial stresses. I am ready to live my purpose and give what I am meant to give in the world.

I know there are also some lessons here for me in receiving. In learning not to give so much of myself and to give beyond my means. I know there is lesson in learning to allow others to take care of me. Thank you for the gentle reminders.


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Dreaming Tree Paper Company

My life has been full of books lately. Shopping and making journals as I prepare to drop 50 new titles at a store tomorrow and to apply for one of my favourite shows of the year.

I have been making journals from old hardcover books since 2008. It's a creative and meditative process that I love. 

I've spent a bit of time building a new website this week. It still needs some work, but it feels good to make progress towards all these little things that contribute to sustaining the creative life I had chosen. 

www.dreamingtreepaper.com

Thank you universe for helping me live the life I choose. 



Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Rhythm of life

Do I acknowledge that I didn't write yesterday? This is the first thing I'm thinking about. And the answer is yes, yes of course I acknowledge it.  

It's not that I think anyone would even notice if I didn't. I know this challenge is really for me. But I am open. That's how I long to live my life. Open and vulnerable and real. Two feet in. 

I want to show up here when the words are flowing and when they are not flowing. I want to continue to commit to show up here as often as I can. 

And I want to also give myself permission not to show up sometimes. To let myself be fully in all the moments of life. To flow with the natural rhythm of the universe. 

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Reflecting

So many things happened this weekend.. today. The fullness of a life lived with a heart wide open. So many emotions on the surface.. feeling the depths of everything. Reflecting on so many things.

This moment I am filled with such gratitude. My heart is full.
Thank you universe.

It is the last day of January and I am reflecting on my commitment to write everyday here. It has been good.. it has felt important. And it has been hard. My days are so often full that this is the last thing I do. I'll admit that it is often difficult to stop and sit down here to write. Hard to know what to say.. to trust that I will find the words.

But I also know I need this.
The silence within myself at the end of the day.

So.. here I am.
Meeting myself... reaching to you.
Giving whatever I have.
Trusting there is reason.
Knowing it is enough.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

reminders

Today I am reminded how easily misunderstandings can happen.
And equally... how easily misunderstandings can be resolved.
With openness. Compassion. Love. Respect.
And a shared desire for peace.

I was reminded of the beauty of friendships.
The importance of staying connected with those who have known us a lifetime.
And equally... with those we have just met.
To see ourselves through the mirrors of all our relationships.
To know where we have come from... and where we have grown to.

Oh life.. you are a beautiful mystery.
I feel you so deeply these days.

Nothing

Sometimes too many words get spoken and there is nothing left to write. 

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Thank you

Thank you universe.

For this precious life.
For love.
For calling me to my purpose.
For the courage to face my fears.
For the ability to feel my emotions deeply.
For mother earth.
For my family. For my son.
For the inspiration I'm feeling.
For true friendships.
For my community.
For music and art and creativity.
For this mild Winnipeg winter.
For my health. My job. My home.
For helping me trust.
For bringing me everything I need.

So so much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Spontaneity

I love when there is space for spontaneity. Tonight.
One of my dear friends comes over on Wednesday nights to run a yoga class in my home. Sometimes it is just she and I. Sometimes a couple others.

She was ready to teach, but what was flowing more naturally was conversation, food, music, video, ideas about creative projects, insights about life. We were inspired and we let ourselves go with it. Giving permission to break our own rules. To hold an intention for one thing, but to leave space for another. Whatever is for our highest good.

I trust we got exactly what we needed tonight.
Thank you universe.

I had hoped to share a video here.. living room sessions style.. but the moments the most magic flowed the camera wasn't on. Isn't that the way... our full presence making them magic.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Note to Self

I was on twitter today and came across this article in the Toronto Star that intrigued me, What Advice would you give your younger self? It was about a project that the Aurora photography club did called Note to Self shooting 101 portraits and asking participants to write a short (200 word) letter to their younger self. They then asked them to submit a photo of them in their childhood.

The letters were really amazing.. they inspired me to do the same.

Julie Epp, 39 years old, and as a young child

Dear Julie,

You’re going to face some hard times.
Sometimes you will feel lost, sad and alone.
It’s okay to feel all your feelings. It's okay to cry.
To be able to feel this deeply is a gift.
Don't lose the precious sensitivity of your heart.

Know that life will get easier.
You will feel love, joy and bliss that deeply too.

People might try to tell you that you aren’t going to make it.
Don't believe them. You will.
You will hear that you aren’t loved.
It isn't true. You are.
It might take a while, but you will one day believe it.

You might be tempted to change in order to be loved.
But be true to yourself... real love doesn't ask you to change.
You will find people who love you for you.

You won’t always fit in. I know this will be hard, but you aren’t supposed to.
You are meant to make your own path in the world.
Don't ever believe you can't do something.
You can do anything!

Love with your heart wide open.
Have compassion for others.
Be courageous.
Follow your heart.
Help people.
Forgive.
Dream big.
Trust.

Everything is going to work out.
I promise it will.


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Perfect

Today was one of those days that stands out as perfect.
It wasn't anything earth shattering.
Just a bunch of simple, beautiful, perfect moments lived fully.

Morning coffee and waffles with the most perfect company.
Driving around the city to pick up Nancy Drew books for journal making.
A peaceful solo forest walk.. reconnecting with the beauty of mother earth.
Grocery shopping.. nourishing food.. juicing ingredients.
Home. Laundry, emails, dishes... productivity.
Afternoon skate on the newly opened river trail with Kari and hundreds of others.
All the smiling (beaming) faces. Such joy on this beautiful winter day.
Dreams coming true.
Then home for a quiet night of reading and writing... a hot bath.
A spontaneous visit from my favourite friend. A beautiful shared meal.

This moment now... Jackson is purring at my feet.
My heart is full and overflowing. I feel so at peace.






Saturday, 23 January 2016

Living our purpose

"The world needs all its flowers, just as they are, and even though they bloom for only the briefest of moments, which we call a lifetime. It is our job to find out, one by one and collectively what kind of flowers we are, and to share our unique beauty with the world in the precious time that we have, and to leave the children and grandchildren a legacy of wisdom and compassion embodied in the way we live..." - Jon Kabat-Zinn -from Coming to Our Senses

What is it I have to give to the world? A lifetime of experiences and insights... challenges and learnings.. struggles and growth. How do I give voice to my own unique expression? How do any of us show up in the world to do exactly what we are meant to do. How do we find our way?

For some people, knowing their purpose is easy. I have met those people.. the husband and wife veterinary team (Neil and Cathy) at the clinic I worked at 20 years ago. Cathy knew since she was a little girl that she wanted to work with animals.. it was what she was called to do. All of her studies were aligned to that.. she went straight from high school to university to vet school. Eventually opening her own large and small animal clinic which makes a huge impact on a large community outside of Winnipeg. I spent a lot of time there in my formative years.. I worked at the vet for eight years.. beginning when I was in high school. The family run clinic was like my own family and Cathy was an especially important mentor in my life. I remember always being amazed how she knew so deeply what she wanted to do. How easy it was for her to follow her path. In those days, I felt like I was just discovering myself and I certainly didn't know my path. I was in pre-vet at the time.. thinking that science and veterinary medicine might be for me. But the truth was that this was my parents desire for me. I felt lost for a long time. And next to her, I felt like I should know the answers... that perhaps there was something wrong with me for not knowing my purpose.

But my journey was different. It wasn't until I moved out when I was 20 that I really began to discover who I was... when I finally had an identity outside of the tightly sheltered family I had grown up in. I discovered that I was an artist.. a writer and a photographer. I was completely different from most of my family.. it took leaving them and taking a lot of years to myself to truly become who I was meant to be.

I spent years reading, learning, exploring, discovering. Trying to find what resonated within me. Discovering what decisions I would make now that I was finally making them for myself. I learned so many things about myself. Through that, one of the things that I have come to realize is that some of us might not only have one path. Or.. our path might not be as simple as finding our life career. It might be much more abstract.. our gifts and purpose might weave their way through all aspects of our lives. We might try one thing and it might lead us to another. We might try ten things and each of them will serve us in different ways along our journey. I have been a writer, a graphic designer, an artist, a videographer, an art and narrative therapist, a community worker, a crafter, a photographer, and a manager/booking agent for musicians. I am still many of those things. I realize now that I may never be one thing. I may never settle into a single career. I may always long to explore and dream and learn and try new things.

How do we find our calling? How do we know when we are following our purpose? I have dedicated my life to this.. to finding my truth and following where it leads. For me it is a feeling in my gut.. an instinct.. an intuition. I'm not sure if I really have the words to describe. It is a deep knowing about the rightness of something. Learning to trust myself and what I feel.

I've learned that my purpose may come through my work or it may come through all my expressions of life. All the ways I give voice to my insights and unique way of seeing the world. This might be through my visual art or these words or the pep talks I give my dear friend in my living room as she prepares for her workshop tomorrow.

I know my purpose is love. To love myself. To love others. To find my truth and stand firmly in it. My purpose is to inspire and hold space for others to also step more fully towards their own authentic truth. Not by my words, but my actions.. by my own commitment to myself. My purpose is to hold up a mirror that reflects back the good in them and help them see their own inner light. To show up fully and give space for others to show up fully too. With acceptance, compassion, understanding and gentle encouragement.

I know I am meant to express from my deepest authentic self.. to give voice to my experiences and insights. To share the way the universe aligns and brings lessons. To live with a wide open heart and vulnerably share from that place.

It is interesting that for so long I didn't have a voice... and now that I have found it, I know that it is part of my unique gift for the world. It is time to give meaning to all the struggles I faced. It is time to share. Even if it touches one single life.. it will have been worth it.

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;   
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing

- Galway Kinnell

Friday, 22 January 2016

Aloneness

I sit here in my living room, on the orange couch.. laptop on my lap. Just home from a few days at the cabin. Wondering what words I will share tonight. Sitting with so many memories.. so many feelings. My cats are settled in next to me, both vying for my attention. 

My heart feels full. My soul is at peace. Mother earth, this beautiful woman, an almost full moon, the stars, sauna, music, food, laughter, movies, cribbage, skiing, snowshoeing, puzzles, apple pie, adventures, picturesque drives... so so many perfect moments.

There is the deepest stillness within and around me. I am alone tonight after a few days with the beautiful woman I'm dating. Feeling the empty space she held next to me... hearing the silence more profoundly now. I am aware of my aloneness today. The beauty in the silence within myself.. and the absence of another. The dichotomy. 

I love my time alone.. I long ago began to transcend the feeling of loneliness for aloneness. I have come to appreciate and savour my time to myself. But I have also come to equally appreciate togetherness, love and the courageous opening of the heart. How beautiful to feel everything so fully.

Tonight I am grateful for the courage to open my heart again... for the missing following the deepest connections. Life is so beautiful.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Moments

This moment now. 
So many times I thought that today. 

Perfect moments...
they are happening all the time. 








Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The direction forward

Often, I exist in a state of trust in the universe. Knowing that I will be provided for, and that all will work out, as it always does. Other times, I feel lost. Trying to connect with that trust.. but also feeling the weight of stress related to work and money. Unsure about my direction forward. I try to ground into the knowing that all will be okay.. I try to wait.

Meanwhile my brain is worrying about how I will pay my bills and save enough money to fly to Rwanda when Claude's visa get approved. How I will make enough money to support him and his schooling here. Trusting all will work out. I have so many dreams and such a big heart. I have a vast skillset and a desire to find my soul's purpose. I am committed and resourceful.. there is almost nothing I can't do if I put my mind to it.

I am thinking a lot about work these days. I am only at my job three days a week and really need to supplement my income. In this moment, the freelance work is slow and there are no airbnb bookings in winter in Winnipeg. I haven't been practicing art therapy in over a year but I'm considering that. And all kinds of other possibilities float around.

I wonder which one might align just perfectly... which direction I will be guided towards. I step forward.. grounded in the present moment.. but open to whatever comes. The path only becoming clear the moment I put my foot down. Oh, the mystery of life. 

I am sitting in the darkness of the night.. trusting the light will come. Counting so many blessings in my universe. Inviting abundance so that I may support my dreams and the dreams of others. Trusting... letting go.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Wilderness adventures

I'm so looking forward to a wilderness escape to a cabin for a couple days. To be in Mother Earth's embrace. Cross country skiing, skating, sauna, cribbage, cooking and eating, reading, writing, movies, massages, scrabble, cards, adventures, walks... whatever comes, I just know it will be perfect. Beautiful women who have created a magical getaway. The stars, the moon, the trees, sunset, sunrise... I love it all.

And I will be with the most beautiful company I can imagine.
The feeling of home.


Monday, 18 January 2016

Spreading love

These stones are on their way out into the world. To three friends in Calgary, Kelowna and Lethbridge. May they end up exactly where they are meant to. 


Flowing (a repost from July 2014)

I was thinking about this post the other day (written July 2014).. remembering the state I was in when I wrote these words. I was reminded of the story of the butterfly and the purpose in our struggles sometimes. I though that maybe someone needed to read this today.. so I am sharing again.


I am flowing tonight... letting the words come freely. If I had all the time in the world, I feel like I could write forever. But I have video edits to do still.. laundry to pull out of the dryer. I am sharing the words exactly as they came.. no editing. No need.. everything is perfect just as it is. Sigh. I love life.

***

I feel the whole universe flowing through me tonight. I can barely keep up.. with all that I am trying to do simultaneously. All the ways I am being pulled. Wanting so much to express and share all that is inside of me. At the same time as making food (wanting to truly nourish myself for the first time in weeks), doing laundry, editing a video, taking out the garbage, cleaning the fridge, visiting a dear friend, talking to a couple friends on the phone... everything feels like it needs to be done this very moment... every single thing feels important. I have so much energy inside of me... like I'm tapped into the pulse of the universe itself.. of spirit. I feel as though if I began to run.. I might fly. I realize how crazy this sounds, but the insights I received tonight.. the clarity with which I see in this moment.. the total trust I feel. Sigh... it has been a while since I have felt it this deeply.

I am not sure I can say exactly what shifted.... I think there have been shifts happening for months. Sometimes subtle.. sometimes earth shaking. I have been feeling them all so deeply.. going into them all. This weekend I had four days off.. I worked hard on a film project, I saw a few friends, but I also took a lot of time to be alone. I read, I wrote, I cried, I sang, I meditated, I walked. I sat with myself... with love.. with compassion.. with acceptance of all that came. I experienced everything... deep melancholy and sadness... connection and inspiration... profound insights... a new sense of responsibility for everything that has 'happened' in my life. I am not even certain if this is indeed a shift, or just a moment of clarity. I feel so deeply grateful and unattached. Thankful for this reminder that has made every struggle worthwhile. The reminder that every challenge gives the opportunity for a beautiful lesson. If only I am paying attention.. if I am willing.. if I am ready.

I don't know if I can begin to express all that has flowed through me in the past week. I don't even know that I could possibly express all that has flowed through me tonight. A lifetime in a single moment. Glimpsing truths as ancient as time.

How do I possibly give voice to it all? Tonight, I was hit with a moment when everything made sense. When it became clear that I needed to write a book. I was sitting with my friend Serena.. we were talking about her journey.. my journey... the ways all our journeys are connected. We talked about the times when we lose our way... and what we are forgetting in those moments.

Everything is unfolding exactly as it is meant to. We have everything that we need.. in this moment and all moments. We are here on this earth to grow.. each lifetime we are given exactly what we need to grow in just the ways we need to. Lately, life has been giving me a lot. I have been looking into some powerful mirrors and coming up against parts of myself that I haven't wanted to see... and also the parts of myself that are most in need of healing. I know my soul has been asking for this. And I know I agreed to this. Before I came here.. to earth... to this body in this lifetime. I knew what was coming.. in fact, I agreed to it. For every person that crosses my path. I agreed to meet them here... I asked them to show me what I needed to be shown.. I asked them to love me or hurt me or challenge me or inspire me. I asked to have a balance of everything... and I came willing to see it all.

There is no choice for me. I am doing what I came here to do. I am living with my heart wide open.. risking everything. Trusting there is reason for it all. That everything is happening in just the way it is meant to. There is nowhere to arrive... I am (now and always) already exactly where I need to be. I forget this so often. I lose my way. Sometimes for just a moment.. sometimes for weeks or months or years. But I am back.. fully present here.

Thank you universe. Thank you for finally showing me how to step fully back into my own life. Thank you for the food that I was inspired to cook tonight. After so long of not nourishing myself.. not taking care of my body.. neglecting my physical needs. Thank you for the quinoa and yams and pork chop and avocado and the greens from the garden. Thank you for the friends around me who are struggling with nourishing themselves.. the profound mirror into my own life. Thank you for the creativity and inspiration that has been flowing. Thank you for all the people around me willing to share their stories, their lives, their music, their vulnerability, their light. Thank you for the vulnerability I have allowed myself to feel.. the sadness I have learned how to embrace and express... the safety and comfort I have felt from my loving community.. and the acceptance from myself.

Thank you for the friends who have been on this journey with me. Each of us in our own way.. but so many of us who's lives are paralleling. The insights and lessons these days are coming from everywhere. A few words from a book that a friend shares that inspires a change in perspective... ideas I then share and pass on to people all around me. A tiny drop... but the endless ripples they can have.

So many words have found their way to me at just the right time. At the perfect moment.. as they always do.

Serena shared this story with me tonight... we both cried as she spoke these words. I don't even know where it came from.. but I know the words are true. And that tonight they were the perfect thing to hear.

The Man and the Butterfly (an inspirational story about life)

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day, a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force it's body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further. So, the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily; but it had a swollen body and small shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that at any moment the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body which would contract in time. Neither happened. In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of it's life crawling around, with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand, was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were Gods way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved it's freedom from the cocoon. Sometimes, struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We could not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly.

I asked for strength and I was given difficulties to make me strong. I asked for wisdom and I was given problems to solve. I asked for prosperity and was given brain and brawn to work. I asked for courage and I was given danger to overcome. I asked for love and was given troubled people to help. I asked for favours and was given opportunities. I received nothing I wanted. I received everything I needed.


So timely.. resonant... powerful reminders of what we have always known. So grateful for all the reminders in my life lately. For all the ways I am stepping so full into myself.. showing up in my own life again. Fully present here. Not wanting for anything but what I already have. Trusting so deeply...

So very thankful to be feeling all that I am. Oh life. <3

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Infinite possibilities

So many dreams ahead. Big plans to grow into... trusting all is unfolding the way it is meant to. Life feels so exciting right now. Infinite possibilities.... 


Waiting patiently and also living fully in each of the beautiful moments that life is bringing each day. I am blessed. 

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Connections

Over the years, I have learned to trust the universe. That has meant learning to accept (or even embrace) whatever situations, challenges, blessings, mysteries and people come my way. I didn't always feel that.. and to be honest, sometimes I still struggle. But I do believe that every single thing I have faced has helped to shape my life and given me all that I have needed in this lifetime. I have faced a lot.. those who know me well and understand my history know how far I have come and all that I have had to transcend. It hasn't been an easy journey, but I am here. Thriving.. living life fully with heart open. It's easier to accept sometimes when the things the universe is bringing feel positive or like blessings. Harder to accept when it is challenges or heartache. But my truth is that no one thing has been better than another. The greatest challenges can sometimes be the biggest gifts we will ever receive. Life is funny like that.



I am not sure if life happens like this for everyone.. those moments of synchronicity. Alignment so clear that you have to stop and pay attention. I trust they are messages from the universe.. I believe they mean we are on the right path in our life. That things are just as they are meant to be. This has happened so many times in my life.. I am sure I could fill a book of these moments. I will share a few, because this has been happening a lot lately.

I think it was 2007... I felt a bit stuck in my life.. in my work. Ready for a change, but unsure what that was supposed to be. Trusting the universe would lead me where I needed to go. I remember buying a skeleton key from an antique store. Carrying it around in my pocket.. holding it in my hand and asking to be lead where I was meant to go.. towards my highest purpose. I had two keys actually.. the small one I carried in my hand (and later wore on a chain around my neck)... eventually I sent it to Claude in Rwanda. And the larger key I carried on my keychain. It was a metaphor for opportunity.. that I would have the key to open the door of opportunity when it presented itself. About that same time, I travelled to Toronto.. met up with a friend of a friend and learned about art therapy. That one coffee meeting changed the course of my life. I began to look into schooling and within a few months moved to Toronto to study and begin a path towards a new career (or so I thought). I like to pay attention to what happens when I consider a big decision like that.. does the universe seem to support or oppose my decisions. I allow the answers to help guide me. I would rather move with the flow of life, rather than opposing it. The day I decided to consider moving to Toronto, I went online looking for a job. I was working at an architectural firm in Winnipeg at the time as a marketing coordinator and graphic designer. I went on to the website of only one firm.. KPMB Architects.. one of the best and most respected firms in Canada. I looked at the page of their job listings and saw my exact position advertised... a one year contact beginning the same time school would begin. The listing showed a resume due date the following week.. on my birthday. Alignment. I sent an email the next day with my resume and told them I would be in Toronto the following week if they wanted me to come in. I should say that the position I held is quite rare.. there is usually only one person in each firm that does the job I did.. a very specialized skill set. They responded within half an hour and invited me for an interview. Three interviews later, the job was mine. They were willing to work around my school hours, paid me way more than I was making in Winnipeg, and the one year contract turned into the job that sustained me for the four years I stayed in Toronto.

Then last year.... some of you will remember the story of how I found my beautiful house. I was living two blocks away.. saving money on my own.. never really sure if I would be able to purchase a home on my own. But dreaming. It took two years of saving, and the day came that I finally had enough money in my account. It happened to be the moment I let go of a life path that didn't feel healthy for me... one that was depleting my energy and not serving me. And literally.. the moment I let go, I was guided towards my home. That morning I was writing and realized I probably had enough money finally for the down payment. I checked my finances and then searched MLS.. putting in the maximum amount I had been pre-approved for, and zooming in only in Wolseley.. the area I dreamed of living in. Houses rarely ever came up for sale in that area within my price range, mostly because they are big homes. But.. on that particular day.. everything aligned. There was this one little house.. it looked perfect. It was exactly at my pre-approved price and was only 2 blocks away on the street my apartment faced. It had just been listed and there happened to be an open house for a short two hour window at exactly the moment I found it. So, I put on my boots and walked down the street. The church bells ringing.. the birds singing.. I knew the moment I stepped into the house that it was mine. It turns out I also knew the woman who was selling it.. a fellow crafter who had actually donated some cell phones the last time I went to Rwanda. What a strange and beautiful world. But that is only the beginning....

The next couple days brought bank meetings, an appointment with my realtor as I tried to get everything in order. The house was vacant and it was November. All those things worked in my favour.. it meant there was no bidding war and I would actually be able to afford to make an offer. As I walked through the home with my realtor (who is also a friend), I told her that I wanted to try my skeleton key in the door. The same key that I had been carrying since 2007. A key that since had been tattooed on my arm.. representing the very thing this blog is about.. standing in my truth. And would you believe that key actually opened the doors in this house?!! I remember one of my closest friends saying "what clearer sign do you need than the key that is tattooed on your arm opens the door to this house. It is meant to be yours." And so it was.



Lately the universe has been bringing people into my world. And the circumstances in which they have shown up have left me instantly convinced of a deep meaning. I don't always understand the reasons, and I am careful not to try to read anything into a connection.. but I can feel when something important has just happened. Those moments when we feel the earth shake a little.. the axis of our world deeply affected by another soul. Lately this has been happening in the most interesting ways.

Last May, a woman contacted me through airbnb.. she was from the east coast and inquiring about staying at my place. But she didn't contact me through my website as most people do.. she called me, which was quite unexpected. It turns out she had been on the listing and seen the link to my blog.. and there she found my contact information. I couldn't accommodate her booking request, so at first I thought it would be simply a matter of saying no and wishing her well. But something in her voice was urgent. She asked me if I would be willing to meet her for a coffee. She told me she was going through some changes in her life.. that she had some big decisions ahead. She knew it was probably strange, but she had seen something in my blog that made her feel like I had some answers she was seeking. That there was a reason we needed to meet. Something about her vulnerability.. her words. I felt safe and I was intrigued. I felt the universe pulling me to her and though I had no idea why, I knew I needed to go. We met for coffee a few days later and had a beautiful conversation. We shared stories, insights, and dreams.. she even gave me a piece of art she had made. I'm not sure exactly what she got from that day, but she did feel like my words helped her. I was thinking about her a few weeks ago (seven months after we met).. wondering what ever happened with the decision she had ahead of her which might affect her relationship and where she lived. And then days later, I heard from her again.. she wrote me with an update on her life. I forgot I had given her a stone.. she had it sitting on her desk everyday and was finally ready to reach out and let me know about the changes in her life and thank me for meeting her. How beautiful and mysterious this world that connects us all.. strangers coming into our lives.. the ways we support each other.

In November, I was contacted by another woman.. a stranger in a sense, although we had many mutual friends and it seems that our lives had probably been connected for years in all kinds of ways. She had seen the article about Claude and I in the Winnipeg Free Press and read about the fundraising concert. She reached out wanting to help. She asked if she could volunteer that night. I was deeply touched by her offer and quickly replied that I would love her help. Though it felt strange for her to reach out this way, I was used to the universe bringing people into my life through these kinds of events. We started talking through Facebook and then she asked if I would meet her for a coffee. She was going through some life changes too and wanted more inspiring people in her world. After a couple weeks of chatting we met for coffee a few days before the event. I had no idea what to expect, but I was happy at the possibility of making a new friend. From the moment we met, we connected deeply. I knew the instant we met that we would stay connected.. at that time I didn't know exactly to what depths. I imagined a new friend.. thinking I was going to be on a journey alone for a while. I didn't think I was ready to date, having just recently ended a relationship. But.. the universe had other plans. My heart opened to this woman in a way I didn't expect.. and has continued to open to her every day since. We have been dating a couple months now, and I am constantly filled with gratitude for all the ways we so easily fit into each others worlds and enhance our already full and beautiful lives. She feels like the puzzle piece that I didn't even know I was missing. Truly.. I am blessed. I am reminded of one of my favourite quotes by Anais Nin about the power of connection.. the worlds we create by connecting with each other.

(with the old skeleton key around my neck - photo by Julie Fulsher)

Very recently, another woman has entered my world. It was less than a month ago when I received the first message "Let things that want to belong to you find you." My own words sent back to me. A response to my call to the universe (from one of my stones). This woman told me how she had found me through some mutual friends on Facebook, the I am Festival website that I am presenting at this summer, and my stone stories. She shared a bit about herself and told me how my page and words had reached her. She said she was drawn to the light. The words she shared touched me deeply.. her vulnerability and willingness to reach out into the world. I was honoured that by living my truth and putting out my insights in the form of writing and art, I had reached her. I was reminded again about the way our lives can touch others.. the ripple effect we can have when we are living our truth. Once again, I knew there was deep meaning to this message from a stranger. I had no idea yet what it was.. in fact, I am still not sure. But, I am certain our paths are aligned for a reason. And I look forward to the journey of discovery.

I know she reads this blog everyday.. often sharing how my words have impacted her, and now she has started to share some of her own story. I have never even told her yet the impact her first message had on me... but I thought it would be appropriate to share it here. I am certain she would be okay with this.

To my new friend (who I have yet to meet), Your first message touched me so deeply. It reminded me of my purpose and the importance of sharing what I have inside me. If my experiences and insights can help even one person, that is worth everything. Thank you for reconnecting me with my voice. Without knowing, you encouraged me to show up here again. You were a big part of me making a decision to commit to a daily writing practice. Thank you... I am so very grateful. Without knowing it, my world touched yours.. and then your world touched mine.




Friday, 15 January 2016

Heart wide open

Oh the vulnerability of living with a heart wide open.

Open to happiness, to insecurity, to joy, to sadness, to bliss, to pride, to jealousy, to discomfort, to truth. Open to love. Feeling the depth of every emotion. From the height of the Pacific, to the depths of Everest. Accepting without judgement.. allowing all that comes.

Trusting... honouring... and letting go.


Thursday, 14 January 2016

Patience

Yesterday, I found out that we sent Claude's visa application to the wrong country. Sigh. It used to be that Kenya did all the study visa processing for Rwanda, but they changed that recently, and now they are done from Tanzania. Somehow, we didn't check that - we made the assumption we were sending to the same office that denied us a few months ago. Apparently not.

This means that I need to have the application either sent back to Canada or re-routed by courier between the two offices. In times like these I am so very grateful for my dear friend Ivy who is in Rwanda and can help with these things. She can go right to the courier office to arrange the transfer, which relieves so much stress - I know it would be very difficult to organize from here.  In fact she is doing that for me tonight (it is already tomorrow morning there). I feel blessed by her help so often there and miss her friendship here.

Sending to the wrong country also means the processing fee I paid to the Kenya office (by wire transfer) needs to be reimbursed and now I need to pay an even higher fee to Tanzania. None of these processes are easy.. they only have the option to pay by wire transfer to their bank account which incurs large bank fees. Hoop after hoop.. there has been a lot of jumping. Today I went to my bank after work (BMO) to complete the transfer, but learned that they don't do international transfers to that country! Sigh... frustrating. Breathing. Persevering.

I've spent the evening trying to sort out how to get money there. I am grateful again for so much support and the right contacts. I know a woman from here who does a ton of amazing work in Africa (mostly Tanzania) and has a non-profit called Growing Opportunities International (GO!). I contacted her and she was able to tell me which specific bank I need to go through to get this sorted. So.. that is what I will be doing tomorrow.

Papers and papers. Fees and submissions and lots of waiting. The office in Tanzania says their processing time is 6 weeks, so we begin our wait again.. grateful the time is a bit shorter. My immigration consultant has never dealt with this office yet, so we have no idea what to expect. All I can do is trust that the best thing will happen. For the highest good of all.

So many reminders and lessons through this journey.
Patience, faith, trust, creativity, perseverance, love, support, and hope.


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Julie Squared

Nine years ago today was a day like any other... or so I thought. I went out to a live music show at a coffee shop - my friend Serena was playing. And she introduced me to her friend Julie.. the other Julie.. we were her two Julies. We had heard so much about each other, but we had never met. We connected instantly.. as I do with all of my dearest friends. I can usually sense someones energy immediately and feel when it resonates with my own. In some ways we were different, but in others we were the same. We became inseparable fairly quickly.. scrabble and talking late into the nights. Sharing our stories, adventures and dreams. I remember just knowing she would be one of my people.. my friends.. my soul family. And here we are, nine years later. Celebrating our friendship.. she has become my closest friend.

We have seen each other through 12 moves (11 of them were mine) - one that had us in different cities for four years, 2 children, career changes, relationships beginning and ending (also mine) and a lifetime of experiences. We have shared so many adventures, photo shoots, art nights, long talks, tears, laughter. I can no longer imagine my life had we not met. I feel blessed for the beautiful people in my life. Those friends that love us unconditionally and are with us through everything.

Julie is my favourite friend.. she is my family.
















Tuesday, 12 January 2016

World's colliding

Life is a mystery.
A beautiful mess sometimes... perfect in all it's imperfectness.
It was an interesting night. Another art night with friends new and old.
World's colliding.

I do love this life... so strange and beautiful.







Monday, 11 January 2016

Moments

I love just being in the moments.. those beautiful, ordinary, perfect moments that happen every day. I am grateful for the ability to be present lately.. to truly be in the moments fully as they are happening. 

This morning I was at work.. sometimes I have a hard time being fully present there. My days sometimes blend one into the other, not much standing out. Today I was there fully.. focused on a new deadline. My mind clear.. feeling healthy and motivated. We have this amazing work/life balance program at my office - they started it when they built our new LEED Platinum office building. It's pretty amazing really - skis and bikes available for use. I was in the basement today looking at all the cross country skis.. I am going out to a cabin next week and will be taking a couple pairs with me. 

This afternoon I went grocery shopping.. planned a romantic dinner. Then I did a photo shoot with a friend. We tried some head shots in a little studio.. backdrops and lights. Neither of our comfort zone, but we had fun with it. Especially once we found a pile of hats and laughed as she tried them on. It turns out those were the best shots of the day.. the spontaneous moments that captured lightness.. which was exactly what she was hoping for.

Tonight I came over to the woman's house who I've been dating recently... with groceries to make the romantic dinner. On my way, she told me she had to do laundry and hoped I was okay with that. We are fairly newly dating, and she didn't want to scare me off with her reality. I said I love her reality. Minutes later (when I was almost at her place), she texted to say her two year old had just barfed on her.. half hour after I arrived, her other son had a poop accident for the first time ever. We laughed at the "reality" of this particular moment. 

Later tonight, I was cuddled in bed between her two boys reading them stories. Laughing. Then trying on clothes she bought at Value Village. Finally making the romantic dinner and eating by candlelight. Drinking a glass of wine. Sharing stories and dreams. 

Perfect moment after perfect moment. Sitting here now.. she is on the other end of the couch as I write. My heart is full. This is what life is all about.. those little moments.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Inviting Abundance

I have been thinking a lot about what I want in my life. Specifically, right now, I have been thinking about increasing the flow of abundance (money) into my world. It feels like I have struggled with this for a lifetime. But, I want to be careful what I say and believe about that. I know I have had a hard time getting ahead and that money has been a pretty consistent stress in my life.. but I have always been able to make ends meet. The universe has always provided for me. A lot of my friends and family have often said that I have a horseshoe up my ass.. no matter what life brings, I always land on my feet. I know this is true.

I have been fortunate to have had stable jobs my whole adult life, and to have found ways to create flexibility within those jobs. I have had freedom to work part time, go to school, travel, try new things, make art, explore new careers, volunteer, and follow my dreams. This past year, I bought a house on my own - a beautiful home in Wolseley, my favourite part of town. And I managed to work at my job only 3 days a week - supplementing my income with freelance video/photography/graphic design jobs, airbnb, craft shows... whatever I needed. And the universe always provided.

I haven't got ahead financially, but I have done it one my own. I am still a bit stressed by my lack of slush fund if anything happened to my home or my old car that has over 200,000km on it. I am aware of the money I need to raise to fly to Rwanda to pick up Claude, and the extra costs of supporting a 20 year old. I am trusting that the universe will provide.. and also ready to start making changes and focusing more energy and ensuring I will not just survive, but that I will thrive.  I want to be able to provide for myself and my son and my future.

I am a big believer in the power of manifestation. Our thoughts become things. I am spending more time dedicated to shifting some old thoughts about money and abundance. Focused work on visualization and setting intentions. Two years ago I bought a series of guided meditations from the Love or Above website at the recommendation of a friend.... but I never listened to them. I was having breakfast with that same friend a few days ago and telling her about my struggles with money and work - wanting to live in alignment with my purpose and be more financially secure. (I should mention she is a psychic medium.. although I don't look to her to tell me how to live my life, she sometimes does offer me valuable words). She once again suggested Love or Above... it is a program designed to help us raise our vibration and begin attracting more of what we want in our life. I reminded her that she had suggested the same thing two years earlier.. and I had never done it. Today, I began. It is time. I am ready.

I am ready for less stress... to save and get ahead. I am ready to do work that I love, that feels aligned with my purpose and uses my creative energy. I am ready to be happy and feel fulfilled in my life's work. I am ready to put money aside for my home, my family, travel, adventures, and dreams for the future. I am ready to let go of any old ideas that I don't deserve to have money, or that something about having money is bad or wrong. Money is only energy, and a really important form of energy. I am ready to stop giving of myself and my energy for free.. to be willing to see my worth and live in accordance with that. I know I have so many gifts to offer the world and there is value in many of them. I am ready to live in the flow of abundance.. to invite it into my life. I am open to how my work might change.. what I might be doing differently from today. I am ready.

I am curious how things will shift the more I open, heal, let go, trust and put more conscious intention for abundance into my life. I feel like so many other areas of my life are blessed.. that I have attracted so much of what I want. My home, my friends, my community, my son, my art... but there is more that I would like to be clear on. I approach this journey through the Love or Above program with openness and curiosity. I am ready.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Infinite possibility

Life has been full of so much beauty the past couple days. I am finally healing from my cold.. purging the old and making space for the new. I have spent moments in quiet solitude, but also so many in the most beautiful company. I have such an amazing community around me. I feel so constantly loved and inspired.

Friends, art nights, love, dancing, live music in the living room, parties, painting, coffee/breakfast/lunch/dinner dates, food shared in community, writing, editing, work sessions, talking, cuddling, intimacy, and reading.

I have shared dreams, laughter, tears, hugs, kisses, and vulnerability.
My life feels so blessed. Full of infinite possibility.


Friday, 8 January 2016

If a picture is worth a thousand words

Art night with some of my favourite friends. A powerful and inspiring group of creative women. I am blessed. 









Thursday, 7 January 2016

Taking Care

I think I did too much today.. my body still in recovery from this cold. I went to work for a half day, met a dear friend for lunch and a long overdue visit. Then another friend for tea. The visits were beautiful and inspired.. ideas were flowing. And then I came home with energy and decided to rearrange my space a little. I have a group of friends coming over tomorrow for an art night.

But I realize I'm still not well enough for all that. I didn't let myself rest. And all at once I am hit again.. the lump in my throat.. my pounding headache.. a pain behind my eyes. This has been consistent the last few days. I'm not sure what it is that has been moving through my body. What is it that I am needing to let go of. It is holding on tight.

I need to rest now. To give myself time in silence and darkness.
Taking care.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Love

Love.
It comes in all forms.
Self love. Family. Friendships. Partners. Strangers.
Overflowing from within... reaching out.

Sometimes it shows up when we least expect it.
Usually.
One day we are walking in our world.. our life.. quite content.
Not wanting or expecting.
And there it is.

That is when it comes.

Showing up so clearly that we can't help but to notice.
Our world shaken.. our life forever changed.

It might be a child in Africa who reaches for your hand.
A stranger in a coffee shop who will soon be your best friend.
Or a woman who takes your breath away across a crowded mall.

Love comes in its own time... in its own way.
It asks us only to be open to receive, and to give.
To risk our hearts and let someone in.




Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Finding my voice

Many years ago, I used to wander every night to the same place in Little Italy to write. Bar Italia was half coffee shop and half bar back then and served one of the best lattes I had ever had. It was loud and full of all walks of life. There were the regulars (of which I was one) year round, and then in the summer the patio would open and it would bring a crowd that hung out on Corydon Avenue because it was the place to see and be seen. It did have the best people watching. I started going there in 1996.

I was down there almost every night - usually with a bag full of books, a scrabble board, and a journal. If anyone was ever looking for me, they knew they could find me there. It was a different time - when people still smoked inside and I could drink coffee until 1am. I was young and full of ideas and had a world of possibility in front of me. I would sit and write every night - filling journals while trying to understand life's mysteries. It was the kind of place that brought together an eclectic mix. The old italian men drinking their morning espressos, the musician who worked behind the bar, the bald guy who sat in the corner for months writing his thesis on Friedrich Nietzsche, and the photographer whose images were on the wall. It was a second home for so many of us.
I spent (literally) years of my life there.

Time eventually took me away to other places. A summer working at a fishing resort on an island on Lake of the Woods. A 7-month round-the-world trip. And eventually, four years in Toronto. I missed that place.. they feeling of community and sense of home. And I missed how easily the words flowed there.. how many stories were always surrounding me. Truth be told, I have never really found another place quite like it.

Every time I returned to Winnipeg, I would go back for a latte. I would sit and pull out a journal and anticipate that old feeling. But, like revisiting a childhood home, it never felt the same. Maybe I outgrew it, or it outgrew me - I know I have certainly changed.

Bar Italia does still exist today.. and I go in once in a while. I still feel a sense of nostalgia when I walk in the door, but it has changed. It has been renovated at least four times since then. The coffee side I used to sit in is long gone. It is a bar now, with pool tables and a big screen TV.  It has some of the same regulars and the old staff, but nothing feels the same. Maybe we aren't meant to go back... maybe it was just meant to be a moment in time.

Tonight I am remembering fondly the place that felt so much like home to me.. honouring how it helped to shape me. I learned so much about life there. I read books. I built community. I met one of my dearest friends - a stranger having coffee at another table (19 years ago). I wrote my first book of poetry. I fell in love. I laughed and I cried. I became an artist. I healed. I played lots of scrabble and drank lots of coffee. And I filled shelves full of journals.

I found my voice there.
For that, I will be forever grateful.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Temper tantrums

I like to think that I am someone who generally goes with the flow of life.. accepting what comes. I value spontenaity and leave room for it in my life regularly. And when things happen unexpectedly, I usually trust that they are happening exactly as they are meant to. It is part of my deepest belief system. I try to stay unattached to outcomes and leave space for the natural flow of life. In fact, a ton of my reading and writing and living lately has been focused on non-attachment. On letting go. On being in the moment and allowing it to unfold naturally.

On many days, this is true. But, as I was reminded today, I am human. And when I am sick (and emotional)... I am not necessarily acting or thinking from my highest state. 

Sometimes I get disappointed when things don't go my way. Sometimes I feel let down by the universe over the smallest things and I react like a toddler stomping my feet and crying in frustration. Appointments that take longer than I hope, changes in plans (or imagined plans), the razor blades in my throat.. today was one of those days when nothing seemed to go my way.  I was a two year old having a temper tantrum.. I just wanted my day to go the way I imagined it in my head. And in that moment, I didn't want to be in my highest state and trust the universe was giving me what I needed.. that felt like bullshit. I didn't want to be feeling sick anymore. And emotional. And on the verge of tears. 

Even as I was feeling everything, I knew it was ridiculous. Nothing dramatic was really happening. But it didn't make the feelings less real. I spent much of the day grumpy.. disappointed.. and I let myself feel it to the depths. I cried. I talked to a couple friends - knowing they could have told me that my frustrations were petty.. that my disappointments in the bigger picture were very small. But, instead, they lovingly listened and held space and allowed me to feel exactly as I did. They accepted me and I accepted myself. I took a hot bath. I breathed. And then.. eventually.. I let it go. 

I laugh now. Everything feels so silly when I step back into my highest state. In fact, nothing bad happened at all. In many ways, it was a beautiful day, home sick and taking time to heal. 

I know today this was exactly what I needed. A loving reminder that life doesn't always go our way - in fact, it rarely does. If we are getting attached to something, there is a lesson there in letting go. I was momentarily reminded that as far as I have come, as much as I think I should "know better than"... I am still vulnerable and sensitive and human. 

But the most beautiful gift of all today was to feel the unconditional love and acceptance and encouragmeent to  show up in whatever state I was in. Grumpy. Disappointed. Frustrated. Sad. Vulnerable. 

Emotion is beautiful. Wherever we are.. as long as we are being real and feeling it fully... will always be okay.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Endless Love

So much of my heart and mind are in Rwanda these days.. and with Claude. My beautiful 20 year old son who is patiently waiting on the other side of the world for his opportunity to come to Canada for school. It is hard to believe it has been over two years since I have been there. Technology helps us stay connected every day, but it has been much too long since I have seen his face. It has been almost nine months since we began the process of trying to bring him to Canada... a long and difficult journey. We have faced challenges and disappointments, as well as felt the most incredible love and support. Our faith remains strong, and every day we hold on to the dream of being together as a family.

I keep imagining what it will be like for him. Everything new and unknown. Getting on a plane for the first time, being greeted by a crowd of friends and family, seeing snow and feeling the cold of Winnipeg's winter, the first night in his own bed.. his own room. What it will feel like for him to have a family - something he has not known since he was 4 years old. I think about all his dreams.. his church.. his school.. all that he will learn and the man he will become. I think about how amazing it will be when he doesn't get sick all the time because he will finally have access to proper food and clean water. I dream about all that he will be able to do. I want the world for this young man.

We were really disappointed when his first study visa attempt was denied by Canada in November. But, tomorrow I am meeting with my immigration consultant and we are finally ready to resubmit. I am feeling much more hopeful having a very important letter of support from my MP. Again, we will wait... between 4 and 8 weeks and we will hear if our second attempt was successful. Fingers crossed... trusting the best thing to happen. Knowing soon I will bring this young man home.

And as I think about this possibility becoming reality, I focus on all that I need to do here for him. The money that still needs to be raised to support all the school and flight and visa costs. The stability I want to give him. Such big dreams he has... I want to see them all come true. If you want to help in any way, I will include the link here to the ongoing fundraising page... all donations are eligible for a tax receipt.

Many of you know already that we had a benefit concert in November at the West End Cultural Centre in Winnipeg. My dear friends Keith Macpherson and Sheena Grobb were two of the musicians who performed that night. They surprised me with this beautiful song that they co-wrote about Claude and I and our Endless Love. What a deep honour.. I am so happy to share this with you.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Setting Intentions

I love this time of year... the ending that gives space for the new beginning.

On New Years Eve I wrote a letter to 2015. A letter of gratitude for all that it held - the love, new friendships, old friendships, my son and the ongoing journey to bring him to Canada, lessons, healing opportunities, creative projects, concerts and art and moments of magic that happened in my home, my job, good health, amazing community, new opportunities, adventures, a reconnection with family, and the way the universe provided everything I needed. I am feeling such gratitude for the ways I found to live my truth and how this reached others around me. The rippling effects of the stone stories, the deep connections I made as I organized the concert for Claude, and the total strangers reaching out to me letting me know that something I put out into the universe inspired them. What an honour... what an amazing year. There were hard times, and there were amazing times. The richness that comes from a life lived fully.

I also wrote a letter to the coming year.. mostly saying that I am ready. Ready to accept whatever comes. Ready for possibility and adventure. Ready to believe in myself and soar and live in the flow of abundance. Ready to risk living (and loving) with a wide open heart. Ready to live my purpose fully. And ready to create family. I am excited. May everything happen for the highest good.

Each year, I also write a list of intentions... ways that I hope to show up in my life and the world. Dreams.. plans.. possibilities. This year I typed them out on my old typewriter.. something about the sound of the keys and not being able to delete anything appeals to me. They bring permanence. I will keep them posted on my fridge.. a loving reminder whenever I need it. Life is so beautiful.

Be true to yourself. Follow your purpose. Stay open to change. Live with an open heart. Spread love. Create space for art making. Play. Try new things. Be brave. Be in the moments. Daily writing practice. Go for walks. Spend time alone. Balance. Trust life's unfolding. Leave room for magic. Dream big dreams. Travel. Let love in. Explore. Step into the flow of abundance. Spend time in community. Savour moments with friends. Learn something new. Face fears. Spend time in nature often. Breathe in the simple moments. Yoga. Start a new project. Trust your intuition. Meditate. Nourish yourself and others. Do good in the world. Laugh. Hug Trees. Dance under the stars. Hold love close. Celebrate life. Use your voice. Share your inner wisdom. Let go.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Paying attention to our bodies

New Years Eve (morning) - I woke up with the feeling of razor blades in my throat. A pain more excruciating than I have experienced since I had mono 20 years ago. Since yesterday, it has continued to worsen. No amount of saltwater gargling, oil of oregano, sleep, Vicks, ginger tea with lemon and honey, or Advil could touch it. It isn't exactly how I imagined celebrating my New Year's Eve and starting the year. Nor was this the feeling I imagined sitting down to write my first blog of the year.

But, I take it as another reminder that we really can't plan for anything in this life. The universe has its own plans for us. Sometimes we are forced to be still and rest. To drink tea instead of wine and stop and take care of ourselves. Or, in this case, to allow others to take care of me. I was surrounded by beautiful women last night, each helping to nurture me in their own way. I am so grateful for the love surrounding me - those women and a few more friends today offering drop offs of medicine or soup. I feel so blessed.

I am thankful to have gotten into one of the few walk-in clinics that are open on this New Years Day. Sitting there, struggling to swallow, I am reminded how fortunate I am to enjoy good health so much of the time. We can take so much for granted - especially when it comes to our bodies. I am reminded that there are people who are in constant pain and I feel such deep compassion for them in this moment. When we aren't experiencing it ourselves, it can sometimes be hard to remember what it's like. There is nothing quite like pain to keep us in the present moment - it asks us to breathe and to surrender. To just be present with what is. 

It turns out I likely have strep throat, so I have started a prescription of penicillin. The antibiotics won't take the pain away, and it might be a couple days before I am feeling well again. So, I do all I can.. I breathe. I notice my body. I pay attention. I direct love and healing energy to myself. And I gargle and eat chicken noodle soup and sleep and give my body what it is asking for.

I hope that when this moment passes... when my throat no longer reminds me to pay attention, I will still remember. 


Thursday, 31 December 2015

Daily writing practice

I've been sitting with a lot the past few days, as I always do at this time of the year. Reflecting on the past year - honouring all that was, releasing anything I am still holding on to, and setting intentions for the year to come.

My life feels blessed in so many ways. I have the most amazing community of friends, a beautiful home, family near and far, love in my heart, and a year full of infinite possibility ahead. I am grateful for the lessons of 2015 and looking forward to 2016. May it be filled with a life lived fully - courage to live with my heart wide open. I want to be present to all the magical moments that are happening everyday and to risk my heart to feel the fullness of all life has to offer.

I am committing to a daily practice of writing in 2016. My intention is to show up here. Every. Single. Day. Whether I have brilliant insights to share, or simply a word of reflection. I am curious to see what will flow and how it will help me stay grounded in myself to show up here. Dear universe... I am ready.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A truly Canadian Experience

I've been blessed to spend the past couple days at a beautiful cottage in the Canadian Shield with my best friend and her family. Hockey games on the lake, birthday celebrations, hot tub, wine, bananagrams, feeding the birds, tobaggoning, movies, laughter and love. My heart feels full and overflowing. I am truly blessed.