Release

Capture

I was poking around a bookshop on 124 street one day in July. Plans for my week were about to change, and I knew it even though no one had said a word yet. There was an electric charge in the air. I took myself to the bookstore and out for coffee as I do when I want some alone time but still want to be around people. I know it’s a weird trait I have. I like being alone but in a crowded room. As I was browsing, a woman came up to me and said – “This is going to seem strange, but I am supposed to give you this.” Then she walked away.

I have come to embrace strange and exotic messages coming from unusual sources. It has become a thing, and I no longer find it odd. The Universe is always speaking to you.

The woman handed me a book by Caroline Myss. I looked her in the eye and said thank you. As I often do, I asked a question in my head: What would you have me know? I randomly opened the book to a page and read: Just let go. Let go of how you thought your life should be and embrace the life that is trying to work its way into your consciousness. I said, “Thank you” and took a photo of the quote, closed the book and put it away. I promptly forgot about the quote until this morning when I ran across it again in an Instagram story from a person I follow who lives in Atlanta. Then I saw it again from my yoga Nidra Teacher in Venice Beach. I was looking for a particular image for a work thing, and I saw the photo from the book I took the quote. Okay universe, I hear you loud and clear.

To add more to the idea that the Universe is always speaking to you – Caroline Myss randomly showed up in various social media feeds, and until this summer, she was never on my radar before. I listened to her lecture from when she was in New Brunswick and loved how it added a new perspective to my thoughts and ideas. I shared it out – not that I think anyone actually listened, I share more for me so I can go back to it and look again.

I watched another video yesterday, and the speaker Jerry Hicks said he was living in stress and trying to please everyone, trying to help everyone, things were falling apart. And finally, he said out loud, “I am done. I can’t do this anymore.” He said it more as a prayer than as an act of defiance. He said once he released it, he felt immediate joy.

The underlying message I finally understood after the Universe had been pounding me over the head with it is, Let Go. I always thought it was acceptance, but I was wrong. Letting go is part of forgiveness. Oprah says, “Forgiveness is letting go of the idea that things could have been different.” One day last fall, I said I am done. I expected to feel guilty, but I didn’t. in its place I felt peace. PEACE! Do you know how amazing that felt? I loved the peaceful feeling so much I wrote “I am meant to live in peace” on my arm so often people thought I had a new tattoo. I posted it to my wall at work — a regular reminder of a beautiful way to live.

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One day this summer I said to no one in particular, “I AM SO DONE.” I also said this to a few people, but it was intended for me. I thought I needed to accept, get along, bend, change all in an effort to please and help everyone. But I don’t. How they live their lives and treat people is on them. How I react to it is on me. I have been mired down, and I just can’t live that way anymore. I do know it isn’t an all or nothing type of response. I have just released me from expectations. I let it go. The side benefit is joy is creeping into unexpected areas of my life. Its as if there is only a finite amount of room and now that I have released it… I am free.

Thank you, Universe.

 

The Search

 

img_3824I have been wandering around all week in search of something. I suppose if I really think about it, I have been searching for a while. I can’t put my finger on it, I can’t tell you what I am searching for, I only know I don’t have it.

People drift in and out of my life, as do people come and go from yours. I have been deliberate with goodbyes and cautious of hellos. I crave that connection from that one person who gets me, understands me inside and out. Who is empathetic and vulnerable and allows me to be vulnerable back. The person who I can ‘click’ with. I crave this person I haven’t met yet. Its been a while since I felt that way about a friend.

I remember back when I was three and my best friend was Tanya. We lived in a townhouse complex with a stand of trees across the tiny parking lot. We spent every waking hour together and ran through the trees like our hair was on fire. Our imagination was what we built our days with. We were our own superheroes and saved humanity every single day from peril. When I turned six we moved to Canada’s Arctic and I lived on the shores of Great Slave Lake. I didn’t find that connection I was seeking like I had when I was 3. I was one of a handful of white kids with the First Nation kids outnumbering us. You’d think this would mean I would experience oppression but no, These kids looked downcast at us and not speak out of fear or something else. Upon 45 years of reflection, I now know they didn’t see me as an equal, they felt inferior.

When I moved back to Alberta, I lived in a community that was white. This was the opposite experience I had from my life in the Arctic. I hadn’t met a good friend or someone I found reliable. People were fine but loneliness was deep. The internal dialogue pounded my brain with “I am ugly, I am stupid, I am unworthy”. When you think that way, people treat you that way. When people treat you that way, you think that way. It is an unending cycle.

As I progressed into junior high and high school, I found a few people who were closer to what I was looking for. My internal dialogue had not changed but I kept it hidden and forged ahead anyway. The pressure to succeed or meet the expectations of my surroundings were great as they are with everyone. Eventually, I pulled away from these people too.

As an adult, I found a couple of people who I could be vulnerable and real with for brief moments. Events happen and suddenly people are scared, hurt or angry and no longer want to be connected. Sometimes it’s onesided. Sometimes them, sometimes me.

So here I am in my early 50’s living a life that isn’t much different from my childhood. People still think they can say things to change me to be what suits them. Hurtful and angry things then wonder why I pull away. It changes dynamics and others ask for proof these people did these things. I wonder if they consider how it must feel to be me. Empathy is the missing ingredient. Everyone is caught up in self. The ego dominates life choices. I can clearly see why they said and did those things. I understand and forgive where it needs to happen. Forgiveness does not mean allowing it to continue. It just means I accept the past could not have been different. REM Had it right with Everybody hurts….sometimes.

Accepting.

Lashing out is the road I used to take. Now I just accept and turn away. It is not easy but it feels better. I don’t live with anger anymore. Meditation changed me. I meditated in 1994 after I left my first husband. It helped tremendously but for some reason, I stopped. Now, I have meditated for 952 consecutive days. I began in the fall of 2016 because the anger and hurt were so intense I had nowhere to put it. I began meditating a couple days a week. It soon became a beautiful way to begin my day. I sat in silence trying to wrangle my thoughts. I would ask myself questions and answers would come. I would ask for direction and it would come. I soon craved a daily practice so I accepted a challenge to meditate every day for a year. I didn’t know where it would take me but I knew I didn’t want to be angry and hateful anymore. I began waking up earlier so I could sit in silence. I began to see this as self-care. Something I deserved to do for myself. Once 365 days passed, I knew I could never stop.

The faces behind the anger began to fade. The reasons I was angry in the first place didn’t disappear but they became insignificant. I changed. Great learnings happened. But I still find myself searching for something. I will let you know when I find it.

 

Everybody Hurts
When your day is long
And the night
The night is yours alone
When you’re sure you’ve had enough
Of this life
Well hang on
Don’t let yourself go
‘Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes
Sometimes everything is wrong
Now it’s time to sing along
When your day is night alone (hold on)
(Hold on) if you feel like letting go (hold on)
If you think you’ve had too much
Of this life
Well, hang on
‘Cause everybody hurts
Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts
Don’t throw your hand
Oh, no
Don’t throw your hand
If you feel like you’re alone
No, no, no, you’re not alone
If you’re on your own
In this life
The days and nights are long
When you think you’ve had too much
Of this life
To hang on
Well, everybody hurts sometimes
Everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes
So, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on
Everybody hurts
You are not alone

Serendipity

I met a man yesterday who made such a profound impact on my soul. He fleeted into my life for a moment and then left as quickly as he came in. His life story was one that was too shocking to tell, but one that had he not experienced, he would not be the person he is today. His presence and story left a permanent imprint on my being.

Throughout his journey he has learned the art of compassion and forgiveness. He understands giving and can accept receiving. These are gifts that not everyone is good at. Lots of people can be paid a complement and the words are deflected instead of received as the gift they are intended to be. I learned many things during my time with this man but the key message I need to take from this experience is this:

5 minutes or 50 years

Think about that for a moment.

If you had 5 minutes to live what would you do? Then why aren’t you doing it?

 

The broken heart is on the mend thanks to my strength of character

I had my heart broken today. One thing made it better. My kiddies running off the bus, running up to me and hugging me because they hadn’t seen me since Friday. I heart them. I have 9 weeks left with them and they are already fully formed butterflies waiting to take off. Luckily for me, I get to keep them until the end of June then I set them free.

Today a friend of mine questioned my character. They know me very well and made an assumption about me that I found shocking, hurtful and by the end of the day it manifested into anger and rage. I was sad for a while, now I am just annoyed. Do they know how I feel? You betcha! I am that girl who now will say “I am offended and here is why”. Did I get a reply back? Sort of…I received an email about a different topic. WTF? I didn’t reply back. I said what I had to, and as one of my students always says “Game Over”. Oh wait, I am not playing games. Maybe that is the problem. When they first met me I was not myself. I had not begun the Edmonton Tourist Journey yet. I was still trying to figure myself out. I just knew I was a work in progress and I wasn’t entirely truthful about myself, mostly because I did not really know who I was then. When I look back I wonder how I was able to wake up everyday and go to work. It remains a mystery to me.

2 years later ( 20 months to be exact) I have gain tremendous personal growth. I have worked incredibly hard to be who I am today and if they can’t see it, to bad so sad. Today I am creating a handy pocket guide to The Edmonton Tourist’s Character. You may use this reference if you are needing to predict how I may react to a certain situation, how trust worthy you think I might be, this may be the guide for you. If you don’t give a rats ass, that’s fine too. I know who I am and where I am going and I don’t need anyone’s approval, or permission to write or say what I need to. Being a Tourist in my own life has taught me more about life than you could ever imagine. Compassion, empathy and respect are just a few things I possess.  These are Character Traits that I have always had, they were just covered under dust and junk, or you never took the time to get to know me. Please feel free to challenge them or comment on them. I take my strength of character very seriously.

The Edmonton Tourist’s Handy pocket Guide to Her Character Traits

  1. ALERT – this is the opposite of unaware.Most days I lean closest to Alert. I am aware of tiny details that you may not notice, I see and hear things in the classroom that some people miss. I listen to everything you say and hold onto it. I can put those things together into a completed puzzle to understand you better. I have always had this trait.
  2. ANALYTICAL – I will ask why and investigate until I understand. If it isn’t logical I cannot wrap my head around it. It may seem that I cannot let things go. I can, but only after I understand the whole store. It may take me months of getting all the information I need, but when I do I have a pretty amazing piece of work. This is why I am an honor student.
  3. ATTENTIVENESS – What you say is important to me. I will admit to not paying attention when my brain is full or tired. But you will be informed if I am not able to give you my full attention. I am learning to balance this. I use to think I needed to solve everyone’s problems. I  learned that lesson the hard way, interfering where I had no business. It’s hard to know what the right thing to do is. I am sure I will mess up again, but know it comes from a place of caring – not vindictive.
  4. AVAILABILITY – I use to be self-centered. I was a teenager. I think that is normal. I make myself to available to some people and not available enough to others. I have learned to protect myself and put a wall up to shield me from the self-centeredness of others. Every now and then I meet someone who causes me to let my guard down and I make myself available, I don’t say no. I always end up hurting by giving too much. They never seem to feel the same way.  It sucks but I’d rather be available then self-centered everyday of the week.
  5. BOLDNESS – I like to think of it as confident, but who are we kidding…I am bold. Again, I never use to be. It is because I have learned to be my own advocate. If you won’t stand up for yourself and your dear hearts – who will? With my children I become a mother bear, with my family I will fight to the death, with friends who are family, the same applies. I am confident in my abilities because I am no longer afraid to fail. Failing is life’s greatest lesson. I will say something that may make me look like a fool in the end – but I would rather try, than fail by never giving it a shot.
  6. COMPASSION – I have to work to feed my family. If I have to work anyway, I might as well be doing something that is for the good of society. I will never be rich in wallet, but I fall asleep every night knowing I made a difference to someone that day. It is important to me to heal the hurt of others. This may annoy you, but this is who I am. If you hurt, I want to help.
  7. COOPERATION – Working together to accomplish that which cannot be done alone. I just learned this. I can’t do it alone, You know something else? Neither can you. If we work together, we can move mountains.
  8. COURAGE – There is no point in hiding or staying stagnant. Courage will move you to new heights and new places. Fear will only hold you back. If the very worst thing that can happen is someone will say no, what have you got to lose? I also learned that NO can open doors that were better than yes. It’s all good.
  9. COURTESY – This is very Canadian of me, but kind and polite is so important. A smile and a thank you go a very long way. It never hurts to be polite. I teach my children the same thing my dad taught me,you  don’t have to like the person, but you must be polite.
  10. CREATIVITY – Thinking outside the box opens new doors and expands horizons. Being open to different and looking at things in new ways is a way to a new perspective.
  11. DEPENDABILITY- if you say you are going to do it, then do it. Be reliable, be faithful, be loyal, be accountable. If you can’t, say so. That is part of being dependable. Dependable doesn’t have to mean yes.
  12. ENTHUSIASM – Going into a project with this trait makes it easier on yourself and easier on your co-workers. Enthusiasm lifts spirits and brings joy.
  13. FAITH – I expect the best out of people, yes I get disappointed – like today – without faith no one has anywhere to aspire to. It’s hard to work past judgement and just accept faith. I love to believe in everything wonderful.
  14. FORGIVENESS – this one is hard. I use to hold a grudge for ever. I learned no one cared or noticed and it just hurt me in the end. My anger didn’t matter to anyone but me. I let it go and now I look, act and feel younger. I have become indifferent to situations that I can’t control. Forgiveness is more important for you than for others. Forgiveness is like Sorry – it doesn’t end pain, but it gives you a place to start from.
  15. GENEROSITY – I come from a very long line of generous people. If someone needs it more than me, they should have it. I can mostly give of time as I do not have money. I do give things as often as I can
  16. GRATEFULNESS – to be grateful is life changing. The more grateful you are for something, the more you receive. It doesn’t make sense, it just is – it goes along with faith. I decided to be grateful for the friends in my life, and it came back to me ten-fold.
  17. RESPECTFULNESS – I respect other’s privacy. I do not need to be told to keep an embarrassing secret. I understand without saying our conversations are private. I ask questions because I care, not to blab to the world. Besides, no one is all that interested unless they care too.

It’s a long list, I stopped at R so you can tell me the Character Traits YOU are most proud of.

Epic Fail

This was my facebook status today

“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.” —Mary Pickford

I posted it to keep me from being sick. Epic failure happened to me. I needed to be reminded that I fell, I actually fell 3 times – but whose counting? I learned things that made me want to let my heart explode. But instead, I stood up, dusted myself off and began again.

Learning to forgive yourself is harder than asking someone to forgive you.

I like being the best, the top banana, the big cheese! Let’s face it, we all like feeling important. This makes me the same as you. I work hard, just like you. I am successful, just like you. I fell hard, just like you. Standing up and moving forward is what separates us from the pack.

The big learning lesson for me today is ask. It’s hard, especially when people are reluctant to share information that can help you along the way. The secret is, keep asking until you find the person who can help you. Now THAT was painful, but it turned out just fine.

I still have a sucking chest wound from the experience but that will heal. The good news is, now I know. The better news is, I don’t have to let it happen again. The best news is, I feel empowered now AND I should get a good mark to boot.