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 Shift

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I am feeling a shift. I feel better than I have in a decade. I am excited about things I haven’t been enthusiastic for in years.

I think it is because I have meditated for 700 consecutive days and the payoff is finally happening. When I say ‘payoff’ I mean that zen optimism those yogis promise you. I am beginning to feel it.

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I want to decorate the Christmas tree. I haven’t been excited to that in forever. Last year, that time I died (my daughter calls it that. I was sick and in the hospital with organ failure. No adults around except my 19-year-old daughter and she stepped up. She nurtured me back to health and I love her more than I thought remotely possible.) I sat in a chair looking at things as if I saw them for the first time. There was a shift of consciousness.  I became aware of things I had no idea about. Some things were validated and somethings just plain ol’ felt good.

I got out of bed this morning and baked cookies. For those of you who knew me as a young mother, I was a baker. I baked everything from scratch including bread. I canned vegetables I grew in my garden, I made dinners from real food not processed or packaged, I picked fruit and made jam. I sewed things including enough quilts for my family never to be cold again. I made Halloween costumes from scratch. I painted, I sketched, I played the piano, and I sang. I read everything I could get my hands on and I loved to spend my days with my children. We would play, explore, learn and try new things. I did all those things. Then one day it stopped.

I became more tired. I made friends with the wrong kind of people. I fell into a depression cycle. I had to go back to work. I worked on a team filled with assholes. Seriously – some of the cruellest people you would ever meet. It is a dark time I don’t think about anymore.

About a month ago, I began to feel the third shift. The second one was ‘that time I died’.

I work with one person who makes me remember how creativity is supposed to feel. Feeling that good at work is fun. There is no other way to describe it. I felt this way at work once before. It was on a team my very first year teaching. I was naive enough to think teamwork would always feel this way. HA! Not so, it took 30 years to find that synergy again. Then I found my ‘people’ at work. One person who we can chat about anything from cooking to books and everything in between.

I continued to meditate every day because I loved the peace and calming feeling after my sessions. If I have a bad day or a few days, I continue to meditate. The sour feeling comes and goes quickly. In the old days it would last forever, now its done in a few hours or a day at the longest. I have learned to lean into feelings. Allow them to come, I experience them rather than stuff them down and then I am happy again. Meditation has truly changed me.

I have baked for three consecutive weeks. Strange since I hadn’t made cookies in a year and that was only because I made them for my son as a Christmas gift. It was one of the few things he asked for. I bought a new rolling pin. An embossed pin that will make pretty cookies. I have planned out my Christmas baking list. The last time I made one of those I was living in my old house.

I am writing again. I have submitted short stories for publication at different magazines and I entered the CBC Reads prize. I am working on my 4th book. Maybe this will be the one I publish? Its currently in edits. It is a long process to get a finished product.

I am planning out vacations again. I want to visit my parents when they travel to the states. Just me and them. No kids, no siblings and no husband. Just me and my mom and dad. I don’t often get them all to myself. As the eldest child, I had to share them with everyone. Not this time. I want to have a memory of just the three of us.

I am reading again. I used to read 50 books a year. This year I am only at 25 for the year. But I read because I want to not because I think I should.

I plan things so my children will want to spend time with me. We went for dinner Friday night and I love how they make me laugh. We rented a cabin in the mountains a month ago and went hiking to some waterfalls we had never seen before. Sometimes we just watch Doctor Who or the Good Place together. Yesterday we all sat on my new king bed chatting with my mom who is in England today.

Since my meditaion journey began, I now believe in signs or nudges. That flash of impulse that compels you to try something or go somewhere. Do it. I like to believe its the universe showing me the right direction. Out of the blue 10 minutes ago, I received a link to this from an old friend. She saw it and thought of me, so she felt she should send it. Its what I needed to see today. With the added benefit of knowing someone you care about is thinking about you. Thanks, Chicken Hawk!

I have been looking up old bloggers that I used to read. They had stopped writing or a long time and now they are back at it again. It feels like the perfect introvert reunion. Visiting with old friends without having to have a face to face conversation!

I am making dinners again! With the hubs retired, I have been lucky enough to come home to dinner ready for me after work. Lately, on weekends, I feel like cooking. Today I am making soup. A big pot of chowder and some fresh biscuits to go along with it.

This shift is feeling good. Meditation is a big part of that but so is staying in the moment and focusing on good things. I often wish people a Happy Birthday with a ‘Do all the fun things’ as an add-on. But you want to know something? Always do all the fun things and your day will be much better for it.

 

 

 

2017: The Epic 50th Year

If you sat me down a year ago and asked me where I thought I might be December 29, 2017, I would not have guessed this. I think that is the biggest takeaway from this year is not knowing what is around the corner is normal and can have wonderful surprises.

I felt the sting of betrayal, the exhaustion of health issues, the joy of appreciation, the pride of ability and the excitement of exploration.

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2017 had me exploring more of my surroundings that I had not seen before. I crossed the new bridge in Terwillegar, tasted some of the best coffee in the city, saw a sea star clinging to rocks in the ocean, visited 4 National Parks, started a new job, had meaningful and grownup conversations with my brother, was visited by death,  read the most exquisite words and dumped the worst books that I could not get through. I learned that success is not a dollar value or a title and now I feel sad for people who do. I learned fighting for victims is possibly the most important work I do. (my children and I have talked about the world and where it is headed. History is a great learning lesson and we are doomed to repeat it. I said, “I am the kind of person who will hide people to keep them safe”. They both responded with, “so are we.” I felt great pride know their values are set.)

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I learned spending free time on things I don’t like is wasting my life. If I read a book that is terrible, I close it. If I taste something not worth the calories, I don’t finish it. I don’t hug people I don’t like. I make an effort to spend time with people who mean something to me. I take 30 minutes each day for meditation, it is more important than work. Work in a place that aligns with your values, it is not my life but I spend a lot of time there so having it fit with me is important. Loyalty is precious, don’t abuse it and only give where deserved.

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I gave up things that no longer matter or bring me joy, the NHL was the first to go. I still do not drink pop of any kind and gave up aspartame 31 months ago and all carbonated beverages are going. That includes beer so it is leaving my pallet this year. Participating in events that I dread or resent, not going to happen this year.

I learned it is okay to let goals go. I worked with a young gal (Emily) who had a long time life goal of becoming a doctor. One day she realized he had everything she wanted and being a Doctor was not part of her story any longer. She had the courage to say, its okay to let that goal go. She picked a new one and changed her life. We celebrated by taking a lovely walk in Mill Creek. I admire her and have learned more from her than most people in my life. She is a beautiful human. I cry just thinking about how powerful her belief in herself is. I made big changes because I was inspired by her, Thank you Emily <3.

I achieved every goal I set out for myself in 2017:

I meditated every day. As of today, I have meditated 383 consecutive days for a total of 170 hours and 52 minutes. I credit this to be the single most important thing I did for myself and it brought significant change. Sitting with yourself in silence for 30 minutes every day is the best gift you can give yourself.

  • I am calmer
  • I let go of things that are not important
  • I can see what is important and meaningful to me
  • I smile more
  • Things (purchased items) no longer have meaning
  • I appreciate people are doing the best they can with the knowledge and tools they have

I set a goal to read 35 books, I read 43 and likely will have read 44 by New Year’s Eve.

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The best book I read this year was by Elizabeth Strout, Anything is Possible. My favorite book of all time is My name is Lucy Barton by the same author. Lucy visits Anything is Possible and it was like catching up with an old friend. It is my favorite for personal reasons and how it made me feel when I could relate to the story.

I did something epic for my 50th Birthday. I had intended to visit New York City. It was a long time goal but circumstances had me changing my mind. Instead, I went to Tofino and it was the best vacation I have had in 50 years. I consider myself to be well traveled. This vacation was valuable.

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I went on as many adventures with my pal Captain as I could. As my health improves, I suspect we will go on even greater adventures together. I hope to bring him to Vancouver in the spring so he can visit the ocean and bark at harbor seals.

I fought for friendship and let other friends go. This falls into the “I know what is important” category. I chose kindness and learned fun can also be kind.

I supported my children unconditionally. I refuse to squash my children’s dreams. I will not warn them of peril or talk them into doing something they will hate. When they say to me, “I want to do/try/experience…” I say okay. I ask what their plan is and then I ask if they need help from me. I am watching them become amazing humans and living the life I wish I had the courage to live at their age. Happily, I have that courage now.

I made epic mistakes too. I asked for advice when I wasn’t ready to hear it. Actually, I thought I would get positive and uplifting support. I didn’t. It pushed me back into darkness. I am working on getting that sparkle back. I did learn who I can trust and who I need to hold at arm’s length.

I learned family is pretty damn important. But not all family are your people. Family can mean friends too. My parents and my children are my people. I have 7 friends who are my people. You know who you are, if you are thinking” am I her people?” you probably are if I eat breakfast with you, drink wine/coffee with you or talk/text to you on the phone.

So what will 2018 bring? I have no idea. I have decided to just let things happen and be the observer of my life. I will not manipulate circumstance to make things the way I think I should have them. I have set goals because I do not want to be a sloth, life doesn’t happen by sitting on the sofa, adventure is out there!

2018 Goals:

  1. Meditate for 30 minutes daily.
    • I created a nice little spot in my room to help with consistency. I journal about it on a blog I have created. It helps me see the progress/change I am experiencing. If you are interested in following it, contact me and I can give you the address or FB page. I am keeping trolls out.
  2. Write daily.
    • As with any practice, a daily occurrence is important. I will either blog/journal or work on my book.
  3. Protect Privacy.
    • Trolls feed on personal knowledge. I am sharing my privacy with important people.
  4. Be kind
    • I will ask myself every night as I review my day, “Where could I have done better?” Did I say something that was unkind? Could I have helped someone? We don’t get better without self-reflection, this will be my learnings.

I have 3 more goals that I will keep private – as part of #3’s goal. This makes me feel empowered.

I hope you also had a wonderful 2017 and learned many new things. Here is to continuing my epic 50th year and embracing the learnings that come with it.

Happy New Year my loyal readers!

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500 Miles for SMA: I have no idea what day it is and other FUBARS

It is some day during this event. Joe told we are half way. I don’t even know what that means.

I get up, make food, get ice, make ice packs, make cold compresses, gather food, load the car, get gas, buy groceries, drive, scout, map routes, drive, check route, check on runner, drive a head, drive back to feed/hydrate/cool down runner, find finish line, go back and tell runner where finish line is, make sure runner is safe, make dinner, tend feet… yep I just said that, stretch out a body that isn’t mine.

Then I shower, and go to bed.

Rinse Lather Repeat.

I have no idea what day it is. My vivoactive won’t tell me what time it is: Dear Garmin, we hare have in BIG FREAKIN CHAT when I get the chance.

Do I regret agreeing to this?

Not a chance.

We have raised – get this – close to $8000 for SMA.

Worth every second.

Things I have learned:

1) My super power is Navigation. I knew I was fluent – but holy hell – I hardly use my GPS. I drive from several towns away. I get there by the running route, come home via the fast way. I don’t know how I do it other than I think about it logically and BOOM. Hello hotel – screw you Pheobe (my GPS unit) I don’t need you anyways!

2) I have a crap ton of transferable skills. I know how to do and fix things that would impress MacGiver.

3) I am always in ‘Teacher’ mode. I went to the Sports Authority today and and they are not Authorities. The Manager and I had a conversation about what I needed. I was specific. I asked for friction free RUNNING socks. I don’t care the brand – I prefer Balega or Wright, but not really caring. He didn’t know what that was. Fine….show me where your running socks are. Scattered everwhere (for the record – crap selection). Fine….I need a pair of Brooks Cascadias in a 11.5 2E. He brought me to the Asics section and told me they were what I was looking for. Dude – Asics are too heavy. They are covered in Gortex – this is a DESERT. they will be too hot. Show me Saucony trails – he showed me cleats. Really? Lets have a chat about shoes okay? A quick little PK (Product Knowledge) session. I need Brooks. My runner runs in Glycerine 13s they are wide in the toe box. He has Fred Flintstone Feet. I need a wide shoe. You telling me a D width will be fine is not fine. I know it is too small because I apparently just schooled you in shoes! Its okay if you don’t have what I am looking for. Tell me you don’t have it or tell me you don’t know what I am talking about. Its okay, I know you are a glorified Sport Check – but HOLY HELL – DO NOT ACCUSE ME OF NOT KNOWING WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT. Jerk.

4) I gave up diet coke and I am the crankiest person on the planet because of it. I feel better but DAMMIT addiction is freakin hard! I went to the vending machine, drooled on the glass a bit and bought a lemonade. You suck lemonade.

5) I am impervious to Sunscreen. I apply it everyday – twice a day. My arm is fire-engine red. I wear a long sleeve over my arm that is in the sun. I burn fast and I burn well. I kick ass at sunburns.

6) Apparently 4:00 AM is the best time to think. My brain wakes me up every morning at 4 to think about stuff. I am living the El Camino Trail here in California. I have learned things I never wanted to know. I have cried like a baby. I have been more angry than you could ever imagine. Karmic debt will be paid in full once this is done. Then I will move forward and leave a pile of crap behind. Its cathartic. Its painful.

7) I get irrationally angry at people I don’t know. I am concerned I may shoot my mouth off without thinking properly. Sometimes at 4 in the morning, that is a fantasy I have. Sometimes I  get excited to say these things to people I haven’t met. It will be interesting how it all plays out. Clearly, I wont say anything unless provoked….I am Canadian after all.

8) I am not a magician. I can’t force Joe to eat/sleep/or do stuff I tell him. He is pretty good at doing stuff because he is that tired. He lets me direct him/assist/provide for him. But telling me to make him do something is impossible. I can’t make him do anything. He is bigger than me. Mostly tho, he is super cooperative and a super patient. If he wasn’t, I’d tell his mom. She has become my pal.

9) my car has a special kind of funk living in it. I need to buy Febreez

10) Haggen has the best Grocery Deli I have ever seen in the USA.

11) Joe keeps telling me he couldn’t do this without me. Right back atcha pal. I couldn’t do this without you either. I’d look stupid driving back and forth for no reason. Seriously, we are a kick-ass team.

P.S. Don’t shave the beard – the Hockey Gods heard you and that would bring a decade of bad luck.

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Lesson’s my Dad taught me: Happy Father’s Day

I was one of those lucky kids.

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You know the kind, I had a dad who would play with me. As a teacher I could always spot the kids who had a great relationship with their father, they would talk about him and tell stories or behave in such a way that reflected the good times they had together. I was one of those kids.

I learned plenty of great things and was fortunate enough to be scarred for life because of my Dad, so I decided I need to have a Dad Tribute today on my Dad’s 45th Father’s Day Milestone.

Things My Dad Taught Me by the Edmonton Tourist

  1. To love Superheroes: Sure my Dad is a Superman fan, and I think that is sad and pathetic because he is the WORST SUPERHERO EVER. But I was encouraged to be my own superhero. I was Danger Girl. I had my own cape and my own super powers. I stored lightning bolts in my chest and could throw them at a moments notice. I learned that I had my own inner power to conquer all things difficult. I just needed to put my mind to it and work for it.
  2. It never hurts to be kind: I was taught the kindness, manners and respect was a common courtesy that everyone should enjoy. This didn’t mean you had to like the people, but you had to be polite. It makes the world a better place. I’ve witnessed it.
  3. Appreciate other’s strengths: Life is too short to harbour jealousy. Everyone has a talent that should be celebrated. Embrace each other’s talent and be thankful they are good that things you are not. Work together and be a team, more can get done that way.
  4. Be a Reader: The fact that my Dad was an English Teacher is the reason I am a reader. Sure he would give me books and then talk to me about them, but that was because reading for pure joy will take you places you can never imagine. There is nothing more delightful than being so caught up in a book you think about the characters and places long after the book is over. Reading great novels has made me smarter through understanding, questioning and researching further to gain a greater understand of the events.
  5. Travel: I have been all over the world the seen things that only a handful of people have had the privilege to see. Dreams came true on holidays with my parents. I saw the Bird Lady feed the pigeons on the Steps of St. Paul, I’ve stood at the base of Vimy Ridge and felt the whispers of Canadian boys who died there so that I may live the life I have today, I learned how locks and channels work on a rare sunny evening in Amsterdam and learned about laughing until your sides hurt and tears spring from your eyes because being silly is way more fun on vacation than being serious.

Of course my dad has taught me many more life lessons, I just appreciate these ones the most and have taught my children the same life lessons.

The biggest and best lesson I learned from my Dad, is don’t take yourself to serious and laugh at yourself more often. Think about it, you are hilarious. Embrace it.

Happy Father’s Day Daddy! Love you! xxx

Me and Dadeo at the finish
Me and Dadeo at the finish

From Daydreamer to Daydoer, The Edmonton Tourist Project

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November 11, 2010 047 (Photo credit: matt44053)

I am nearing my 2 year anniversary of the Edmonton Tourist Project. The purpose of this project was to take risks, climb out of my depression and experience  no regrets. Looking back it boggles my mind what I different person I use to be. I had a resigned nature and attitude about things. I have spent countless hours reading about other people’s journeys. I have become an active member in the blog community, so much so – there are many bloggers who I have never met, yet I count as friends. I have learned there is no destination as long as you are still traveling. Making a conscious effort to be a tourist in my own life has opened up possibilities that I had never seen before.

November 11, 2010 (again with the 11 thing)I was Freshly Pressed. All that means was the choosers here at Word Press saw my post and thought it was funny enough to place on the front cover of the WordPress Blog Site. I received close to 2000 hits that day, 50 subscribers in a single day and hundreds of comments. It was a real Rock Star moment. Looking back, that moment was fairly significant for a couple of reasons.

  1. It convinced me that I can do the impossible – or what I perceived as impossible
  2. It made connections with people I never would have otherwise known, and in return I have learned great lessons and made spectacular friends. Not just blog friends, but actual human beings who I can look in the eye and touch their hands.
  3. It taught me that everything and everyone has a story that should be told. It is from stories that I learn great things from.

I remember November 11th ever well. It was a stat holiday here so I was having a long lay-in that morning. Snuggled up and daydreaming. (I was a great daydreamer – I am a great daydoer now) when at 8:00AM my emails start going crazy. My first one was from Chef – She was from Edmonton too only now lived in Texas. I found it odd that she stumbled onto my blog.  Since then, we have commented back and forth and I even won a contest she hosted! The list of commenters grew. Then another Edmonton commenter found me.

Her name was Audrey. She was blogging from Edmonton and was struggling with the day to day problems of cancer. She was determined not to be angry but to embrace every moment she had left. She spent spare moments in nature photographing the beautiful river valley, she took art classes at the Art Gallery and she spent quality time with friends and family. Her journey was more than a day to day struggle. I learned that you don’t get moments back. She inspired me to take risks with people. Tell them the good things I think about them as they pop into my head. This has not always been welcomed, but I have no regrets about it. It doesn’t always turn out the way I hope, I get rejected in friendship – but they go away knowing I like and care about them. Some people just aren’t ready for someone to think highly of them. Sad – but true. Audrey embraced the Edmonton Tourist Spirit, always thinking of the next risk and how it would effect those around her. Kindness and compassion enveloped her.

Audrey passed over yesterday morning at 9:38 am surrounded by those she loved and who loved her back. We all should be so lucky. This is an excerpt of her final post:

Thank you to everyone for your support and caring.

 

I started the blog as a record of my journey for my family but it has become much larger than that, it became a helping tool for those in a similar journey. I am grateful if I have been helpful in anyway. I leave you with the encouragement for you and your loved ones to visit your family doctor regularly. Know that you are your own advocate, and don’t accept no as an answer.

 

I don’t know where I would be without my family. The love and support they have shown me has made my journey so much easier than I know it could have been. I am not sure I would have lived this long without them. They accepted my bumps and challenges along the way. They responded quickly to my needs and they gave me meaning to the term unconditional love. I wish I had another 40 years to return to them.

 

I love you all, take care of yourselves and each other.

 

See you in the funny papers.

 

Love Audrey

Thank you for the life lessons Audrey. I shall miss you.

 

The Superhero of My Awake

I stayed up too late last night. I won’t bore you with the details, but I was finishing When God Was a Rabbit. I loved that book and needed to finish it. So 1:30 rolls around and I realize my alarm is going to go off 5 hours and 15 minutes, so I reluctantly shut it down with 1 1/2 chapters to go. I finished it over breakfast.

I walked around in a Zombie like state this morning. Autopilot has become a friend to me. Coping not living, trying to get everything done in my life and trying to do it well. I stumbled to my coffee maker and turned it on. It’s a Keurig and I love it. One cup of perfect coffee coming right up. I heat up 1cup of milk ( to satisfy my dietician I drink my milk in my coffee, milk on its own is nasty) then place my kickass Mary Poppins Mug on my coffee maker. I load my machine with some fabulous K-Cup, today was Newman’s Own Bold…Daaaayammmm its a good cup of coffee! The sound the coffee makes as it trickles into my cup makes my spine tingle. The first sip was a hallelujah moment.

This gave me an idea.

I am going to write a theme song for my first cup of coffee. Not some lameass high kick number you see for Viagra commercials, but something that feels powerful, strong and confident. Something like a Superhero theme song. Catchy, yet makes you want to take on the world. My coffee deserves a theme song.

If my coffee could talk he would be Italian, strong, confident and full-bodied. One taste and I would be singing his praises. I can picture him now…he is starting to look like Danny Ocean…with a cape.

I do love a man with a cape, or webs or a big hammer. Hell, I like a man to hand me a cup of joe and say good morning with silence.

The perfect morning = silence + coffee

Maybe I need a perfect morning to start with ENOUGH SLEEP the night before + silence + coffee. That sounds perfect, I can provide the cape.

 

It is all about the Journey

I received an email that is circulating called 45 lessons life taught me. According to the email it was written by Regina Brett, age 90. This seems to be confused with Regina Brett, not 90, author and Pulitzer Prize finalist. She is just as inspirational…because she is the same gal. Her nifty stuff is found here.  Regina Brett, age 90 was scoped out on Snopes.com and was found to be correctly attributed, here is snopes proof. However, the age thing is wrong. They are the SAME person. Regina Brett wrote an interesting blog post about the whole internet rumor about being 90 and how she came up with the lessons. Regardless of the confusing stories, it is an inspirational list and I encourage you to read it. There are quite a few lessons on the list I have already learned the hard way since becoming The Edmonton Tourist. Looking at the entire list, #13 stands out as the most recent lesson learned. It has happened to me countless times and I have done it to others plenty. Now I have seen both sides of the fence. Sure it took me forever to get this lesson,, better late than never – right?

#13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is about.

This is so true. It is hurtful when someone thinks they know exactly what you are going through and think they know how to judge or fix it. It also is painful when some one expects you to be more than you are capable of and let them down. It all boils down to perception. It’s hard to know what another person is going through until you walk in their shoes. Empathy is a hard thing to understand.

It is not a secret that I work with children and their families that immigrate here from other countries or are refugees from war torn places. The importance of empathy and using perception in such a way that can strengthen our relationship instead of divide us further is crucial. In an effort to understand better, I watched Gandhi for the first time on Boxing Day. I can hear you all now…no I didn’t live in a box, yes I am well read, but could be better, no I have not seen every classic movie, but I am closing in. It was a hard choice for me to watch it since the World Jr. Hockey Tourny was going on here in Edmonton. Yet Something compelled me to watch it.

I wanted to know more about the man who tried to live a peaceful existence, I wanted to know more about the conflict between Pakistan and India since these are the families I mostly work with, and I wanted to challenge my mind and I wanted to perceive their situation with THEIR eyes, not mine. So Gandhi it was.

There was a point during the movie ( I am not issuing a spoiler alert because this movie was based on historical fact) where Gandhi held his wife’s hand as she lay dying. He looked up and smiled at the people who surrounded him and without a spoken word, they knew they should leave. Perception and awareness was present in the room. This gave me pause.

I am struggling right now with a relationship with a friend who I love very much. I care and worry about her situation and yet her perception and awareness of my actions has cause significant strife between us.  My problem is I get too deep and don’t realize it until I am drowning. This may be because I just want to help or I care too much. I need to tune into my feelings as well, I must be aware of hers and finding the balance is problematic for me. I have done this a million different ways with people I care about. I have felt abandoned by family because their perception of my situation was incorrect. Harsh words fly back and forth because of hurt feelings. When the reality is, we hurt because we love each other very much. There is just a lack of understanding.

A wise woman said to me, “Boundaries are important. You can’t be available for every crisis. Pick and Choose.” My Perception of the problem may not be the problem after all.  Perception and Awareness is a problem within my family as well. If we just took a moment and practiced empathy I think many problems would be solved. My New Years Wish for us is to have a greater awareness of each other’s feelings. I’m not sure that will happen but I can do my part. Not engaging in sides, not contributing to strife and offer kindness will be what I continue to do. I need to help where I am able and let the rest go. I am not the person to fix all the problems of the world. I can only start with me.

Unlike Gandhi, I have no idea what my role is in my life, but I do know by moving forward and being kind is the biggest gift I can give to my friends and family, then I can keep doing that. It may not be enough, but I am only one person doing the best she can. I need to remember that being kind is NOT fixing a problem, it is being kind. No need to fix anything. Some things are not my lesson to learn.

#13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is about

is very true. I think I need this tattooed on my arm so I can be in a constant state of mindfulness when it comes to this statement. It’s true I don’t fully grasp your journey and you can’t possible grasp mine either. We need to be mindful of that and focus on our OWN lessons to be learned.

Disappointment Tourist Style

I should have stayed in bed today. You know those kind of days I’m talking about. The kind that start out bad and get worse. Ugg.

It wasn’t like it was Friday the 13th. It was more that today was filled with disappointments. I had been on a roll lately with all these positive and fabulous things happening to me. But today….hmmm good thing that happened was…hmmm. Oh I know! I wore my brand new red leather Coach gloves to work and it was cold enough to wear them home from work! They looked pretty on my steering wheel. Crap, that was the highlight? Awesome.

Today was about disappointments. So in classic Tourist Style, here is my Top 11 disappointments for today!

  1. The Jack Rabbits are starting to turn White…Really? I know this has to do with the amount of sunlight and not the weather but GEE WHIZ I am not ready for winter!!! Very disappointing.
  2. At lunch I pulled out my bag, only to discover a sad salad and tuna. Gone are the Thanksgiving leftovers I had been eating for lunch. Very disappointing.
  3. I spilled my coffee and had to start over this morning. THAT was very upsetting, perfectly great coffee sopped up by Bounty the quicker picker upper. Yes I did consider wringing it out in my cup. Very disappointing.
  4. I lost my left Canada Olympic Mit and somehow have 2 right mitts. It is uncomfortable on my left hand. WHO HAS MY LEFT MITT? Very disappointing.
  5. I worked really hard on a project for a friend and had to TELL them to thank me….not cool, kind of hurtful and very disappointing.
  6. I was very excited about a project I was working on for work  and was told I should go back to my original idea that I am NOT excited about. Very disappointing.
  7. I’ve started training for my next half marathon and my foot still hurts. Very disappointing!
  8. I watched a little kid fall on their face. They never put their hand out to stop themselves from getting hurt. This is the 2nd time this week – different kids. I thought evolution was suppose to aid in the protection of self. Very disappointed in Evolution right now.
  9. I went to the gym and walked/ran 5km and it was only a 3km day! SO FREAKINGLY DISAPPOINTING!
  10. I had lunch with a gal who told me about her life before and after the war living in Croatia. Why can’t people just get along? How very disappointing.
  11. My parents got back from the Middle East and did not bring me back a piece of the Crucifix OR an autographed copy of the Bible. This was the most disappointing of the list. Well…not really. These are in no particular order. Clearly you can figure out what order they should be in, my readers are smart like that.

Now lets look at the bright side shall we?

    1. Jack Rabbits are cute all brown with white paws and ears…AND they looked tasty!
    2. The gravy was clogging my arteries. Salad adds ruffage and tuna omega 3s. Today was a healthier option!
    3. I had more K-Cup and made myself another cup!
    4. I have new Red Leather Coach Gloves, a right glove and a left glove, I can dream about for the drive home. Crappy right handed gloves are fine for the playground!
    5. They were sincere in their apology and promised not to take me for granted again.
    6. I don’t have to do either project and can continue just plugging along doing my daily requirements.
    7. I have shaved 2 minutes of EACH kilometer without trying!
    8. Little kids are cute with band aids on their noses.
    9. I went for 5km today and didn’t feel I needed a nap!
    10. Kindness starts with me, then I need to pay it forward.
    11. Fake souveniers are not worth anything. But they are funny. Okay, there is no bright side to #11. THIS IS SO DISAPPOINTING!

Ok Tourist, how does the bright side feel? To be honest, it feels like I am trying too hard. Sitting in disappointment is okay for a while then it will be time to move on. The good thing about the disappointments that affect me most, are the ones I have control over. I can choose to partake or not. I can help my friend or not. I can do the project or not. The Offsprings Biological Co-Creator (Honey’s new name because Mike said it sounded better and more MANLY) suggested I soak in the tub and ponder my choices. He can give good advice if I stop him at the right moment in time. If you let him go on too long…well… it becomes disappointing and I don’t want to go there. I have had enough disappointment for one day.