Untangling. Yes, just simply, that’s it. Trying to find a word that captures the feelings this past while and that is it. Taking a mess of jumbled and tangled everything and slowly picking away, twisting and turning… a pull here, a tug there, ooops, that made it worse. Backtrack a bit, try another way … then that moment when you feel it start to loosen and give way. Just when you start to think that it’s a lost cause, it starts to come undone; it untangles.
Seemingly randomly at times but the truth is that it was because of the effort put in…the trying and the re-trying and the futile feeling attempts. Sometimes near tears of frustration and wanting to just give up and toss it out, now you hold that smooth, long expanse in your hands and smile. You can put it down now and stop worrying it and move forward.

A love letter, from me… to me… because really, it all starts and ends with how you love yourself.

Closed eyes and a gentle touch
to the heart

arms felt wrapped around
wholly and fully, enveloping in comfort and love

whispered words…why I love You…

it’s Your strength that’s Your beauty
how You stand back up again, every time
it’s not that You never falter or sink down
but that You always rise up
breath in, breath out, move forward

the way You glance back to honour what made You who you are
without having Your gaze locked in the past
a past that holds no grip on Your future
shaped, but not cast in stone by your past
Your belief that who You are now and tomorrow is up to You
not decided by what anyone told You in the past
or by anything that happened to You

the way Your head and Your sight is firmly on the potential
and the silver lining of tomorrow, always visible to You,
even through the fogs that roll in and sometimes settle for a while
the way You run, forcing the fogs to retreat
how You know that You can always make that happen
and You do, over and over again
and that You will… as many times as You need to

I love You for your resilience and Your softness
I love You when You are weak and defeated, in moments of hopelessness
I love You for the way your brokenness hasn’t broken You
and for how it never will
And I love You even when You don’t see any reason to be loved
You are mine and I am Yours
I love You for You

little kiss on the nose and a nibble, cause I love that 😉

There are times when a system just doesn’t work right. Every now and then at work I’ll go away from my desk for a bit and when I come back to my computer, it doesn’t work properly. I try to scroll down a page and it zooms in and out instead…or I try to open an email and it just stalls and blanks out trying to open a new one without closing the old one…I’ll go to open a new tab and it does nothing. Weird behaviour that my IT guy can’t explain. His answer is always the same… “ log off, wait a minute then log back in. That should fix it”. Annoying, but it does always fix it. Whatever “it” is. I’ve asked him why my computer does this and why it needs me to log off and on again and he doesn’t know why. He just says that sometimes systems need a reboot. They just do. I don’t worry too much about it, it’s more an annoyance than an issue really.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about changes that I need to make in my life and how I feel like a failure for not being able to make a lot of them stick. I have grown accustomed to some unhealthy and ineffective behaviours in my life and need to re-set things in a sense. Not eating properly, using medication to get to sleep, not exercising enough – or too much and injuring myself – a lack of self-care in general… the list is pretty long. It seems like I just can’t seem to get past some ingrained hurdles that I have with my Self these past couple of years. The inner voice and chatter needs a good hard whack upside the head to set it straight is what it feels like.

I’ve been in a place similar to this before. Just after my first divorce I found myself in a rut in my life of not caring for myself… too wound up in head in the sand behaviour that I could just do it all and not put any energy into my Self that I crashed. Mentally and physically. Ended up with double pneumonia and had a forced 10 days of down time to reflect on how badly I was taking care of myself. Out of that came a reality check and I booked myself a stay at a spa when my ex-husband took our kids to Disneyland later that year.

What ensued was a full on reboot. I spent 3 nights and 4 days alone… sleeping alone, eating alone, hiking alone… spa therapy treatments, yoga, reading and meditating. The only times I spoke were to order food or book a treatment. At the time I was a single Mom to three little boys and the silence was not only bliss but necessary for me to be able to hear ME. I had become so accustomed to pushing my thoughts and feelings away that I had no idea how to even hear my Self anymore. I found solace in the woods and the water… that was when I realized how healing the ocean and the forests are to me. How I need that in a way that I didn’t know in order to connect with my Self. I’ve carried that with me since then and that’s one of the reasons that I moved to the island. To be able to be near the ocean within a short stroll has been a blessing… being surrounded by areas to hike and connect with that nature energy is necessary in a way that I never doubt.

So I find myself at a crossroads again now… my system isn’t firing right… all the things are in place for it to work and the awareness and the foundation is laid but for some reason, it’s wonky. I’m not going to expend any more time or energy trying to figure it out… it’s time for a reboot. Time to, quite simply, log off – wait a bit – then log back in again. It worked before and it will again.

We all have needs and wants and we’ve all had it drilled into us that wants are different from needs. That we don’t “need” all the things that we think we do; that, in fact, most of the things we think we can’t live without are just materialistic wants.

But what about when the line between what is a need and what is a want becomes blurred?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this week on this and how it affects my life and more importantly, my quality of life.

The truth is that we only need a few simple things to exist. Food, shelter.. really not much to live. Our society has become so stuck on wants that are perceived as needs that there is almost a disgusting sense of greed that so many think they need to have a life.

When I moved a year and a half ago, it was a long distance move from one city to another and I decided to make this the time to purge my “things” and start over. I held onto the most important items but very much cleansed my life of most of my material objects. What happened is that I have found myself living with the sense of “I have what I need, I don’t need more than this”.. true in one sense but the reality that has become obvious to me lately is that sometimes something that you think is just a want is really a need… when you look at living versus existing.

I can live anywhere… yet I moved to Victoria – and specifically to the area of Victoria that I did – because of a need to have a certain lifestyle to have a quality of life that’s not just a want anymore, but a need – a need to be happy. Being able to walk to work instead of drive in gridlock commuting… being close enough to the ocean and beautiful beaches to walk to on a whim and sit and stare and smell the air…having an apartment with character instead of a cookie cutter look… these are all, on the surface, extraneous wants yet to me, they have become needs for me to have a life that is fulfilling. Going back to the morning rushing and exhausting end of day from commuting hell is not something that is permissible now to me. This lifestyle is a need for me. Non-negotiable to my happiness; and my happiness is finally on my radar.

Just like we need food to fuel our bodies and enable us to live, our souls need nourishment too. You can argue that having love and companionship isn’t necessary and in some sense that’s true. I have spent the last long while living the truth that while friends are nice and feel good, anything beyond that isn’t a need for me. That I’m all good alone and that I don’t need anyone in my life to make me complete… and that is a truth… I can exist alone. Yet having recently started to let people into my life and my heart, it has shown me that what I have always perceived as a want may in fact be a need. Not in the way that I can’t live without love and companionship, but with an awareness that for my life to be the quality that I need, then having people who I love and hold close to me is fundamental to that happiness. Living openly in relationships that fulfill who I am and how I love is a need to me now in my relationships, no longer just a want.

We always hear “life is too short to live without….” and the simple truth is that it’s not the quantity of life, it’s the quality of the life we choose to live with that’s important. Sometimes the wants become needs and we don’t realize it.

Broken. It’s not a bad thing. The connotation is that “broken” equates with the negative. Understandable. Broken insinuates that the thing or person that is broken is no longer whole or the way that they should be. That they have been altered or changed in a bad way.

When I was decorating my new kitchen years ago I had a friend who was an artist. He offered to do the backsplash for me in tile, custom and unique and a gift from him to me. I was thrilled… even more so when he arrived with a box of stunning italian tiles. He laid the tiles out on the deck on a drop cloth and I watched, intrigued… thinking he was planning a pattern or simply laying out his material. I walked away for a moment and went rushing back when i heard breaking tiles. He was seemingly randomly smashing the tiles with a mallet, leaving behind shards and chunk of tiles – broken and no longer what they were. Horrified even more by the smile on his face and the obvious glee that he was enjoying. He laughed when he saw how I was reacting and explained to me that he was going to put them together again piece by piece and they would be something amazing. He was right. That backsplash was outstanding. Each piece laid by hand and placed meticulously. Every tile broken and no longer what it “should be” but in the end creating something far more than they would have been had they been whole and unbroken.

I say often that I am “broken” and those that love and care for me reiterate all the time that I’m not, but the truth is that I am.. and it’s not a negative. I am starting to see – and feel – that now. My life was shattered and blown apart. With that, so was my belief in so many things in my life that I held as truths. An integral and core part of me is unscathed… the base of what and who I am is there and always will be. Just like the pieces of tile are still, essentially, tile… I am still, fundamentally, me.

Don’t try to tell me that I’m not broken…I know I am and I am starting to own that and see the strength and beauty in the pieces. Broken does not equate weak or un-whole or incomplete… it is simply not what it was… and that is all right. For the first time I am looking at the pieces and seeing the perfection and beauty in my brokenness. It is part of me… not who I am, but part of my path. Not bad or wrong or taking away from my strength but instead simply another facet that has made me who I am today… and that “Self” is someone who I am starting to like… so when I say I’m “broken” when I am having a moment, know that it is, deep down now, a mantra to myself of my strength and wholeness…Acknowledging a truth of all that I am and what I’ve gone through to be where I am now. Denying that truth belittles the hell I have gone through, and still do, to be here and to live – and I refuse to do that.

Broken can be stronger than what it was to begin with. I know I am.

Sometimes you have days when everywhere you look you see something that makes you smile or you are so aware of all of the good things that you have in your life that you are grateful for. Today isn’t one of those days for me.
Today is one of those days when I have woken up anxious and with a stomach that is stress tumultuous and with tears that seem to come of their own choosing and often.
A day so full of bleak and grayness, sadness and missing that the smile is smaller and harder to find but it’s there… brought out by a jewel of a moment of hugs and comfort … and gratitude that I have that in my life.

I’ve said for a while now that it’s time to put the focus back into finding and experiencing joy again. A text conversation with one of my sons the other day was like a smack upside the head… a simple idea: the “big” happy moments in life come by few and far between but every day pretty much has at least a few little things that make you smile (or at the very least make you think “hmmmm” in an amused way!)… and it’s the accumulation of all those little things that bring the most joy to our lives.

An evening spent with people I care deeply for – laughing and talking, snuggles and holding hands together … reminding me that an easy and fun evening can be simple and enjoyed. That I can still feel what I wasn’t sure I could anymore.

Living through grieving and at the point of moving forward now sometimes I lose sight of those little things.

So, in the spirit of life being lived with smiles and laughter again it’s project time 🙂

365smiles… everyday a picture or a writing of something that brings a smile to my face or laughter to my day… because joy should be shared 🙂

I’ll be posting using my lolabits blog; https://whiskysweet.wordpress.com/ . If you’re reading this on my truthfreedomjoy blog ( http://truthfreedomjoy.wordpress.com/ ) pop on over and sign up to follow or sign up for email updates :).

Keep smiling – or start smiling if you’re not 😉

Live Openly, Live Abundantly