How can you be?

Open to feeling happiness when you don’t want to be open to feeling hurt?

You can’t be is the simple answer. One that I am starting to realize. we all have past hurts that affect how slowly we dip our toes in the water the next time. How cautiously we decide to see where the bottom is as we edge out deeper. What happens though when the past scares and hurts have you sitting on the shore instead of even hesitantly wandering in, no matter how slowly?

What happens is where I have been for the past three years essentially. Either making very conscious decisions to not let anyone close – physically or emotionally – or becoming involved only with someone who is “safe” because of their built in limitations on where the relationship could ever go. Simple. Easy. Safe.

Devoid of emotions. The opposite of hurt and sadness is not happiness or joy; it’s apathy. Feeling nothing may avoid feeling hurt but eventually it hurts worse in its own way.

The hard part is that to expose yourself to what is needed and wanted – joy, happiness, laughter that you actually feel, softness, liking someone a whole lot 😉 – also means that the floodgates are open and that you expose yourself to being hurt again. You’re vulnerable and that’s scary. Terrifying actually.

Lots of looking inside lately and trying to decide what to do. Sit and watch from the shore where it’s safer but feels like I am missing something that could bring so much more into my life or do what feels right and say fuck the toe dipping and just splash in. If the bottom falls out underneath me, I know I can tread water or swim.

The knowledge that I will be just fine is enough to give me the nudge.

Neon Trees

A song today that brought back so many memories. It’s amazing how a few seconds of a song can take you away to another time so fully and swiftly.

A song that was playing during a wild and fun sexual romp with my boyfriend at the time. Almost 5 years ago and with just a few seconds of that song, I was right back there. All of the feelings and emotions and images flooding my mind made me smile. Then they made me sad. In a quick turnaround, I am left with a sadness, not over the loss of that relationship or missing that person , but a sadness over the difference in ME now.

That was a time when I was finally living my truths. Life had taken yet another massive turn for me and I was separated and raising my boys as a single parent again. I had just sat the boys down and had the talk with them about how things were changing. I was sick of working too much and not having enough smiles and fun in our lives. It was time to not only lighten the schedules, but to make joy a priority. Part of that, for me, was living a healthy expression of my sexuality and relationship choices.

I was finally openly (to myself, others would come later) bisexual and happily open with my sexuality and how I explored that. That meant being openly poly in my relationship choices. The people I was involved with were all aware that there were “others” in my life that I shared time and connections with. For the first time in a very long time, I was happy and comfortable with my Self and how I was living my life.

That song this morning… boom… right back there. And like a jolt, it magnified for me how far grieving and living with depression has taken me from my truth, my freedom, my joys.

I miss the lightness of being. The ease of knowing that even though things were sometimes hard, I was happy with my choices. I miss the ability to connect and enjoy experiences with people. That’s been lost for too long.

I think back to the song playing, 5 years ago, and I close my eyes and make a promise to my Self that I’ll find that feeling again.

So much the same, so much different

Back in the old home town for a work/ continuing ed conference this weekend. Travels through old neighbourhoods and sights. So many that have changed, but so many that haven’t.

Funny how the mind can swing between happy and sad within the space of seconds. Seeing the reminders of times long past and the feelings stirred up along with that. Buildings that are gone now replaced with shiny and new; bringing up feelings of wondering how, if the landscape can change so completely, how can the memories and the feelings be so UNchanged.

Driving to my son’s place to stay with him. The oddness of me, his Mother, going to be a guest at his home now. Roles all ajumble and askew. More feelings and memories to work through as I near and arrive at the place he lives now… the same neighbourhood we lived in when the boys were babies and little boys. Again. So many changes and so many feeling and memories still fresh and like yesterday.

The strangeness that settles inside of me as I realize that the disconnect I am feeling with same yet different is much because of the fact that I am changed. That as much as I view and feel myself the “same”, I’m not… to live is to grow and to change. The feelings and the memories are a call back to an older version of me. A version that was different, younger. The me that is here now is different and changed. Much like the landscape that I travel through. So much the same yet so much altered.

Objects in hindsight may appear…

I love how sometimes you say something (or hear something) and it smacks you upside the head just how it relates to something bigger in life.

Out hiking today with 2 of my kids and it was a loop trail that went around a lake. There was one vantage point that I was standing at with my youngest son and he was hesitant to go to close to the edge. It was a sharp edge to the “cliff” and you couldn’t get close without seeing how far down it was, or even how sheer the drop was. The angle of view was just not good and it looked dangerous. So he stayed back a bit even though he really wanted to see how far down it was.

We didn’t think much of it and kept on the trail and it looped back around the end of the lake to the other side. At this point my older son made a remark that the cliff face we were now looking at from across the lake was where we had been standing. Sure enough, there it was. It had some unique looking tress and it was easy to see that it was indeed where we had been.

My youngest looked over and said, almost with annoyance, that it wasn’t anywhere near as high or dangerous as he (we) had thought it might be. That the slope of the cliff was actually pretty safe looking from here and the angle from where we had been standing was misleading.

A simple message and one that I needed to hear today. That so many times, when we have a chance to look back, we realize that the situation we had been in wasn’t able to be seen accurately because of our vantage point. Sometimes we’re just too close to the edge to be able to see the way down isn’t as bad as we think it might be. We look back after and the perspective gives us a new angle to look at it. Hindsight really is different but that’s not so much what hit me today. It was more that sometimes, in the moment, I need to stop and think that maybe what I’m seeing and viewing is skewed by the angle and my immediate perspective… things aren’t always precisely how they appear.

Not as a girl, but now as my Self

“I wish I were a girl again, half-savage and hardy, and free.” ― Emily Brontë

I read this quote today as I was searching for just the right “MMM” for my staff at work. The MMM is my Monday Morning Motivation. At times, it reflects how I am feeling or things that are on my mind. More often or not though, it triggers me to think. Which is what this little gem did today.

You see, I read that and the first thing I thought was that I am, in fact, much more hardy and free NOW than I ever felt when I was a young girl. Racked with shyness and insecurity I dreamed of being fearless and confident. Free from everything inside of me that held me back, that told me “I couldn’t” or “I shouldn’t”. I grew up and struggled to push through the shyness, able now to carry that off most days. The insecurities and self-confidence are a work in progress…better than it used to be and still growing and evolving and making strides forward.

Free though, yes. That is something that, for the first time in my life, I can say that I feel. Reading that quote this morning brought a smile to me -inside- as I realized that for the first time I can say that I feel free. Something that I didn’t so much “find” as uncovered that it was there all along. I just had to let myself unleash it. Better late than never 😉

My gift to my Self

November is my birth month and I’m not usually a big celebrator of my birthday but this year I’m feeling a different spin on it.

I’ve been going through a bit of a shake up recently and the past year has been one of tremendous awareness and self exploration and growth. Discovering – and rediscovering – my Self and what makes me tick has been a roller coaster this year…and it’s just the beginning 😉

So I was musing over the past couple of months in particular and seeing that the stressors of life since the beginning of September have taken their toll. The basics of eating and sleeping and self-care have fallen by the wayside as they have a tendency to do with me. Bad habits that I thought I had set to rest have reared up again, a couple of them with a vengeance that’s frustrating. The worst part is that I’m no longer ignorant of the changes that I want and need to make. I no longer am able to ignore the lacking that sits inside of me when I slip up. But that awareness is also the best part; because it gives me clarity.

Clarity to ask myself what can I do? What do I need to do? I have struck upon an answer…and if you read my last entry you’d know that the awesome thing is that the answer was already there, waiting for me 🙂

I’m giving myself a birthday present this year. I’m going to celebrate Me. My Self gets a gift. The gift of freedom.
The gift of feeling not just good, but amazing. To eat healthy and wholesome so that my body feels nourished and cared for and valued by the Self that lives in it.
The gift of feeling strong physically. To know sweat and pain and the joy it brings me again…often and as much as I can. To know the serenity that comes from well worked muscles as they relax and soften after exertion. To feel the peace and the strength that flows through my Yoga practice again. Energizing and restoring me in a way nothing else can.
The gift of being challenged and to know the joy of achievement. To also give the gift of acceptance of knowing when my best is enough.
The gift of feeling nurtured. To experience a mind and a body and a spirit that is treasured and cherished.
The gift of expression and non-judgement. To follow where my Self meanders and explores and wanders. New paths and experiences are boundless and I give my Self permission to indulge and experience. Without judgement. With a knowledge that fear can’t and won’t hold me back.
With love, from Me to My Self.

A month to not just have a birthday but to have a celebration of the knowledge that I can, and do, chose to actively create and live my life. A life that embodies and embraces what fulfills me and expresses my Self. I put to rest those things that hold me back and move forward with those things that fan the flames of my fires.

Living Openly, Living Abundantly.

The Answer

I’ve been in a place in my life lately where I have been seeking and feeling very unsettled. It seems to be going around. I have a few friends who have been struggling with some significant decisions as well. Lots of questioning and soul searching has been happening.

With some, it’s a matter of choices. There are clear and laid out options. This or that, or maybe a few this and thats but essentially, the options are known. The talks and texts…the coffee dates and the walks… all connecting and trying to come to some sort of place of knowing, really knowing what is the “right” decision to make. Weighing all the pros and cons and talking it over for hours. Calculating out and projecting and trying to make rational and logical decisions over matters of the heart and spirit. What it inevitably comes down to is what “feels” right. What does your gut say? What sits right in your heart?

At the end of it all, when you take the chatter and the lists and the scales of option a or b away… you’re left with the truth. The scary truth that we avoid with a vengeance.

The truth is, we each know the answers we are searching for. We know the answer even before we’ve let ourselves pose the question; because, by the time we start to question, the answer has been found inside already. The question is our mind and hearts way of bringing us to that answer. Sometimes it takes a little longer and sometimes we have false starts and we pick the other option that we know, deep down, isn’t “right”. But the fact is that even then, it is right. For that time. Because it wasn’t the right time yet to make the choice we need to make. But we find our way eventually. We always will, if we look inside and listen. That’s where the answer is. Always has been, always will be.

The place I have found myself in is a bit different. There’s no way to listen to the answer because I’m stuck with my Self not being able to bring through the question yet. Just unsettled and knowing that there’s a maelstrom brewing underneath. A change needed, a time of growth is here and a direction needs to be seen. Some answers have already been discovered and they feel right. But there’s more. Not sure exactly what or how or where but a calmness is inside, knowing that the answers I look for are waiting for me to find them. And I will.