Float

22 03 2017

I was offered to try out an isolation/deprivation/float tank recently. I’m not going to lie, my inner claustrophobic panicky self instantly created a horrific situation where I felt trapped and out of breath and completely closed in.

My friend gave me a tour of what I’d be experiencing. My heart pounded when I saw the coffin tank, but in keeping with my current mantra of trying new things undaunted, I agreed to his generous offer and booked a time for my float.

I readied myself, I showered and then opened the tank door and stepped inside.  The water itself felt silky and soft (likely from the large amounts of salts they put in) as I stepped in. I gently eased my body down and laid back, delighted to feel myself float instantly. I closed my eyes and started to breathe. I had given myself a 45 minute session and was wondering if I would have to leave the tank before my time was up, considering my impatience and difficulty in learning to just BE. After a couple minutes, the dim coloured lights went off and my float began.

I concentrated on some deep breathing at first, and tried a bit too hard to get into it. I recognized that I was waiting for some amazing experience to hit me, that I would soon be trippin’ balls and discovering some sort of transcendental enlightenment or figuring out the meaning of life, perhaps.

So instead, I just let myself go. I listened to a few thoughts rushing around in my head, not giving them too much energy. I ignored an itchy spot on my nose, I reminded myself that I needn’t write my grocery list right then and there. Instead, I breathed. I moved my arms so that they lay up around my head instead of alongside my body. And I breathed some more.

And I found myself so thoroughly and utterly relaxed. Completely supported but in a way that nothing is touching you. The temperature was perfect, there was no sound, and it was fully dark. I had some persnickety pains come up here and there, my throat felt constricted and my neck spasmed and my left temple had a few sharp jabs of pain. These are all areas of my body that I have issues with: physically, emotionally and mentally. Instead of getting involved in the pain, I found myself watching this from outside myself and slowly the different pains ebbed until there was nothing but my breath.

Amidst all this I vaguely wondered how much longer I had left, because it honestly felt like I had been in the tank for only a few minutes. But rather then fretting about the time left, I just kept on breathing (Ujjayi for my yogi friends).

I morphed into that state of somewhere between awareness and sleep, conscious and not. I could feel my heart beat and nothing else. I just was. That’s it. When the soft lights came on to bring me from my reverie, I was pleasantly surprised and maybe a little disappointed that it was already over.

Now, a few hours after my float, I feel deeply relaxed and sleepy. But also kind of extra aware of how I am feeling. I also feel like I’ve done yoga or had a nice relaxing massage. I was incredibly impressed and feeling slightly sheepish at my reticence and fear of this experience. It afforded me a much-needed insight to some inner dialogue I have been struggling with.

And I will definitely do it again.

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Soon.

12 03 2017

I woke this morning to the dripping rhythm of the melting snow, running down the gutters to the downspouts. A myriad of birds excitedly chattered with one another, chickadees announcing spring to anyone who would listen. I stretched in the early dawn, a smile finding its way to my face.

We have suffered through a long arduous winter, haven’t we?  Apart from several cold snaps (that at least offered us brilliant blue skies and sun, coupled with breathtaking cold), it snowed a lot. Like a LOT. It seems as though every snowstorm that rudely hit us after the middle of February slowly whittled away at everyone’s resolve to bear through this. Half-hearted smiles with idle small talk about yet another snowy day here in the Koots. Will it ever end, we ponder? Yes yes, the skiing has indeed been amazing. But the grey dirty banks of snow and the muted browns and greens of winter have worn thin. Its ugliness grinds down on moods, making normally cheerful folks a bit churlish. It offers up tired jokes, repeated daily of how we’d like to punch snowmen in the face.

But today, that sun shone down, it gifted the air with a tinge of warmth. The gardens reveal brave nubs of green, those hardy daffodils and snowdrops willing to risk it all as if to remind us that spring will indeed come back to us. The sun will rise higher every day, casting a different angle of light into our homes. The snow will recede, offering patches of grass to thatch and rake.

It’s on its way, my friends. Those long walks after dinner with the sunlight guiding our way, hearing robins bossing each other around, racing to build nests in the apple tree. Windows flung wide open, airing out the stale sadness of such a seemingly endless winter. That snap and pop of bits of gravel under bike tires, the first haze of brilliant green sprinkled about on bare branches.

The awakening of what feels like an endless slumber. We shake out the cobwebs and stop making soup. Instead we crave salads and fruit and clean light dinners. Boots can be packed away and those toes that have hidden from us can make an appearance, bravely put in sandals and light shoes, regardless if it’s still a wee bit chilly outside.

Rebirth. Yawning and stretching, we stumble bleary-eyed into the sun, welcoming its warmth of return.

Soon. So very soon, spring will come back to us.





You go girl.

24 02 2017

We lapped the Summit side today, my friend and I. The snow was softened up by the sun enough so that it carved nicely on the groomers, and still we found mini patches of coveted powder here and there on Sleeper and Paydirt, amongst the trees.

Anyways, I digress. There was a cutie-patootie liftie working the Summit chair for our few runs. She was Aussie, young and super beautiful. There was a bit of a delay, the lift had stopped for a few moments. We overheard her conversation with another young Aussie gal, and it briefly afforded me a teasing glimpse into the lives of the “younguns”.

“How’s your season going?” one beauty asked the other.

“Sooooooeeeeewwwww good. I’m definitely coming back next wintah.”

“Oh, soooooeeeewwwww awesome.”

“Yeeeeaaaaahhhh, and I’m heading to the Eeeyyy-land this summah. I might get a job theyah.”

“Ohhhhh, that’s sooooooeeeeeewww amazing!! Enjoy! Hey, I’ll see you this weekend?”

“Yeeeahhhhh, should be soooooeeewwww fun!”

 

My friend and I got on the chair, bathed in the sunshine pouring down over Ymir peak. I giggled to my friend, mimicking that sweet young girl a bit.

“Ooooohhhhh, yyyeeeaaaahhhh, lookit at ma life, sooooeeeeww gooood. I don’t have any babies or even a husband! Not a mortgage or worry in sight! Lookit at me, with my high firm titties, lovin’ life, working heeeeaaahhh, working theeeeaaarrrr, with me smooth skin and no wrinkles.”

We laughed. And then we sighed. And remembered our own wild feet and youth. We recalled our own smooth skin and lives untethered. When we were wild women.

Listen, I only said what I said, I only mimicked her with the utmost of respect. The utmost of not so much jealousy, but rather with an older woman’s indulgent nostalgia. Those long ago days, when it was our turn to be wild and free.

What I thought was this:

Fuck girl: GO. Get that job on the Island. Party, make money, surf, make love, have fun, laugh and LIVE. Come back to Whitewater another season. Ski or board your ass off on your days off. Celebrate your youth. Get tattooed. Take those trips. Kiss that person you find attractive. Grab life and do what you want to do. All of those experiences you are about to dredge out for your life, they will be a guiding force in many of your decisions that you will eventually make. Let these days be the solid foundation of a life well-lived.

Take them. Run with them. That whim that whispers in your ear? Go with it. Don’t hesitate. You with the long brown braids and bright eyes. You have an epic future ahead.

Every time we lapped that side, we’d come back to the chair, and she’d ask us how our day was going. She’d ask with a bright smile and an authentic sweetness of someone who was loving life. It filled my heart with a subtle joy. That this young soul, this lovely human was living her life to her own accord, hopefully not succumbing to the dictates of others. Her life, her rules.

It settled in me, this thought and wonder of why this brief interaction touched me so deeply. And I realized it is only because it is what we should ALL do as humans. We should all live our own lives, dictated by no other person’s demands of what we should or shouldn’t do, guided only by our own happiness and joy.

It gave me hope.

It set a little tiny piece of my heart free.





In her (really really expensive) shoes

23 01 2017

You’ve seen those GIFs of Melania right? Of her at the inauguration, being left behind at the car while her lumpy rotten turnip of a husband marches up the stairs to greet the Obamas, leaving her behind. How she walks by herself, as gracefully as she can, carrying the gift for Michelle. We’ve seen that clip of Michelle’s expression… But I know, I just know in my heart that it wasn’t the fact that she was given a gift (because Michelle herself gave a gift to Laura Bush eight years ago).. No, Michelle’s expression reflects the disgust she felt seeing firsthand the blatant disregard that that piece of shit has for his wife. We’ve watched that first dance between Donald and Melania, her body language clearly expressing disgust. Those pursed lips, her barely-masked scowl. The perfunctory smile. How she smiles at him but when he turns away that smile fades quickly. Her empty eyes. Devoid of emotion. Masked.

He makes no measure to show respect. She pulls away from him in subtle ways.

Oh girllllllll….. I see you. I see your distaste and I sense your regret. I think there are many of us who can spot that a million miles away.

I am sure though, that many people would preface any sort of dialogue about her with arguments of her elitism and entitlement. But but but!!! She’s rich! She knew what he was like when she married him! It’s her own problem! If she doesn’t love him she should JUST LEAVE.

Really…. really? I wonder. I wonder how easy it is for her….

We have all seen the bully mentality he employs. With people that he refused to pay for work he hired them for. For calling people out on Twitter for ridiculous slights. His fragile ego and bottomless bank account makes him the worst kind of bully. A big fat giant baby of a bully with no compassion, empathy or regard for decency. It funnels down from the highest forms of government to his own home.

I’d wager good money that he lords that over her. That any sort of plea or effort on her behalf is met with threats of lawyers. What if she has wanted to leave? To take her son and make some sort of life for herself? I can only imagine the spittle-infused rages he can spur, ranting in their gold-encrusted bedroom while she silently holds back tears. Perhaps she has wanted to leave for some time. But now, she is the First Lady and is trapped more than ever. Who the hell knows what manner of pre-nup he devised when she married him. And yes, she signed, willingly, likely, but without any foresight (like everyone else) into what her marriage would evolve into. What he has evolved into. And let’s be honest, here. The power of holding a mother hostage is worth more than millions. Her son? His “trump” card.

Can you imagine how she felt when she first heard him say “Grab ’em by the pussy”? Can you even begin to imagine how that made HER feel? Knowing full well that she had to stand by her man, even though she may have wanted to slam him upside the head with a cast iron frying pan.

It’s sickening. It’s nauseating. It’s heartbreaking.

And it’s not her fault.

I can only wonder, I can only devise what I see by body language. I may be wrong. I’d never wish for unhappiness in her life. But what I do wish for is that IF she is unhappy, that perhaps she, as well as any unhappy woman out there, can find resolve within herself and gets that plucky courage up to make a difference to her own life and existence. It may not be tomorrow, or next week, or even next year… but it will happen. It will.





A new year, a new word.

31 12 2016

Oh hello there old friend… My little forgotten blog… Let me blow the dust off you and bring you back out from that shelf I shoved you in months ago… I’m sorry for neglecting you, I didn’t mean it. It’s just, well.. Life.. it gets kind of crazy, it throws things in your lap when you least expect it.

But I’ve felt this need to write again… this deep soulful need. I was just waiting for that little bit of inspiration to shine down on me.

Wow, what a year, hey? Definitely tumultuous, even more so than other years. The losses have been huge, we all know of that. Not only in talent,  but in democracy and the devastating situations in parts of this wonderful beautiful world..

Personally, this year has been bumpy. I’ve struggled, I’ve seen others struggle. I have been brought to my knees in fear and sadness, while rising up to support loved ones in need. It’s also been full of opportunities for deep reflection. I’ve asked myself many questions and truthfully had some surprising answers. Some answers were as clear as the way the snow-draped mountains reflect the morning sun… Others, more muddled in the mist. Still though, I seek them. I have been a devoted yogi this year, practicing almost daily on my mat and this has helped, not only physically but emotionally and spiritually.

I’ve felt something wild and deep and powerful this year. Some kind of enigmatic force that is telling us there is a shift. I’ve spoken to a few people about this, thinking that perhaps I’m just too much into my hippy ways and that I’m reading too much into things.

No, they say… I’ve felt it too. A woman I met for the first time on the chairlift the other day echoed it for me. She thinks this world is on the cusp of a giant shift. I felt relieved that my own perceptions weren’t just my own.

If it’s so, we are powerless to stop it. But powerless isn’t a bad thing. There is no negative connotations to it. It very well could be a huge awakening this world needs so desperately right now and I for one am hopeful and excited to experience it.

We need to cling to that. To hold on tight to hope as this new year rolls on in. It’s scary as hell and there are many who might think the worst of it…

And it brought me to wondering what my word will be for this year. Rather than some resolution, I like to choose a word that can signify levels of growth, and reflect on my own truths. It took me a while and every possible word that came to me, I refuted for some reason or another.

Then, at 2 am last night, I awoke with my word, soft and sweet, whirling around my mind.

Embrace.

To embrace change, to embrace life, to embrace what comes along. To embrace myself as who I am, to embrace my loved ones on their own journey. To embrace, fully with all my heart whatever my life brings me.

So to all my lovelies: embrace your blessings this year, embrace your own lives, your gifts, your own beauty and love. Embrace all that comes your way, as I will embrace mine.

Happy New Year.





Home

10 08 2016

In Buddhist belief, there is an abstract idea that as humans, we are all ONE. It’s a tough one to grasp, it’s trippy and surreal. For years, my interest and love of all things Yoga and Buddhism led me on a wild goose chase for this obscure enlightenment. I will likely never really achieve this but let me tell you one thing, I had a delicious wild taste of this last weekend.

Shambhala.

Definition: a Sanskrit term meaning place of peace/tranquility/happiness. OR: the name of a mythical sacred place.

I set up my camp at the Farm last Monday, got my bearings, my pass, my wristband and parking pass. I toured “downtown” with a sweet couple from the UK I picked up hitch hiking. Fast friends we became. It was at this point I realized I wasn’t nervous anymore. I was excited and hopeful and full of anticipation of what I was about to experience.

I arrived Thursday night, unloaded all my stuff and met up with my camp buddies. As we walked the 15 minute walk to the Stages, my belly and nerves crept on me. I could slowly hear that bass get louder, I could see the lights, I could hear the joy uttered by thousands of people. Strolling by campers, hearing all the excitement…. We arrived, and entered the Amp (Only one of two stages open Thursday evening, the other was The Living Room).

OH. MY. GOD. The bass, the beat, the lights,  the dancing. A smile erupted from the depth of my soul and took over my face and I just couldn’t stop. We danced and danced and danced. Then we meandered down to the Living Room, marveling at all the hidden paths, cool seating, funky people, costumes, lights and all the crazy creative signs that people make and carry. As I danced, I felt my soul loosen up from some sort of shackle and start to free itself from the restraints of normalcy. I let myself GO. What a release. To just be and dance and look around at all these amazing wonderful human beings releasing and dancing and feeling joy.

I sadly had to call it early, as my first 12 hour medical shift was at 8 am the next morning. I worked with a fantastic crew, we laughed and danced and helped people all day long. What a sweet balm to my heart to help with zero judgment for anyone seeking help. Instead, it was all about this mythical “Shambha-love”. Oh hell, call me a bit kooky, but it was real. Tangible and so pure.

After my shift, I donned my tutu and fishnets and corset, I grabbed my water bottle and danced my ass off until the dawn. I met and danced with so many amazing and open-hearted people. I can’t tell you how many hugs I received and gave. I was in constant wonder and bliss and awe. I never once felt in danger, it was never a yucky over-sexualized ass-grab that can occur when alcohol is consumed. Honestly, it was all about our innate Human-ness. Our deep desire to be connected with one another on a level that is beyond our every day life. There were moments that I felt so deeply connnected, I almost cried. It was the most authentic I have felt in a very long time.

My 12 hour night shift was just as fun and exciting. I saw my team truly caring about others, regardless of what was going on. I experienced a depth of humanity spun between Medical, Harm Reduction, Security and ravers. There was no disrespect, there was no disgust, there was no disdain. There was only a level of compassion and protection and honest empathy. I wonder if we could all just tap into this, just maybe this world would be a better place.

One friend told me a while ago that Shambhala changed his life. And now I know why he said this. This authentic honesty and Humanity I felt, received and gave has nestled into my heart,  pushing out some negative judgment, making more room for simple and honest Human love. A love that can connect with all of us.

I fell in love with Shambhala. And I will most definitely be going back. And I hope to see you there.

 





Comfort zone

11 07 2016

This August I’m stepping out of my sweet cozy little sweatpants-wearing, bed by 9.30 every night, goose-down duvet comfort zone.

I’m packing up my tent, my crazy eyeliner, that funky outfit I bought at a second-hand store, my nerves and my 45-year-old-ass and I am going to Shambhala for the the very first time ever.

ALL BY MYSELF.

I submitted my resume as an MOA to volunteer at the festival, not knowing if they’d be interested in having me on board with Medical.

Lo and behold, I was placed on “Team 3” and I am working two 12-hour shifts at Shambles.

I’m gonna tell you something. I am scared SHITLESS.

I’ll be on my own, even though I know two of the docs I’m working with, as well as one of the EMTs and several other amazing folk who work with harm reduction and medical. I’ll be driving there, not knowing a single thing about anything. I’m greener than green, a Shambles Virgin, a middle-aged gal ticking off shit from her bucket list. Jesus, I am stressed. I do NOT know what to expect. I hear stories, I have had many many people tell me all manners of tales about Shambhala.

Even my husband was skeptical. “You’re really going to that dust pit? With all the ravers?”

Yes. I guess I am.

I’m excited. I’m scared. I’m thrilled. I’m reluctant.

I’ve wavered a million times, telling my fretful self at 2 am that I am TOTALLY emailing HR in the morning and telling them that I can’t commit. And yet morning comes and I am once again more excited than nervous. And I avoid sending that email.

So here we are, the countdown is on. I’m starting to plan on what to pack. I’m hearing tales of Shambalove. I’m told time and time again that I’m going to LOVE it. That I am suited to that place: the energy, the dancing, the love, the vibe.

I’m looking forward to seeing it firsthand without judgement. So many people hate this festival for the “bad apples” it brings to our area. I admit I was one of those. The week before and after is kind of a gong-show in town, with displaced people intent on a party without a whole lot of money in their pocket. But every festival has it’s own issues, and I am pretty sure that the discourse many locals detest is probably not indicative of the majority who attend.

So here I am, ready to go. My nerves are jumbled, my dreams are riddled. But I am ready.

I am ready.