The little things.

9 10 2017

I’ve been immersed in gratitude this weekend. Like most people I know, we have more than enough to be thankful for. And this weekend is ripe for expressing it, showing our deep thanks and recognizing the blessed lives we lead. For many, we were surrounded by family and friends and copious amounts of food. As the autumn sunlight streamed through windows, lighting up the tables set to celebrate our abundance, it made me think about the little things, the not-so-easy things to be thankful for.

I am thankful for this gentle appreciation I have for my aging. While I joke about the crinkles and eyebags and my deep fear of a neck wattle with my dearest of friends, fantasizing about Botox and mini-lifts, I truly wouldn’t have it any other way. While my skin folds in on itself, and the age that I am  is reflected in the face I present to the world, I find myself discovering a beauty I wouldn’t have dreamed of admiring a mere ten years ago. I breathe my age in and exhale my thanks out. For this only means that I am still fortunate enough to be here, to live and find joy and have arguments and walk my dog along a forest path.

I give thanks for my restless mind, who prowls about at 2 am. Who fosters self-doubt and worry and strife, but who also reigns in senseless fretting and whispers gentle realities to myself. Don’t worry so much I tell myself and I agree. I listen and it says: You are loved. You are loved.

I am deeply grateful for my decades of dealing with depression and chronic pain and the dark dance I shared with thoughts of suicide so many times. It was indeed as scary as it sounds but in a lovely way, it afforded me more self-knowledge that I could have ever imagined. My cognizance of my frailty has made me stronger. And letting go of my fear of talking about it has gifted me the strength of being there for others. Raw honesty is as healing as honey drizzled in a cup of tea. One sip and you feel it cascading into your body, spreading it’s warmth and love to every cell.

I am indebted to experiencing hate and jealousy. In allowing myself to mirror the beauty of love and kindness through contempt and resentment, I think that I’ve only become more appreciative of my own bounty. And learning how these two distasteful emotions can be used to guide me towards a better understanding and a deeper compassion is seeing that light turned onto me. How bitter I was and relieved my soul was when I found I could let it go. My life certainly isn’t perfect. And by no means will I be able to stop coveting entirely. But learning to step back and trying to see the foolishness of my insecurities is akin to peeling off layers of wet and uncomfortable clothing. Discarded on the floor, I stand bare and tender, more willing to let the negative dissipate.

I am thankful for so much. Today, though, my gratitude is for the little life lessons we are gifted every day, these hidden jewels around us, offering us ways to better our own true selves and walk a sweeter path.

Many blessings to you all, this Thanksgiving weekend.

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A little ebb and a little flow

26 08 2017

It’s looking pretty fatigued out there these days. Limp and exhausted, branches support the faded echoes of spring bravado. Brilliant greens are no more than a memory of the beginning of summertime; every leaf drained of its glory, a muted effort to stay for just a bit longer. Sunlight casts a different angle through my windows, lighting up the dust motes dancing and much to my chagrin, lighting up every single dog hair on my wood floors.

There is just under a month of summer left, but it’s the somewhat melancholic summer days that eke out a sadness in my heart. A panicky flutter of my soul, eager to wring out every last delicious drop of it. Did I swim enough? Did I sit on my deck and watch the stars come out enough? Will I have feasted on summertime enough to tide me through the dark days, the cold nights that are on their way?

The answer of course is yes. I have closed my eyes while floating in the Bay, breathing in that intoxicating summer smell. I have savoured bites of huckleberry crisp, berries that we picked early in the morning, my eyes almost tearing up at the tart and sweet of it all. I’ve marveled at the gift of walking my dog at dusk in nothing but shorts and a tank top, that warm air kissing our skin. Sundays over at Sunshine Bay with friends, that hot sun searing on our shoulders, and the only way to cool down is a plunge in the lake.

I’d gladly have more summertime. I love that heat, the early sunny mornings. Those late nights, hearing music echo from a beach party across the lake. Bike rides and peonies, lawn mowers and hummingbirds. I feel more me in the summer, I can’t explain it better than that.

But our seasons, they are part of us. We morph into each one, some reluctantly, others with excitement. There is magic in every seasonal change. There is joy found with crisp fall days and leaves crunching under our feet. Hot tea instead of iced coffee in the afternoons, sweaters and boots find their way from the darkness of our closets. Soups and bread nourish us. That brilliant blue of a fall sky demands our admiration and yes, we admit its beauty. Boisterous oranges and reds and yellows are painted on our landscapes, and yes, it is no more than simply breathtaking.

We ebb and flow, like tides. It’s not without a measure of dispirited energy for some. For others though, Autumn is their favourite season and they’ve trudged through the summer heat with the sweet knowledge that it is on its way.

These last few weeks of summer that are laid out before us demand us to enjoy. Have one more BBQ, a couple more days on the boat. Swim a few more times. Marvel at your tan lines. As we meander through these last of the summer days, we give in to it, we acquiesce to Nature.

And we find joy and beauty in it all.

 





Choice

15 08 2017

I had a really good weekend. I was able to immerse myself in an sparkly, altered reality where dancing all night long and wearing tutus and nipple pasties are the norm. Where random people hug one another with a hearty “Happy Shams” said to each other with the biggest smiles on their faces.

Where lasers and lights and bass and beats marry in bliss, where walking by a little geo-dome offers rides to outer space. Where wishes are hung from trees, coffee is drank at 3 AM and walking isn’t walking. No, no. You become the beat, you dance to each place you want to go to. Where that drop of the music gets EVERYONE hyped.

Where the “wave” goes around via everyone yelling WOOOOOOO at the top of their lungs. You can hear it coming, swirling through the masses and finally it’s your turn to lend your voice to the joy and celebration that is Shambhala.

I unplugged. I turned off notifications and didn’t enter the Social Media world for days.

That was all sorts of refreshing.

When I resurfaced on Sunday, my lovey Shamb vibe deflated a little, learning of what happened in Virginia. My heart sunk when I heard and read comments of people DEFENDING the supremacists. You-Know-Who made a complete ass of himself, which is not surprising, but still so goddamn depressing. I cannot even imagine what my friends and family feel who actually live there.

I just can’t, you guys. I can’t engage with the emotions that this creates.

There’s just so much hate reinventing itself. And not just down in the States. It’s here, in Europe, all over the world.

If I really start to think about it, it becomes so overwhelming that I want to crawl into bed and bury myself in the covers and never ever leave.

But this world is ours. And all I can think of is how to go about my day without becoming too disheartened that it eats away at our very hearts and souls.

It becomes a choice.

And I choose kindness. (That is not without saying I won’t speak my mind if I am faced with hateful rhetoric. Oh, anyone who knows me knows my mouth and my No-Filter setting.)

But I choose kindness. To go through my day, as much as I possibly can, to lend a smile to someone, to offer supportive words, to bring love and sweetness in any little way possible. If we all do this, planting tiny seeds of love, a few of them are bound to take root and grow and blossom.

And the more love that is planted and grows, the more likely the noxious weeds will get choked out. They will wither and die, trying to eek out strength. Their mindless nattering will fade into silence. They will become nothing, because they are nothing.

And the love will grow, nurtured with kindness.

Blessings and love to you, to our world. Let’s fill it with love, let’s pile on the kindness.

Namaste.





Take your time

5 05 2017

I awoke this morning to that soft sound of distant rolling thunder. That first spring storm. The rains that followed danced on the newly unfurled leaves and every bird seemed to take it as an invite to be especially raucous.

I took the opportunity to run after the rain stopped. Jed, excited as usual to be beside me, and I ran along the upper road. Breathing with exertion, taking in breath, not like sips but huge deep soul-quenching swigs of it. There’s something almost… nutritious about the freshness of spring air.

There’s a thicket of cottonwoods along that stretch. And the rains had enhanced that sticky sweet scent so that it enveloped me. And there I stopped. I came to a halt, under the cottonwoods, the damp leaves exuding that heady fragrance. Petrichor. It was like I couldn’t breathe deep enough. I can only hope to saturate my very skin with that smell. It’s the marker of spring for me. That perfume that cloaks our neck of the woods for a few weeks in May. I dream of it sometimes, in the dead of winter.

My heart rate slowed, I closed my eyes and took it in. I’m sure folks might wonder what I was doing, but I couldn’t help myself.

It’s like that old saying… “Take time to stop and smell the roses”…. For me, it’s cottonwoods. But it doesn’t matter, really.

Just take time to stop to smell/touch/see/love/dance/sing/laugh.

Just stop. And take your time.





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.





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.