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.

 





Privilege

24 05 2016

A simple standard “Hey, how are you doing?” I asked, when I saw her at the grocery store. I hadn’t seen her in months, maybe over a year?

A perfunctory greeting, a standard blah blah blah. We’re good at those, here in Canada. We ask, but do we really need or want to know the answer? The honest real answer?

She smiled but it just didn’t reach her eyes. Her body and face looked so lost and sad. I stopped myself from pushing my cart onwards and stretched out my arms to her and her eyes filled with tears.

We hugged, there near the dairy aisle, we hugged each other so hard. I felt her break, her shoulders collapse and the tears fall. She cried on my shoulder, there among moms pulling wayward toddlers and employees stocking the butter and cheese.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I’m just so tired of telling people that I’m okay when I’m not.”

That hug felt cathartic, it felt like a gift, it felt sweet and loving and so so right.

I kissed her cheek as we drew away from one another, and gently wiped the tear from her cheek. “Never say sorry, don’t be sorry,” I said, “thank you for the privilege of letting me be here for you.”

I can never say I took her pain away that moment, her grief from her loss is too huge and deep. But the sweetness of caring and honest empathy is such a dear heartfelt thing to carry. It’s far too easy to brush away the needs of another in our busy lives. That moment, though, I will treasure forever, because her and I both paused, if only for two to three minutes. We paused, to give and to receive kindness and love and support. In her sadness of her loss she is carrying forever and me, with my coincidence (or fate?) of being there, how we came to share this one quiet moment.

This is what it is to be human.

So thank you for allowing me the privilege of being there for you, if only for a brief moment in time.





One Year Ago.

5 05 2016

I stood in the kitchen that day, numb and empty. My hands moved, wiping counters, prepping food, washing dishes. The silence of the house was marred only by the ticking of the clock and my son’s breathing as he sat, iPod buds in ears, listening to his music.

Was it only a few hours before that our sweet Tutter lived and breathed? I had shed no real cathartic tears when his life left his body, as his head drooped heavy into my hands and his eyes closed. I gently held him, knowing his body was all that was left.

I was so proud of my kids that day, how they fiercely and defiantly wanted to be there, to be present for their sweet dog’s last moments. So that Tutter would know he was not alone, that he was loved and adored beyond measure. My motherly instinct to protect them from hurt was honestly understandable. But…. Oh how proud I was….That my kids, regardless of how heart-breakingly devastating it would be, knew that they both needed to be there.

We had all returned home after, and buried our family pet. And we all went our somber, separate ways for a while, to assess and try to begin to mourn.

I stood, looking about my sparkling kitchen and felt the dam break. I cried and cried. Nick stood in front of me, simply there, all that I needed at that moment while I wailed and sobbed.

I remember saying “I didn’t know it would be this hard.” And Nick nodded and came to me, arms outstretched to offer me love and comfort.

None of us knew how hard it would be.

For days, weeks and months, we healed slowly. We heard Tutter from time to time, pawing at the door, walking down the hallway, or scratching himself. I smelled him too and one time, while sitting by his grave that is tucked up under our birds-nest bush by the fish pond, I swear I felt him lean against my thigh.

Ghost Tutter was there and we celebrated that. As the hurt lessened, we began to feel lighthearted about the idea that his kind spirit lingered in our home.

Tutter, you were a good goddamn dog. You were one of the best. Not a single day goes by that we don’t think of you, mention you or just have you in our hearts. Thank you for giving us unconditional love, idiotic goofiness, tender protection and the sweetness of your devotion.

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Tutter The Mutter 2003-2015

6 05 2015

The first thing he did when Dan brought him home almost 12 years ago was to rush into the back yard, jump up onto the picnic table, eat all the hot dogs, jump down, cover Nick with kisses, crap everywhere, jump up onto Elisabeth and knock her down, leaving her crying and scratched up, all in a whirlwind of puppy enthusiasm. Only later did we discover the mess he had “expelled” in the back seat of the truck.

Our four year old son hugged his daddy and said “Thank you” with such heartfelt sweetness, we knew we had made the right decision. And then Nick pronounced his name to be Tutter. (Borrowed from a character in a kid’s show called Bear in the Big Blue House. Tutter was the mouse.)

He was instantly part of the family. At no point did we hesitate bringing him places. He adored quad rides, sitting on the back seat with a smirk of pure glee as the wind rushed past his face. He loved the beach, discovering the wonders of fishing for minnows. He was the most pleasant beach dog, never laying on anyone’s towel or mooching potato chips…. Nope, Tutter would fish all day long, and then wander off to lay in the shade for a snooze.

He was great at catching mice and shrews, somewhat confused and disappointed when his new squeaky toy would stop squeaking. He’d bury his face in the snowdrifts to sniff, leaving his rear end sticking up in the air. He’d put up with the kids dressing him up in all sorts of humiliating garb. Always eager, always willing, always with his giant goofy grin.

He was a real asshole at times. Our fence couldn’t contain his eagerness for adventure: he would launch himself over the top with SuperDog ease in the eternal quest for excitement. We used to fantasize about a TutterCam strapped to his head so we could see what he did when we were gone. These escapades usually involved his best doggy friend Sage, who lived down below. I’d often get a phone call from Kristin, so I could yell into the phone to GO HOME TUTTER as she held her phone up to his stubborn ear. He dug a bazillion holes in the back yard and I’d curse his name…. He’d chew through leashes, chew his bedding, chew on picnic table legs, he’d take off, he’d jump on people, he drove me batshit insane…. But then, after about two years, he calmed down. He mellowed. He started to listen. And although I loved him before, I loved him even more as he was becoming in every truest sense, The Best Dog Ever.

He hiked with us, he camped with us, he went out countless walkies with us. He took us on a myriad of adventures, including the great duck debacle. He scared us with a possible nasal tumour five years ago and beat the odds, which we are ever so grateful for. (Impressing us too, with learning how to sneeze on command to clear his nose… ) His exuberant joy at seeing us after a long day lifted my heart every single time. No matter how crummy my day was, his love for me cheered me up.

He liked to cuddle up next to me if I was laying on the floor…. Yeah, my dog and I spooned a lot. He’d place his paw on my hand. He’d lay his face next to mine and sigh contentedly. He adored his kids, wanting to be by their side to play and protect. And for Dan, he was truly Man’s Best Friend. Trips to the farm to fix fences or cut firewood or early morning stints in the boat to catch Kokanee were their manly bonding times. He’d gaze up to Dan’s face, with a huge smile, his adoration shining in his sweet brown eyes.

If one of us took out the back massager, Tutter would run over and push you out of the way to claim his rights to being massaged first.

I can never express how much I love my dog and to those who aren’t “dog people” or “pet people”, I’ll let you in on a little secret….It is so absolutely and deeply fulfilling to have a relationship with a soul who is so completely devoted to you that they would lay down their life for you. The rewards are endless. In return, we gave Tutter the best life a dog could ever ask for.

His cancer grew quickly.Through diet and medication we were able to have a couple precious months with him since the diagnosis. But as he lay on the floor a couple days ago and moaned intermittently, we all took a deep soulful breath together as a family and chose to let him go in dignity and to release him from his pain. Our vet concurred and we spent one last lovely morning together with him. We showered him with love, reminding him again and again that he was the best damn dog ever.

Today, we gathered around, holding him with boundless love as he left his body to run free. Our family unit embraced this death with such bittersweet acceptance. The sadness is deep and undefinable. There is an emptiness in our home now as we all begin to carry forward into the next days, weeks and months, to grieve and remember our Tutter The Mutter.

I love you Tuts. I love you so much. Rest easy, big guy.

 

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Acceptance

7 12 2014

Well, it was almost a year ago that I chose my New Year’s word. Rather than go through the silliness of a resolution which literately ends up being thrown to the wayside, I took a friend’s advice and chose my Word for the year.

As soon as I saw her facebook post about choosing a word, Acceptance popped into my brain out of nowhere. I pondered it for days, wondering if any others would rear their literary and karmic head, guiding me onto a more compassionate level of human understanding. But no, Acceptance was the only one that clanged and resonated for me. At the time I thought it would be accepting others…. Acceptance of my boss’s moods, that cranky cashier, the kid who teases my daughter. Or that I was feeling left out of some of my friends’ lives, with me working almost full time and not being in their immediate circle. Or any of the other external sources of worry and fret.

No. I wasn’t prepared for the truest meaning of Acceptance; to be drawn inward like a long slow inhale. As I ventured through this year, I was met with several hurdles to cross. Mostly physical within my own body and mind. I realized as I navigated pain and a desperate feeling of being let down by my own body that I was to accept what was. It never meant that it was the way it was to be forever, and even now as I mumble my way through chronic pain and this ongoing irritation of what SHOULD be rather than what IS, I humbly realize that I must accept.

Accept it, rest and acknowledge. Accept and allow. Accept and move forward. Accept and respect. Accept and honour.

It has been a year that I met with several instances of physical issues, mostly my lower back and stomach. Throw in chronic migraines and other odd and sometimes alarming symptoms are usually met with me panicking and imagining the absolute worst. But there was that word… It just kept popping up for me, time and time again.

I accept that I will never deadlift.

I accept that my body is starting its aging process in a way that threw me for a loop.

I accept I need to nurture my self and give in to rest.

I accept I have a hard time listening to advice.

I accept that I will always have pain.

I accept that I can and will continue on with my healing.

I accept that I am still strong, just in a different way. I will never have the washboard stomach of a 20 year old, and I accept that maybe, I just don’t really need to.

I am now starting to wonder what word will blast and burrow into my mind for this upcoming year. I am anticipating it with a child’s wonder. What will my innermost self tell me what I need to know? And how will that guide me?

 

 





Fewer and farther between

18 10 2014

I glanced over from the kitchen today and my heart stopped for just a moment.

There it was.

For one split second, a single heartbeat, with the autumn light cast upon my daughter’s face, there echoed her smile from years ago. I saw her three-year-old smile. I saw, only for a moment, the remnants of her child’s face. In a blink of an eye, it vanished, and there she was smiling at something, her almost grown up 13 year old face, as lovely as ever, glowing and beautiful.

I froze, my heart caught, my throat squeezed, tears rose up. I recalled that fuzzy bunny of mine, her white-blonde hair and stubborn personality, her fervent love of me, her kindness and sprays of giggles that she offered up every chance she got. Her joy when she was excited relayed through a delightfully excited way of walking, kicking each step as her feet couldn’t seem to contain her spirit. My heart ached with a depth I cannot convey.

Oh my lost little ones, I do miss you both so much…. yet here now they navigate through adolescence. My son’s voice as deep as his father’s, when once it was as soft and pure and sweet as vanilla ice cream. His face now rises above mine as I speak to him. How did he get so tall? His cheeks, once so full and chubby, they beckoned for kisses and his arms, soft and hairless, wrapping around my neck for hugs. Now his face is thinner, his shoulders broad, his chin sprouting whiskers. I wondered during his toddler years what his man-face will look like and now… now I look at it daily.

It is no slight thing to watch your children grow. Wobbly newborns, smiley buddha-babies, frustratingly curious toddlers: we bear witness to their courage and faults and uniqueness as they discover who they are.

I love the age they are now, I hesitate to even ponder the idea of having babies now. We have freedoms now as a family, freedom to allow us to go zip-lining and skiing and hiking. We can all get into the truck without diaper bags and car seats and sippy cups and barf buckets. We can watch movies together that aren’t of Disney or Pixar or Dreamworks. (I can’t tell you how glad I am that I never have to watch Frozen or Cars IV or whatever is out right now, these mass-produced money-wringing Hollywood ploys). I can now see clearly who they are, though their future is as fogged up for me as it is for them.

But that treasure the Universe handed me today, that tiny immeasurable gift of what once was and what is now has resonated beyond anything I can explain. That glimpse into the past as the present gave way for just one brief touch of time gave me such bitter-sweet joy.