A Poem

If I had you by my side
What would I do?
You would see me
I would see you

A thread as old as time itself
Connects us at the heart
There is no end
There is no start

Time, it passes
And yet stands still
One moment or a lifetime
I never get my fill

Your thoughts at times call out to me
They stir me to my soul
A dream, a whisper, a chance
The fleeting glance we stole

He’s a Viking

My mentor, Kelly Notaras, (ok, she’s not my mentor, but I’m just going to pretend because it sounds fancier and because I took her writing class and bought her book and she’s fabulous), says it’s not a writing practice if you’re not writing. So, for today, because it’s been a good, long, full day, I’m just going to write about something light. Just for fun. Just for practice.

I’m going to do this post, and likely a series of other posts, as stream of consciousness style so that I can just let the thoughts flow and practice writing.

My husband swears he was a Viking in another life. Well, actually, sometimes he also says he’s a viking in this life. He is not Vikingly in stature. In fact he is short, dark and handsome. But still, he likes to tell new people that we’ve only just met that he’s half Mexican and half Scandinavian. He loves to joke like this and I always make it obvious that he’s joking because I can’t help but laugh. Though I have to wonder now if this is a relief for people who feel like they can’t exclaim, “Really?!” in great surprise, out of politeness and yet that is exactly what they would love to do.

It’s ok because I’m pretty sure I was Jamaican in some other lifetime, at least that’s the way I would have it. I would be jammin’ with Bob Marley, or at least with my friends at his concerts while we sit on the beach banging tambourines or smoking pot. I definitely lived somewhere hot and in the sunshine, none of this cold winter weather!

How many lifetimes have I lived? How many more will I live? Is there ever a home-coming time when I finally get to just enjoy my graduation?

Exactly What I Wanted

There are times when I feel like I’m failing, or not “good enough”. But lately, I have really come to the realization that I am doing exactly what I wanted to do.

Sometimes I would get frustrated with myself and think “If I’m so determined, diligent and hardworking, why don’t I have more clients or why am I not making more money?” for example. Or, not so much now, (not since I had my West Nile experience), I used to think, “I wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember and now that I am, I feel like I’m not good at it or I feel guilty for not enjoying it more?” More than what? What was I comparing it to?

When I was making money in a career, I was wishing to be a full-time mom. When I became a full-time mom and caretaker of my home, I felt guilty for not being more career focused and bringing in more money. What was going on here? The common denominator was my mindset and thinking I needed to be something more.

A dear friend of mine from my middle school years helped me realize a couple years ago that I am already doing exactly what I set out to do since I was young. He said “Look at everything you’ve done, you went to school, you got your education, you’ve had your career, your raising a beautiful family as an awesome wife and mother. You are exactly the way I knew you would be since we were kids!” I had to take a step back and realize he was right.

The thing is, I was so focused on the family I had lost (when my parents split up and my world came crashing down), and how I had always “messed everything up” and “gotten it all wrong”. I was just thinking about how I always had to be better and do better, I was so focused on fixing that I hadn’t even stopped to realize that I, along with my husband and God’s guidance, I had built the very thing I set out to––a family; a strong, beautiful family.

Then, yesterday, my husband took the day off work so we could take some time to celebrate my birthday together. We didn’t do anything extraordinarily special, we went grocery shopping together (something we used to do when we first married but hadn’t done in years just for practicality), and we had a long lunch together. I was telling him that I used to feel guilty for not “working harder” at something that brings in money, but that I have now realized that we have the life we have because I have deliberately created margin in our lives for peace. He has the ability to focus on his career and how it can bless us because he does not need to worry about what’s going on at home or the well-being of his children and the state of our family because I have the time and space to do that. And we were able to take this day off to do simple things with no pressure, just peace, because we have been deliberate about creating it in our lives.

And then, I remembered what I had in my heart, close to 5 years ago after our youngest was born––I was on the cusp of a career change because destiny was calling me. I told myself that I was going to spend the next 5 years learning everything I could about natural healing, and seeing whatever clients I had space for, while raising the kids so that when they were all in school full time, I’d be ready to step into this new career as a natural healer. And I realized I’m doing it.

Those moments when I feel like I’m not doing enough or not getting it right come when I compare myself to other people’s journeys. I remembered that promise in my heart and it looks and feels like success to me because I realized I am doing exactly what I said I was going to do, and I’m doing it well.

What I Like About Jesus

I feel like a lot of people misunderstand Jesus and why he came here (to Earth). The Bible has been kind of ruined by stuffy, religious people who get too focused on rules and lose sight of a relationship with God.

Jesus was a radical and, I have to believe, the most confident guy to ever walk the planet. He did not waste time trying to prove himself to anybody, ever. I think of the story of when He was talking to the woman at the well. If you don’t understand the customs of the day this may not seem like a big deal but this woman was a woman with a reputation and she was not allowed to access the well in the cooler morning hours with the women of good reputation; she was also a Samaritan. So, a triple whammy, a woman, a woman with a reputation, and a Samaritan––Jews and Samaritans did not associate, a man typically did not spend time talking to a woman that was not his wife, especially one that had a reputation as an adultress. And yet, when His disciples arrive and ask Him why he’s talking to this woman the Bible makes no reference to Him offering even one explanation as to why He was talking to her. Nothing about what is right or wrong, good or bad about it, the story basically leads to the woman finding salvation and telling everybody she knows about Jesus and His greatness.

This is what I love about Jesus, he is just so BadAss! He does not explain His motives. He does not answer out of compulsion or a need to show others why He is right. He doesn’t break the rules but rather shows us that there is more to life than just following rules. Like when the Pharisees accuse His disciples of “working” on the Sabbath because they are picking grains of wheat to eat when they are very hungry––He shows us that the Sabbath was made for us, not that we were made to follow the Sabbath. Yes, we are to rest but not out of a compulsion to follow the rules. Rather, the Sabbath was made for us to rest and to take time to feed our spirits with time and attention. Jesus shows us that the rules are meant to care for us, not to control us; they are meant to give us our best life. The woman at the well would not have experienced a changed life for the better if Jesus had stuck to following the rules and customs of the day by not associating with a Samaritan woman. The rules are meant for people, not the other way around.

The “rules” carve out a straight and easy path for us to follow be we are meant to be led down that path by The Spirit of our Creator. The rules are meant to make our way smooth so that we can focus on what really matters: our connection to Source that allows us to be in touch with Self, others and our environment. Mmm, my heart feels at peace just thinking about that.

Church 3.0

Today we got to go inside our church during the worship service again. We arrived in our car as we had been for the last 10 months, approximately, but this time when we got there we told the kids we were going inside the building. Wow! The look of joy and excitement on their faces will be in my memory forever.

Going inside a church building may seem like a simple thing, but not when your faith is under attack under the guise of public health. There is a pastor in Alberta, Canada who is in jail right now just for holding church services.

I mean, I just never thought I’d see the day that Canada, the true North strong and FREE, would be jailing pastors simply for practicing their faith. I know the early church faced this persecution, I’ve heard of it in muslim countries or Communist China, but in Canada? I know it’s happening, and the Bible warns of such issues but it’s still amazing to see it happening right in front of me… and so many people are still asleep.

Nevertheless, I have faith that light always wins out over darkness and today was a shining victory when we walked through the doors of our church again for the first time in months.

I have also started volunteering in the cafe once a week at our church, it’s been about 5 weeks now. It’s fun learning how to brew all the Starbucks beverages, but more importantly it has me inside the doors of my church helping out, even if only in a small way.

I have to celebrate these small victories because they actually feel really big. When you have months of those in positions of authority making highly detrimental decisions that affect the health and well-being of all citizens with seemingly no end in sight every little step forward feels like a victory.

A couple months back I made a point of imagining myself inside the church singing praises and worship to God with other believers; today was a step closer to that––we were in the overflow area because of capacity restrictions. But, I will keep focusing on that glorious day when we all get to sing together again. I will not stop focusing on the goodness of God and everything He has done for me.

No matter what, I will keep praising my God because I know that in all things He is working for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

My Story Starts with Shame

Shame was my oldest companion. For as long as I can remember, every moment, every memory was laced with shame. Even now, Shame tries to tag along with me, but I’m really not inclined to invite her anymore. I’ve had enough of her company.

Looking back, I can see how all this shame came about, you know what they say, hindsight is 20/20. But growing up under it, in the moment, feels inescapable. And, it makes writing this part of the story difficult because I don’t want to accuse or blame anyone, namely my parents; I believe they did the best they could with what they had at the time. But sometimes…. sometimes I wish they’d done better. And yet, I am who I am today because of my path and the experiences that helped shape me along the way.

Looking at my dad through a conventional lense, I think it’d be pretty safe to say that there were probably some mental health issues that ran in the family. Perhaps some personal or familial traumas that were never processed or talked about. He would often accuse me and my sister of things that just made no sense to our young minds. I remember one time when my sister was about 3 or 4, (I would have been about 5) she drew a caterpillar and his initial reaction was that it “looked like something else” like we had any idea what that looked like at that point. Another time my sister and I were playing hide-n-seek in the house. I thought she’d gone to hide in the bathroom so I swung the door open shouting “aha!” only to have my dad there instead accusing me of “trying to see” him. When we’d be sitting with him on his lap or on the couch near him and tried to adjust our seating we were often accused of trying to “accidentally touch him”. None of these thoughts naturally occured to me, it would literally have been the last thing on my mind had I not been constantly reminded of it. While I had no interest or even knowledge of what he was talking about, I knew it made me feel like I was a horrible disgusting person who was inherently corrupt.

When I was old enough to be in school, my dad would often be asking me which boy I liked, or who I had a crush on, while also simultaneously giving me the message that girls should not chase boys or try to see or touch them. I remember one time, I was probably about 7-8 years old, I was happily playing at home and he stopped me to ask about who was my “latest crush”. I was the kind of girl who would “beat up” the boys, or out run them at tag, etc; I was not interested in having crushes on them. “Come on,” he cajoled me, trying to make it a fun game––there’s a good chance he was genuinely trying to connect with me on my level, but my initial claims of not having a single crush or boy interest were not enough for him to let me get back to whatever fun I had been having moments earlier. “Fine, I guess D,” (for privacy sake I’m just going to use his initial because this kid plays a bigger role next year, when I’m 8-9); I just wanted to go play, I gave him a name so I could get out of this game.

To this day, I still hate it when people superimpose their motives and reasons on me. It really irritates me when people, who don’t take the time to actually know or listen to me, act like they know me. As a kid I couldn’t articulate all this I just knew it felt very inauthentic. But, as I was just a kid who didn’t know anything, I must have been wrong and he, who had lived 30 years more than I, had to be right. What did I know? I learned young that I couldn’t trust my knowing, and this affected me for most of my life.

These things are also difficult to write, because I don’t want to make anyone hate my dad; I don’t hate him. His tactics, his ways, his constant guilt trips made my life very difficult, yes; they filled me with shame and taught me to hate and distrust myself for much of my life. I was angry a lot of the time, hard not to be when you believe you are inherently bad and icky. But now that I’ve worked through a lot of my trauma I can see all that for what it is––his own stuff he hadn’t yet worked through, projected onto me, coupled with my soul’s lesson for what it came here to learn. And I can do this.

What Story?

For the longest time, I didn’t think I had a story. No major traumas, no near death experiences, no escaping from a cult or whatever else makes an “amazing” story. I thought I was too ordinary to have a story that anyone would want to know about. Ordinary compared to what?

That was the problem, I was comparing myself and my story to others. Trauma is relative, and because I had grown up under a veil of shame I don’t even think I realized I had traumas for the longest time. Living with that much shame is a trauma in itself I think, but I’ll get into that in another post.

Another aspect of my hesitancy is that I don’t want to be a victim. I don’t want to be seen or labeled as a victim by anyone else because I don’t feel like one, at least not anymore. Sometimes, when I think about telling my story, I imagine other moms reading it thinking “oh that poor girl, if only…” focusing on how tragically pathetic I was and how I needed to be saved. I don’t want anyone’s pity. I just want to be seen. I want others to be able to read my story and realize that the kid, teenage girl, or the young woman, they are secretly or not so secretly judging––assuming she knows she’s wasting her potential, or assuming she’s making stupid choices on purpose––is maybe just floundering around in life, feeling invisible and in need of some love and guidance. She doesn’t need your pity, she needs your authenticity.

I just believed that all the stuff that happened to me or the things I experienced in my life were a result of my own clueless naivete and that if I hadn’t been so stupid none of it would have happened. And maybe that’s true, but it doesn’t disqualify me from having a story and needing to tell it. After all, I’ve learned from it, maybe someone else can too.

Becoming a Writer

It has become quite apparent to me within the past 6 that I need to write and share my story.

So, I took a brief, but very useful and encouraging, writing course online with Reid Tracy and Kelly Notaras. Then, I bought Kelly Notaras book, The Book You Were Born to Write. She says in order to be a writer all you really need to do is write; you need a writing practice. In the book, she acknowledges her hope that the reader would write something after each section.

The truth is, I had made my 100 Days commitment even before I’d take the writing course or started reading her book. And, I’ve already written probably two posts about how I’ve been slacking off on this commitment. It’s probably not realistic to write everyday when you have small children around-–that was probably the most common excuse I was telling myself. And although it’s valid, it’s still an excuse. Then I was procrastinating my writing because the things I have to say are not always the easiest to write about––but who cares? No one is reading this blog right now, no one but me! “Stop making excuses!” I tell myself.

But then I remind myself about the physics of progress; and knowing the way I am, I need to establish a writing habit first and then get into the nitty gritty stuff, while allowing space for the nitty gritty to flow naturally whenever that is the case.

So, here I go, practising: Today I read about the difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing and what’s involved in each avenue. Regardless of which avenue I pursue, it’s evident to me that I need to begin, or rather resume, building my audience. Though, with self-publishing this is less of a deterrent as I can start and publish without having a large audience; traditional publishers, because of the way the business works now, they basically won’t even look in your direction if you don’t bring a large audience to the table.

Given that I feel pretty shy about telling my story, I would probably prefer writing it without a huge audience at first, I really like to process my own thoughts before sharing them. Either way, it’s a beast. Writing a book, is a big undertaking. It’s also a path of self-discovery and that is what I’m most looking forward to. That, and all the people I will meet and get to know along the way!

The Resistance

I’m noticing a lot of resistance to doing these blog posts. Not just the blog posts, but an online group series that I’ve been working on, in my head, for a couple months now. I mean, resistance from myself. I find a lot of excuses. They are good excuses, like stuff that actually needs to get done, but it leads me away all too easily. It doesn’t just lead me away, it’s a comfort. It’s stuff I can do that doesn’t have me putting myself out there and being vulnerable.

Why can’t I get all this stuff I want to say out onto the page? What is holding me back? I am simultaneously afraid that I will be amazing and also a major flop; that no one will want to hear what I have to say and that I won’t be able to keep up with being “a success”, whatever that means. It’s a perfect way to do nothing!

I asked a friend/colleague today if she was afraid when she first started teaching. She is so natural, and when I participate in her classes and calls, you would never know that she’s nervous and everything flows. She said she’s always scared but that she chooses to expand her life anyway. It was brief but it was exactly what I needed to hear.

I believe it was Mandela who said that “Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it”. It’s ok to be scared but do the thing anyway. I know this is what I need. I may have to tell myself this a few times before it really sinks in, but making the decision to do it scared is an important part of the process. I am working on my process. I have made the decision and I’m on my way to unstoppable.

Are there things you would love to be doing? Things that you know would expand your life? What’s stopping you? Would you like to know what the unstoppable you looks and feels like? Ask me how.