This Is Our Unmasking

In those moments I permitted myself to feel the discomfort of all that has changed around me, all that has changed within me, and to grieve all that will never or cannot ever… be returned to me.

I approached the doors to the funeral home to find a young staff waiting with a thermal scan aimed in my direction. I leaned in slightly and on gaining her nod of approval of my afebrile status, was ushered forward to share my personal info with the woman behind the plexiglass window. This was my first celebration of life during these unusual and confusing times.

And it changed me.

Moving to the left I found myself staring into a space where seating was paired, two side to side with six feet to the next set, on both sides and behind. The stagger of the chairs bewildered me for just a moment, due in part I suppose to my expectation of how this should be. I stood there glancing about the room, not certain what to do in the absence of a grieving family standing to greet those who were there to pay respects to their loved one. I will admit to a pang of panic in not quite knowing what was expected of me in that moment. My husband indicated the familiar face of the Reverend officiating and I found myself steered in her direction with some relief that I could comfortably stand close without fear that I was encroaching on a bubble I didn’t belong to. The presence of another known friend found me taking the seats that sat six feet behind his own. The arrival of the widower permitted me my need to reach out, to return the requested hug and to share my sorrow at the loss of his beautiful spouse. I will admit that I have never been a fan of the family greeting line; to me they force the grieving into a position of accepting touch and comfort in a time when they are most fragile and at risk of shattering. It was a surreal realization for me to suddenly recognize that despite my distaste of the typical practice, I still stood there seeking its tradition.

Taking my seat once again, I glanced about the room finding only eyes to greet me, the masks dutifully drawn to the bridge of the nose, glasses perched and clouded or raised to sit on the head to clear the vision of the breath that steamed it. I felt that I had landed in a different place, a different time with a brand new set of rules of both behavior and engagement. I peered into the eyes of the older lady seated six feet to my right and smiled quickly realizing she wasn’t aware that I had done so at all. I felt sad in that moment that we had missed the opportunity to meet on that smile. Perhaps she had smiled my way also, and I missed it too.

My dear friend the Reverend stood to take her place at the podium, and I fell silent to listen to her words. As she moved through her eulogy, and the children stood to speak, I was quite stunned to find myself reaching up to wipe away tears that have never come easily to me. I am not that person. I am not that crier; I share in painful expressions of loss and pain on a daily basis, making this a highly unusual occurrence. I sniffed deeply back to pull it together and immediately found myself right back to tears dampening the cloth that covered whatever facial expression existed beneath it. I could feel the familiarity of the trembling lips, the attempt to then pull the lip between my teeth, as if that motion could stop the flow of fluid now freely escaping my lower lids. But this time the attempt ended in failure.

And then it hit me.

My mask had afforded me the vulnerability to be honest. Yes, I was pulled into the stirrings of emotions listening to a family share stories about a wife, mom and grandmother whom I respected deeply for her love of life despite her egregious health battles, yet a woman I hadn’t been blessed to know well at all. Her story and her fight to live shared over social media by her loving husband whom I knew well enough to be honored to be asked to share in the celebration of her well lived story.

In the short time that followed, I allowed myself to both partake in the words I was hearing, and in the thoughts of the losses I had encountered myself over the year(s) that just passed. With eyes dampened in tears, and the stain of eyeliner marking the trail, I glanced again around the room and found a comforting reality that I was not at all alone. Without the expressions to guard the tears, the tears were more truthful than I have ever witnessed. I felt each one, and became part of a whole in a way I could have never imagined possible. In those moments I permitted myself to feel the discomfort of all that has changed around me, all that has changed within me, and to grieve all that will never or cannot ever… be returned to me.

During a 45 minute celebration of life, I cried for the year(s) that I lost. The year(s) that we lost. Seated hidden beneath my mask, I bade farewell to the experience of what once felt real and felt a stir of hope that something better will fill the holes that these losses have left behind.

Behind my mask I found my pain, and I gave it permission to leave me. My wish for you is that you find your own, that you allow yourself to let it free to absorb into a piece of fabric that protects the vulnerability beneath. My wish for us all is that on the day that this ends, that we can turn new and beautiful faces to the sunshine.

My hope is that you find yourself immersed in the opportunity to understand and know yourself entirely before these strange times come to an end. My hope is that you find solace enough beneath the mask to give truth to what you grieve.

There is no joy to be found in the heavy loss of precious life during these present times.

But there is joy ahead for those that will understand why we have shared this together.

No one can see your lips trembling. Go ahead and grieve.

With love and light

Tania

The Ghost On The Bridge

Sometimes just a stroll across a bridge can ease the discomforts of the present time. I did that yesterday. I hope you enjoy taking this walk with me today.

The Ghost On The Bridge

I suppose he built the small bridge of a familiarity, perhaps a time long past that he wished to resurrect into the time of now. Whatever the reason, I found myself standing in my Aunts backyard yesterday staring at this delightful structure that the neighbor had placed to share both his yard and her own. It covered no water, simply grass grows beneath it, but for me it brought back the sounds of the bubbling of a small creek from so long ago. I took the hand of the ghost that beckoned me and moved over the familiar arch of the wood plank and landed in a place I once loved. The yard around me suddenly bloomed into floral, to my left the Cape Cod inspired small white home appeared, and all of discomfort of 2020 evaporated into the smile of old Mrs. White as she followed the path to greet me. I call her old because in the time that I knew her being just a child she was 105 and had lived four lifetimes. In truth she was likely no more than 70 yet her deep wrinkles, the testament to hours tending her gardens, created the illusion of someone much older.

My Nanny lived across the road from this fairytale place in a small cottage that smelled of sulphur ,the sink and bath drains a testament to the old well water that created the inevitable rust stains. Instead of doors she had the beaded curtains so popular in the 1970’s, and each time I walked through I would walk slowly allowing each bead to fall off me as if I were entering some magical space. I loved it here. At times we would simply stay close to the cottage for the day, and would wander outdoors. To the space in between her home and the next, a large marsh area that gave birth to what seemed a thousand baby toads. I carried a large pickle jar, lined with grass and collected my new friends. If I overfilled I would laugh as the top toads used those below as springboards on which to propel themselves back to the ground. It was not uncommon to find me filling my pockets when the jar became burdened. I always released these small creatures back to home at the end of my adventure. To the back of the cottage a collection of old vehicles, parked haphazardly with a big yellow bus the focal point in the middle. This bus became the fodder of my imagination as I would climb aboard and sit alone dreaming of where it might one day take me. In my mind I painted it with peace signs and pink flowers. In todays world this heap of old metal would be removed, too dangerous for small children, and part of me wonders what the children of today might miss in not having an old bus to build dreams on.

Then we had days where we were to visit old Mrs. White. As we would walk down the long laneway from the cottage I would get excited as the weathered fencing would appear. There was, as you might imagine, a small gate that pulled outward and to this day I can still hear the creak that opened into wonderland. I would always run first for the broken down bridge that spanned the tiny waterway beneath it. Large trees overhead gave the sense that I had walked into where the fairies lived. Old Mrs. White would be across the way, bent over whatever bloom she was tending, and would always stand up and wipe her hands on her pants as we approached, launching into a conversation about something or other that would light up her wrinkles and remind me of crinkled tin foil. On some Sundays after church she would host her infamous pancake breakfast; the highlight of my church experience. To this day I believe my Nanny only went because it was something to do, or she wanted to catch drift of whatever gossip might be swirling in the small Meadow Lilly community. She was far from the religious type, yet nearly every Sunday she would sit in the pews as old Mrs. Whites son delivered his sermon, while I would color pictures of Jesus in the Sunday School below. But pancake day with Mrs. White was always the day everyone looked forward to. She was the quintessential witch of the time and the mother of the pastor. I wasn’t so much excited over Jesus but to me she was everything I hoped to become one day. The old lady in the white house, with the weathered lean-to buildings that housed her wheelbarrow, her garden tools and a plethora of old jars of odds n sods.

I would often catch on our walk over, the tiny toads and deposit them beneath the bridge. If she ever noticed she never said a word about my filling her yard with the little amphibians.

As I stepped back over the bridge yesterday I stopped and gave a grateful wave to old Mrs. White. For the reminder that when times are more difficult than they once were, that we can find some solace in old and familiar places. The reminder that some bridges should never be burned but left to stand waiting for us to cross back into a fairy tale of old buses, baby toads and the old lady that lives across the way.

In love, in light, in laughter.

Tania

It’s Time To Let Go Now

September is no longer peering into August, but now standing at the open door. The breezes will cool, the rains will wash out what was stuck with humidity, and the days will grow shorter. What must soon die will first delight us with its splendor and then without resistance will fall to the earth to create a vibrant blanket of mosaic influence.

There are some that are struggling with releasing the summer sun, with letting go of the waters edge, of the sunsets and the barbecue. More so this year than any other, I have noted the shrill sound of discontent as the rains start to move in and the temperatures dip into hoodie status. We complain as if we are being further punished after a less than typical summer; as if the usual swing of the seasons should instead stand back until we have received what we feel we deserve.

It’s time to let go. Time to release the notion that we are owed anything more than what the universe is capable of providing.

Take a moment over the coming weeks to walk among the trees before the hues herald the end of this cycle. Don’t wait for the colors before you decide to look closer. Go now. Stop and peer into the branches, note the leaves and how they have dried, have cracked or have broken under the weight of the summer sun. Hold a leaf between your palms and note the bumpy texture where the tree tried to heal the small holes created by the insects that could only live by taking life. See the wonder of how this living thing tried to pull the edges together to be whole once again.

We are not so different as humans in our attempts to soothe what has created our cracks, to want to keep it together. To want to band aid our holes, to airbrush our pain, to stand strong and tall in the face of all adversity. What makes us different is that we add to the weight by holding on to what drained us, what drew from our roots and what took small pieces of our whole. It’s as if we believe we might be stronger than the oaks and that everything that is broken is ours to keep.

Are we smarter than the mighty oak?

Maybe its time we take a lesson from the tree.

The trees have so much wisdom to impart if we would take the time to listen. The trees intuitively understand that in order to nourish the seasons ahead they must release that which no longer serves them. To continue to be an integral part of the eco system, of the universe, of the air that we breathe, the trees must let go of all that they have experienced in the season before. How long would our world survive were the trees to grown thick and gnarled with what harmed them? How much nourishment could possibly be left to nurture the new while the parched drinks so deeply from the well?

What do we lose if the trees stop letting go?

What do you lose if you stop letting go?

So like the wise tree, take time over the coming months to reach down into the roots, to bring sustenance to the experiences that have grown you. To acknowledge each one lovingly with a splash of color that reminds you that each and every tear and fracture has its own role in creating what you are becoming. Paint brilliance to each moment. Bring life to all that you have given of yourself to sustain another, for all the times you curled away from the harshness of the winds.

The timing of nature is perfect. As the tree begins to wane from the weight of giving life, the cool rains appear to release the pigments of the palette. The tree now stands in the splendor of what it has learned for a short time before the winds move in to pull away each broken tendril and drop them to the earth below.

Oh the things we can learn from the tree. From the cycle of natural. To understand that what grew us must go below us to now act as a foundation on which to stand. Forever a part of our system but now giving of nourishment not draining.

Take a stroll once the colors drop. Jump into them, crunch them into the soil. The trees are gifting you the beauty of what they have given of themselves to make way for the new growth to come.

Be like the tree. For a short time stand in the brilliance of what you have given and stand proudly.

Be like the tree. Drop what you no longer need to make space for more life to follow. Crush what parched you and create a new layer of root.

And lay bare for a time to the cooling winds to soothe where it still stings.

The tree of life is every tree. The cycle of life is etched into its trunk not into the fresh shoots that appear in the springtime.

It’s time now to let go. To release the notion that you owe anything for a time.

Be a tree for the season and heal for awhile.

In love, in colors, in light.

Tania

F**ck Off, Namaste & Amen. With Love.

**This blog is intended only to serve as a reminder in these very difficult times. It is intended to be an honest and open expression of the truth and nothing more. I believe we can only get through this together if we understand each other a little better.**

If you are an empath, a counsellor, a social/healthcare worker or anyone involved in the easing of human discomfort you will understand when I say that we are in the most incredibly draining time in our own human history. The sadness is overwhelming, the fear is palpable and the loneliness in reduced social activity is creating need of immense proportions. To all those that engage in the human condition please know that it is OK to hang up your wings and swear when necessary. And drink wine. Whatever you need to get through your own day.

“Are Reverends allowed to say f**ck off?” This question popped up into my inbox this evening from a long time friend, a spiritual colleague and someone for whom I hold much respect. As you may have already surmised she is also an ordained Reverend. She worked long and hard to reach this place where she can be of spiritual service, be an ear when it’s needed and a shoulder to cry on. We are much alike in our respective careers so she understood that she could find confidence in me and that I could easily empathize with her frustrations.

Yes, my friends; Reverends are allowed to say F**ck off. Reverends and all those that walk along the spiritual path are certainly permitted to be human. As often and as loudly as is required to make it through a day.

She didn’t need to come to me for permission to use the expletive but it is a natural thing for those on this path to ask if they could have done better. I do it all the time. I seek out a close friend…we all do this. It is a built in system of self awareness. And it’s flawed.

“I snapped someone’s face off this morning, but they kept at me and at me and well…I just lost it. I feel terrible. I could have handled that better right?”

My friend never agrees with that part and is quick to remind me that I handled it exactly how it needed to be handled in the moment that it occurred. And as a psychologist in these current times she had to step back because her own seams were cracking. Lucky for me she hasn’t yet told me to “f**ck off” but if she does I will forgive her for being human first.

Half of the problem is that for most of us that do this work we keep our own private selves private. We don’t share the fact that outside needs pop up in the middle of a disagreement with a spouse. We don’t make it known that we might be grieving our own losses, through death or through disconnection. We don’t make you privy to the fact that at the exact time you sought us out for help, we were dealing with a family member in crisis and absently staring at our phone while scrambling to figure out what to do with them. If we can think straight we may reply with a quick “Sorry not today” or we may simply not respond at all because our brains have turned to mush in that moment. And then inevitably forty other requests arrive and we forget to respond at all. Either way we choose to respond we will be judged; we all know this and accept that it is at risk of our halo falling five inches.

My dear friend the Reverend took steps toward easing others through their pain because she carried the pain of losing a child herself. But she won’t tell you that while she comforts you in your own discomfort. Because she is an empath. We just simply don’t do that. And I for one am wondering what that characteristic is born of? Is it innate or is it groomed in by a world that expects halos to consistently shine without a tarnish? Is it that we were set on a path of being there for those that hurt and with that comes the responsibility to bear it no matter the cost? Or is it because at some point in our own lives we have learned that we never want to cause pain to another soul because we have known that pain ourselves?

I don’t know what the answer is for everyone but I do know that people need to remember that those in the more compassion driven careers are human after all as well. Even when we act like superhero’s, we still had to wrestle in the phone box before jumping into action.

My dear friend was cornered and bullied today because she said no to a request to do something that she wasn’t prepared to give energy to. My friend just put a family member into a nursing home. She was already feeling the sense of failing someone before this bully tried to convince her she failed in her vocation simply because she said no.

“I would have expected more of a Reverend” is self serving and disrespectful to everything this person has put ahead of herself these past ten or more years. And I have no problem with telling bullies such as this to “F**ck off” because despite it all she still feels uncomfortable saying that out loud because someone thinks her halo must shine and not be tarnished by the simple act of being human. So I have just said it for her. Loudly and proudly. And I seek no forgiveness for that either.

Lets try to work harder together. Lets not presume to set the rules for those in certain vocations. Let’s not make it our duty to enforce how they behave. Lets maybe start with not ripping into another human because they can’t wear a mask. We all fail if we continue to behave as if we are the only opinion that matters without consideration of extenuating circumstance.

Lets try not to fail each other through this.

In love of course. Namaste. Amen.

And I will hang up the wings and reserve the occasional “F**ck off” for when the need arises.

Coo Coo for Co – CoVid

Last night he leaned in for a kiss and I screeched “Social distancing!!” without thinking and then coughed for good measure. He hasn’t tried since and my growing list of things that annoy me pretty much assures I won’t feel his lips on mine again for a decade  (unless of course I am forced to attempt resuscitation

 

I was intending to write about the grief of distancing but I think we have had enough of the sadness that is surrounding these current times.  The grief aspect is something I am well tuned into but that will be for another place in another time.  I believe that laughter is the better option to get us through.  In my connections to the spirit side this past few weeks I have met with great resistance to my questions about how long this may last. I have finally come to the understanding that this is another of the lessons that they can only be witness to yet the experience is ours alone. They are here for us only to bring comfort but beyond this, we are to learn to be better humans.  It’s really just that simple. We come out of this better humans.  We find more consideration for the lives around us, we put more thought into how they may feel and we understand individual fears in a way we couldn’t before.  And we learn to roll with the punches in the very best way we can.  I choose to laugh as I roll. I invite you to do the same.  

Today I spent twenty minutes of my life admonishing my spouse for his incorrect pairing of chips and dips.  I caught him dipping MY Tostitos Scoops into the Helluva Good Dip. He still seems to be struggling with the logic that HIS Ruffles goes with Helluva. And salsa and cheese goes with MY scoops.  He is banned from all pairings from this moment forward.

Last night he leaned in for a kiss and I screeched “Social distancing!!” without thinking and then coughed for good measure. He hasn’t tried since and my growing list of things that annoy me pretty much assures I won’t feel his lips on mine again for a decade  (unless of course I am forced to attempt resuscitation due to unexpected accidents that might include a flying salsa jar.)

I am the very definition of introvert and despite that today I messaged my best pal that I was almost prepared to risk arrest just to run up to people outside and touch them.  Appropriately of course.   But then, I suppose being touched by a complete stranger might be considered inappropriate.  Another month of social isolation and we might just find out for sure…

So how is your social isolation going?  Mine’s going wonderful as you can see.

I’ve eaten about four hundred mini eggs, my bra isn’t fitting properly and my eyelashes have fallen off.  I’ve discovered a taste for wine where a taste for wine never did exist before this and I’ve cooked everything I learned to cook in my first 40 years of life.  The remaining dog in our home is eyeing me suspiciously because I am here ALL of the time now and I swear he is now wondering if my guest status has changed to permanent resident.  He isn’t liking this much because I am the “snack limiter” of the family.  If I am making a sandwich for lunch, the other half always orders two and I immediately go into my rant about the second one is for the dog. My husband argues with me every single time this happens and as I make the second one I mutter about him thinking I must be stupid. So when he does in fact attempt to give the dog the second one, the dog stares at me in anticipation of my certain meltdown.  Our much loved Molly was 45 pounds overweight the week before we lost her.  Hubby says it was all muscle and I am mean.  The dog just looks at me like he can’t wait for me to pack and fly away again.

So in my desire to find some balance….

I’ve made several attempts at solitude and mediation.  I get all comfortable, feet flat to the floor, eyes closed and palms up to receive all that spirit can provide me. I fail the minute I hear a voice in the parking lot outside of my window and jump up to look in my excitement of another human being within twenty feet of me.  The picture I chose for the blog is a fairly true representation of what they see when I pull the curtains back.  Many haven’t been back since. I have no idea why, I am clearly just trying to be friendly.  On this note, grandparents please stop before you lean into the window separating you from your grand babies..because you just can’t be sure that this isn’t what they see.  It’s cute when they do it….us not so much.  Stop and think before you press your wrinkles people. Therapy is going to be hard to find and expensive once this is all said and done.  Plan ahead and stay three inches from the glass please.

I’ve watched every episode of nearly every Netflix series made since 2015.  With the exception of the guy that plays with big cats. His face annoys me and therefore I shall not delve into any episode that features it, so please stop telling me I should. It is not happening. The man has a face that only his mother could love.

This morning I actually woke to fantasies about learning to bake. Things are bad when I start considering this. To save myself from attempting butter tarts  I went for a walk instead in the graveyard, made friends with a squirrel and talked him into posing for me. The photo below. I think he resembles a furry Burt Reynolds.  Let me know what you think.   On my next visit I might take him a sandwich.  😉

 

squirrel
My new friend Burt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sassy, Smoldering and Social Distanced

So today I set fire to my bangs.  I had been standing in the bathroom staring forlornly at my hair and thinking it was beginning to resemble a horses tail that hadn’t been brushed in a decade and wondering how best to fix this. If I have learned one thing over the years it’s to never put it out there to the universe that something might need to go. I wandered out to the balcony and lit a cigarette with the BBQ lighter. 

Here’s the disclaimer part:

In no way do my musings represent a lack of understanding of the gravity of our current world situation. I continue to daily send my best energy and love to all that are directly and indirectly affected by this nasty virus.  My heart hurts with all those that have lost their lives to this or have a loved one struggling to breath.  What I have learned is that often times our best way forward is to find the human parts to this, the “first world” problems that exist in this for us all and I try to create an atmosphere a little lighter than the one we see each hour over social media.  Humor is the antidote to the fear and the anxiety.  If I can make you laugh for a moment it is a moment not feeding the monster that is holding us hostage.  Virus’s are intuitively based, just as we are.  They naturally gravitate to fear energy because in fear we become less strong . So by laughing in the face of it can change its direction.  So let’s find the lighter side of the dark today.  And lets remember to thank our front line workers please. Our coffee servers, our delivery drivers, our bus drivers, our essential customer service workers, our emergency services, our nurses, our social workers and mental health workers, our doctors and every single damn person that is working hard in our hospitals right now.

 

I don’t know about the rest of you but this introvert is actually slowly losing her mind.  If I am not soon permitted to touch another human being I might just go mad. I mean touch in the non weirdest of ways,  but you have been warned that I may become overly excited like a new puppy and just leap on anyone that happens to pass by once quarantine is lifted. Please refrain from calling security.  They already have me penciled in for line tipping. Kinda like cow tipping without the cow.

So let’s talk about that first.

I want to talk about the red lines that now separate me from the shopper ahead and behind me.  Firstly, I have vertigo in every moment of every day, so trying to keep my size 12 canoes on my side of said red line is becoming a challenge. And quite frankly I am starting to take offence to being loudly admonished by the security who suddenly beams up from God knows where when I tip forward and have to move a big toe to stop from taking a header into the gum display.

`Dear Security personnel..I do appreciate your being there by the way. Your finding your way into my blog is strictly for the humor portion. Thank you for keeping us safe.` 

Secondly, can someone please help me to understand this six feet apart theory when the lady still shopping  just came up the aisle behind me and now must cross directly in front of me and directly behind the person ahead of me.  I don’t see security diving on her do I?  I suppose this suggests that scientifically speaking moving targets don’t count in the distance criteria. I can hear the virus now.  “I don’t have the energy to chase that one, go for the one that just tipped over the red line. Security just terrified her into hold pose until the bagging area is clear.”

So today I set fire to my bangs.  I had been standing in the bathroom staring forlornly at my hair and thinking it was beginning to resemble a horses tail that hadn’t been brushed in a decade and wondering how best to fix this. If I have learned one thing over the years it’s to never put it out there to the universe that something might need to go. I wandered out to the balcony and lit a cigarette with the BBQ lighter.

Don’t judge and yes I know about the coronavirus and smoking…I have heard it a thousand times now, and let me assure you the threat of smoking is no match for the threat of me not smoking for my beloved husband. Lets focus on keeping him safe too OK? 

It didn’t occur to me that my horses tail wasn’t secured and poof…took care of the bangs pretty darned fast. Smelled awful but on the bright side, I think I might actually be responsible for a new hair craze                                                                                                  ~It’s sassy, it’s smoldering, it’s the new “Singed Fringe”~

You read it here first folks. Coming to a salon near you soon. Or not soon. Maybe June. Maybe October. No one knows for sure.

Now let’s talk about the first world problems of this forced isolation.  I am three weeks late for the eyelash fill.  After the singe fringe affair I ran to the bathroom once again to douse the flames under the bathroom sink. That’s hard by the way. I don’t know who designed this but it’s incredibly difficult to get your head sideways under that tap. We should consider this if my new hair craze takes hold. (Before someone says it..my kitchen sink was full of yesterdays dishes because well, whose gonna visit and who cares?)  As I wrangled my face out of the water stream I stood up and pushed back the remainder of the bangs and noticed the lashes. On the left eye  exists approximately 20 lush and long. On the right exists maybe four thin and barren and it’s a confusing look to be certain.  Only now do I start to panic about burning my bangs off. Thank the good Lord above for sunglasses, because I just cannot imagine the looks should I purchase magnetic ones in this current climate of essentials only.

“OMG there was a women today at Shoppers purchasing eyelashes!! I am sure she’s the same one that line tips, I’ve heard security talk about her. Hmmph.  And I’ve heard that she also goes out for walks in the park and that’s not social distancing!” 

OK so lets talk about that.  If memory serves me correct there was not any mention by our PM here in Canada of enacting martial law just yet.  A child that belongs to me personally was recently taken to task for publicly announcing a stroll through a graveyard for heaven sake.  A graveyard that housed the dead from like three centuries ago so the chances of them getting bus loads of living visitors are certainly slim at best. She allowed her children the opportunity to run in a spot that was free of any danger of being subject to the virus, yet was belittled of her parenting skills and her “choice” to put others in danger.  You’ll forgive me but I doubt the dead have concern about this danger.  How about we stop that sort of silliness and stop it soon.  Giving ourselves and our kids fresh air in these trying times is not irresponsible if we are alert and aware of our surroundings and those that are taking in the air with us.  I have seen parents with small kids moving around the grocery stores and no one says a word about that.  Why? Because it’s essential?  So is fresh air and sunshine.  And running and laughing. And being a kid in times that are difficult for them to understand.  If the time comes that we must be in forced quarantine it will be much harder. So lets stop policing parents who are just trying to give their kids that tiny bit of space allowed in this new world of distance.  OK that was the serious try to be a good neighbor paragraph.  Onward….

Let’s talk about the anxiety of this.  Every day we are subject to new and conflicting information.  Stopped taking your Ibuprofen and now you can’t get out of bed without a forklift?  After four days of being subject to no less than 70 inbox warnings about my muscle and joint choice of drugs I was overjoyed to discover ( because I went looking) that these claims are unfounded. Surprise!! I hope you all realize that I may have noticed my eyelash dilemma sooner had I actually been able to turn my head instead of it being caught in a torticollis  ( google that)  because I had finally been convinced that my Advil would take me out.  It feels good to move my head again, eyelashes or not.

And the symptoms keep changing on us. If that doesn’t send your anxiety skyrocketing I don’t know what will. First it was plugged nose with no running, now its running nose with no plugging. Sore throat, maybe not a sore throat.  Then it was high fever now intermittent fever,  mild headache to your head might blast off migraine style. And a dry cough.  Good God…small wonder we are terrified to walk in a cemetery with 1400 dead people in case they catch it.  This week alone I have diagnosed myself twelve times because I have a drippy allergy nose, a headache from an unnecessary torticollis ( google it)  a sore throat from talking for 8 hours a day ( yes work goes on via phone), a dry cough from the sore throat from talking for 8 hours ( and smoking but we’re not judging) and hot-flashes from menopause.  Everything that is normal is a symptom and it’s scary.  And I get it, trust me I do get it.  We truly are all in this together and it helps to understand that especially now.  The wording from some health networks to “act like you have the virus” while logical is also making us crazy.   But my losing my ever loving mind mid hot flash today only to discover it would pass with the removal of all clothing really wasn’t good for the mental health after all. Or the mental health of the unfortunate people in the parking lot just outside of my open window.   I truly wonder how many women of my age have considered calling or have called the fine nurses of Tele-Health  over a typical hormone surge.

Oh..to catch you all up on the saga of Molly the drama dog, her surgery recovery went well but the 3 am drama howls continued from the couch of which she can now jump onto with no issue but the drama ensued on attempting to get down.  So I fixed that problem by laying the vacuum cleaner on the couch.  She hates it. No 3 am whining.  I may go into pet therapy next. Call me. For anyone wondering who Molly the drama dog is refer to the blog previous to this one.

Wash your hands. Stay off the playground equipment. The dead are dead, they can’t catch it or give it to you so don’t be ridiculous and go for a walk giving wide berth to any other living beings that are taking in the same air.  Try not to take every child you birthed into the grocery store if you can. First of all you aren’t all gonna fit behind the red line. Secondly, they run more risk of this virus from touching and feeling and running than they do on a nice stroll with the dead people.  Logic people. Logic.  No judging here, sometimes you have no other choice, but if a choice exists make it the choice to leave them at home instead of trying to keep little fingers that have picked up every sugary cereal option out of little faces.  Because if you are a parent you know it doesn’t matter how many eyes you think you have in the back of your head, one of them is going to stick a finger up their nose and then brush it on a sibling.

Stay safe, stay calm, keep laughing, sing loudly, wash your hands ( said it again) thank those that are working for us right now, stop beating each other up for being human, and remember that you are human too and subject to the same judgement.

We don’t “got this” unless we “get this” together.

I think I have forgotten how to put makeup on. Or pants. I haven’t seen my bra in two weeks. It’s likely in the pile of laundry marked “Who cares, where am I going that needs clothes anyway?”

Or eyelashes…..

Or bangs…

In love, in light, in isolation.

Tania.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chronicles Of The Isolated Introvert

“I am leaning on the wall staring at her and in my mind I have grabbed her paper respiratory mask that she is wearing and snapped it back onto her face just to silence her.  I think I might actually have followed through on this impulse had it not been for the voice in my head reminding me of the 6 foot distance rule…”

Are you all losing it yet?  I am and I am not afraid to say that out loud. While I am fully cognitive of the need to stay put and to be a responsible member of society I have no issue with telling you that I am slowly losing my marbles. I expect that you are too so I am not going to wander off into the ether of love n light for this one but instead try to find the humor in this moment in time.  While this microscopic little SOB is wreaking havoc across nations we can do little but wait for the day that it chokes on itself.  In the interim we must do our best to sit still and ride this out so that we don’t put others at risk. This is our gift to each other so to say. I love and value you so I will wait it out with you and for you.

But it’s hard. We can be honest about that. This is hard. And it will get harder in the days and weeks to come.  We will eventually come to the realization that toilet paper is not our biggest loss but our sanity is.

I am sitting here at 2 am heading into day 4 of “social isolation”. Joining me in this new and unexpected adventure is my spouse, our two dogs and the cat.  The only one that might survive this is the cat because he’s small enough to slip through the bars on the balcony and run like hell.

If I could morph into a feline like slither I can assure you I’d follow him. Unfortunately, my soul is shoved into a rather curvaceous and mature human so my only means of escape would be to lunge one leg over the rail and we all know how that is going to end.  It would take time away from our emergency services that they can ill spare in this current climate, so, I am doing my best to behave in this imposed isolate state.

It’s not easy and I know you know that too.  I am an introvert but I am also a control freak and I prefer to choose my introversion, not be forced to it. The second someone tells me I must do something my immediate instinct is to do the opposite.  Hence my current struggle with being caught between four walls with the spouse, two dogs and the cat.

The spouse has ants up his underwear and has gotten up a dozen times in the last two hours in his curiosity over what I am furiously typing about.  With each meander he makes over my left shoulder my typing grows more aggressive. I live with the constant presence of someone’s loved one hovering nearby so this movement by this human is making me cranky and liable to snap at any moment. He knows this yet clearly he is bored and looking to fill his Virgo need to get his adrenaline going.  After 35 years in my oh so gentle presence one might think he would know better than to make me the object of that rush because the risk of getting stabbed by a fork is rather high at this point.

Molly our older dog is behaving like the Queen of The Nile right now. She is four or five days (or weeks..who knows..I have lost track of all time) post op from a surgical procedure.  If I whisper the word “cookie” she has the ability to drag herself from her horizontal position on her furry rug, get to the kitchen in no more than 3.5 seconds and produce a clear loud bark for her treat.  The minute I get into bed however she is suddenly in “drama dog” mode that sounds very like a coyote just got shot and is slowly dying in the field next door.  It is a godforsaken sound that she is clearly perfecting because she has learned that it does gain my attention.  The reason behind this satanic howl? The pillows are on her couch, the same way they have always been yet now she wishes to have her concierge remove them because suddenly she has forgotten how.  She hasn’t forgotten how to leap onto said couch however so I am catching on to this game.  Old dogs can learn new tricks folks.  I am rarely home so now I am trapped and she is enjoying this.

Our younger dog Scooby is on the fast track to a tranquilizer dart. Can we buy those over the counter?  If my other half so much as moves toward the door Scooby is in flight and lands like a 40 pound budgie on the back of the couch. This would be less of a problem if I wasn’t seated on that couch when he does it but he seems completely oblivious to that fact. I have had a leg shoved up my right nostril several times this week as he attempts and almost fails to sit his perch without tipping off of it backwards. Thank God my nose is there to avoid that tragedy.  He has taken to joining Molly in her 3 am singsong so now it sounds like one dying coyote and an off key soprano who has absolutely zero perception that he is tone deaf.

Our shared laundry facilities are in over time use this week so it’s taken me seven hours today to do three loads.  The woman stomping about ( I have no idea who she is, she doesn’t live here) has taken up every washer and is nattering on because someone hasn’t emptied their dryer in time for her to change hers out. I am leaning on the wall staring at her and in my mind I have grabbed her paper respiratory mask that she is wearing and snapped it back onto her face just to silence her.  I think I might actually have followed through on this impulse had it not been for the voice in my head reminding me of the 6 foot distance rule. Oh, and maybe I considered that arrest might follow.  Can they handcuff from 6 feet away?

Two of my adorable grandchildren went breaking bad tonight and showed up for ice cream and chocolate milk. I let them in only because I know their germs and I know their mother has recently annihilated a lice infestation (school gift) from every crevice of hair and home so anything that might have tried to live through that has failed. Other than the kids of course. And their mother. Barely, the poor girl.

My grandson all three feet of him, admonished me loudly for using the word “stupid” to describe my 40 pound budgie ( “You do not use that word around children!”). Well OK then. Clearly I need to get with the program.

As they were preparing to leave the building I ran ahead to ensure that no other human was present. No sooner had they stepped into the hall than the door to my left cracked open to reveal the sweet face of our senior neighbor peeking out.  She is out and about and talking to everyone constantly so I had no fear of her concern for her own safety with the two moppets that I was trying to usher down the hallway.  And then she started. She is Italian or Portuguese and heavily accented. I still don’t know which one and I have lived next door for five years.  Regardless, she speaks quickly and it can be difficult to hang onto each word.

Until tonight that was.

As she cooed and ooohed at the kids she glanced up at my daughter and said how nice it was to see the little ones and that it brought her such joy.  She then went into a slight vent about our microscopic little SOB and how it was making it so hard for everyone to be family.  Her final words with my grandkids hanging on to each one?

“Is bullchit you know. Is bullchit! But what can ya do. You can do nutting. But is bullchit”

My grandson said not a word.

But I can’t say stupid.

 

It is now 3:15 am. The song of the dying coyote is in full swing.  From the bathroom this time because I put the lid down on the ONLY existing fresh water supply in the world.

 

Laugh or you’ll cry as my grandmother would say…

Lets laugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smashing Glass Slippers

“In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feels like a decision to reward my enemy”   

~Andy Stanley~

“In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feels like a decision to reward my enemy”

~Andy Stanley~

I am not sure I am comfortable with the word enemy in the quote above, but in keeping with the original wording I must allow it to remain.  I really don’t consider anyone to be an enemy.  In any situation where I might happen upon someone with whom I have suffered a disconnect, I can and will behave in a cordial albeit aloof manner, but I would never consider them to be an enemy.  More so a lesson in what to avoid, I suppose.

I am terribly imperfect. This blog represents a vulnerability that is uncommon for me because I am much more comfortable in healing your discomforts than my own. From yours I have an ability to disconnect.  Perhaps this is why I am so good at what I have been led to do. It’s worked for me so far, yet recently it has become evident to me that I have missed a step along the way somewhere, and my ability to go forward and provide the best of myself  was reliant on some soul searching and contemplation.

For those that know me quite well, they know of my inability to comprehend or extend forgiveness. This is in complete opposition to my empathetic nature, a learned human behavior not a true characteristic of who I am.  It is not uncommon to hear me tell people to reserve the act of forgiveness for themselves alone.  To heal their hurts without giving opportunity to those that created them to feel that they are abolished of their wrong doing.  As the quote above states I have always lived by the belief that forgiveness does little more than reward the behavior that created discomfort.

So, in keeping with the fairy tale, I will, more often than not, don the proverbial glass slippers and exit stage left. I rarely to never leave a shoe behind either.  Gone. Little trace exists that we spent time in each other’s journey short of a few crystals you might find that have broken off in my escape.

I am no Cinderella by any stretch. She was much kinder than I when it came to the dealings of those that distressed her. At least she provided them jobs in which to support themselves once her Prince Charming appeared. I don’t even allow that much.  I cut you out entirely, my support in your journey forward is over.

It’s just always been my way.  I will not forgive you but I will forget you. I guess the premise behind that logic (somewhere in my mind) is that you won’t forget me because I leave no opportunity for you to feel that you found closure in my departure.

Well that’s not screwed up at all is it?

Someone recently asked me to consider forgiveness and my first instinct was my natural instinct. Find a big box to put that in. Nail it down firmly and bury it.  Dig out my glass slippers, rush off to my hearth, pack them away and then sit and forgive myself for allowing something or someone to cause me pain.  And it often goes a little like this.

“I forgive myself for allowing myself to be harmed by the actions of another. “I forgive myself for my inability to control the events that led to my discomfort”. I forgive myself for being misguided” “I forgive myself for giving too much of my good energy”  “I forgive myself for the expectations I put on others”

I could go on forever here because I can find a litany of reasons to forgive myself in any and all situations.  I could forgive myself for burning the pasta last week.

But I digress.

I recently pulled out the glass slippers. I haven’t done that in a long time now. Maybe the passage of time caused me to hesitate before I slid them to my feet. Maybe I was too tired of trying to run in them.  Or maybe…..just maybe….

I was tired of putting the blame on myself and soothing myself with a ritual of self forgiveness for my own sincerity of action.

I still strongly believe in the power of self forgiving. Once this blog is public I will forgive myself for not discovering this lesson sooner.  I will forgive myself for perhaps offering up advice to others based solely on what I thought was true for me. Early into this spiritual journey I was reminded several times to not permit my own prejudice to color the souls that I encounter along the way.  And I believe I have allowed that to happen.  Forgive me.

So something today I never thought I would do…..

A plot twist perhaps…

Forgive.

Forgiveness does not mean that you will accept further discomforts. It does not mean that you are a pushover. It does not mean that you announce open season for those to take aim once again. Forgiveness means that you are loving yourself enough now to include boundaries that will not permit discomforts in the future.

Forgiveness is not weakness. Forgiveness is strength.

Forgive. If your forgiveness comes with an apology accept that and forgive because in doing so the responsibility for your pain is shared. As it should be. It is not solely your discomfort to carry and feel you created. Sharing it is much less uncomfortable and far less self injuring.

Forgive. If your forgiveness must come with no apology attached, forgive anyway.  Because no one suffers in this but yourself. Spending decades waiting to hear I am sorry takes the beauty out of life because there is no pain such as the pain of waiting for words that never arrive.  And if it has taken you decades to reach this part, then forgive yourself only for not doing it sooner. You are a beautiful creation and you deserved so much more than that. You deserve so much more going forward from today.

Forgive. Because forgiveness is self love in its most unconditional manner. And there is no one more deserving of that love than yourself.  It does not require that you maintain a connection to those that you have forgiven  but it does require that you understand that until you forgive you do not attach responsibility to anyone else but yourself. And that’s a heavy load to carry alone.

 

So take a moment and repeat this with me if you are so inclined.

I forgive you if you caused me discomfort intentionally, unintentionally, with malice or with lack of consideration.  I forgive you because it is my right to live a life unfettered by the weight of pain. I forgive you because I deserve to live a life that is free of self blame.  I forgive you because I love myself.

And if I have caused you discomfort I ask that you forgive me also. Because you deserve nothing less than I deserve.  We will share our discomforts and love ourselves through it.

You’ll excuse me now……

I have glass slippers to smash

With love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghosts, Goats & Giggles – Making Heaven

My life takes me to some pretty interesting places. Last week it was a farm in rural PEI. As I brought loved ones through, audience members cuddled baby goats and baby rabbits on their laps. It was surreal and fascinating at the same time. Goats don’t sit still often, so to see these little creatures curled up quietly while we worked with spirit was truly quite amazing for me; in fact it confirmed for me that those gone before us have a settling effect on all living things.  How beautiful and not something I ever expected I might be involved in.

That’s my grandaughter in the picture by the way.  Her only concern that day was goats and giggles. And combined it created the perfect photo op. Goats are naturally curious and fun loving. They climb, they nudge, they head butt and they smile if you can imagine. It’s like they just intuitively know how to cheer us up.

As I watched them bounce around last week they reminded me of those that we’ve lost. Always present, peering around doorways and always trying to get our attention. Or, curled up peacefully in the arms of those seeking comfort. Not so unlike the ones we love at all.  I never thought a goat would become a metaphor for spiritual connection but there it is.

The world is a tad bit bananas of late if you hadn’t noticed. I could choose to discuss the pain of this past week, the questions of why bad things happen to good and innocent souls but I chose instead to talk about ghosts, goats and giggles. Because sometimes the weight of the world beyond that is too heavy for us to bear. It doesn’t mean that I am ignorant of the turmoil; in fact I did exact a fairly lengthy narrative on it but have decided instead that I am choosing to share some light and hoping it finds the dark corners.

When life is bananas make bread right?

We got this.

When life starts to get you down, feel the feels for the moments that you feel them and then search for a giggle. Balance is the key to existing on a planet hell bent on knocking us all off.  And it’s OK to seek the balance. It’s OK to not feel guilty for laughing, for enjoying life and for turning off the news.  It’s OK to not be informed at every waking moment.

Take moments to breath and to feel life on each inhalation. If those on the spirit side could tell us to do one thing, it’s to keep on keeping on without them. Because when we keep on, they keep on right beside us.

Those you’ve lost and love exist vicariously through how you live. We bring them to beautiful places on each laugh, on each kindess and on each breath that we take.  We create their heaven for them in each waking moment.

Why not create a heaven that includes goats n giggles?  There’s nothing wrong with that and everything right in that.

Can’t find a goat to chase around? Find a butterfly. Run with your dog. Find a splashpad and rush through the waterfall in your clothes. Dance to the elevator music. Stop and listen to the buskers and clap for them. Go to the fair. Ride something huge and terrifying and exhilerating.  Eat what you shouldn’t eat. Giggle too loud in a library and giggle harder when you are shushed.

Heaven today is heavy. It is welcoming souls who had different plans this week. It is sorting and shaping new enviornments for those that are now part of that world.  And it will need our help to make these spaces as bright and wonderous and joyful as possible.  We couldn’t help them here, but we can help them there.  So send them bubbles and sunshine and laughter to light the way forward.  Not only do we help them we help us.  We need to learn to lift the enviornment we live in. Only then can we lift the world.  And that will change it. Not today. Not tomorrow. But soon.

The goats don’t know the state of the world. They simply know that they are happy. And that somehow that happiness makes us right again.

Grieve for a moment. Pause to acknowledge those gone forward. And then give them the gift of a life well lived.

They deserve that.

Oh…by the way…if you are in the neighbourhood drop by Island Hill Farm

#cutestplaceonearth

 

 

 

 

 

“I Can’t Today, I Have To Wash My Hair”

“I think the knitting part finally did it.  I was poised to Facebook message my mother ( the knitting queen) to ask her to lend me needles when I panicked and promptly booked a tour date to distract myself from the desire to make a sweater that would only ever evolve to something warm yet backless. My husband remarked that I might actually finish the one I started for him in 1989. That made me panic further as I recognized a reemergence of patterns from decades ago….” 

“It’s been 6 months since my last blog post” I almost feel like I need forgiveness.

It’s Canada Day, the sun is shining strong and I imagine the beaches are packed to capacity with families and friends sharing in the holiday.  Me, I am curled up in my  favorite chair with the AC cranked and a hot coffee beside me working on schedules. And to be truthful I am happiest right here enjoying the day in my pajamas.

I am a natural born introvert and I do it well. My husband is helping with the community BBQ at our building and I wished him well while I shooed him out the door.  Most of my nearby neighbors ( aka my hallway) are lovely souls, but I can find conversation with them by simply passing in the hallway as I exit or enter the building.  And, well, some of the others in the building just simply find my last nerve with their high heeled arrogance. I find it incredibly difficult to coexist with someone complaining that the kale salad was prepped from bagged.  Everyone is different I suppose. The beautiful thing about life is that we have the opportunity to place ourselves into the situations that feel most comfortable for ourselves. I also don’t want to be responsible for using a plastic picnic fork to  stab the person that has to pick up each sandwich triangle to determine contents and then drop it back to the platter when it doesn’t suit their tastes.  And let’s not get me started on the odd fella that wanders the building in his housecoat and comments on my ravishing beauty at each opportunity to do so.  I am still wondering where he leaves the seeing eye dog given that he generally finds me in the laundry room with raccoon eyes from sleeping in my mascara and my hair sticking up like a troll doll. Regardless, I find it less than flattering and one day might throw him my track pants from the dryer and instruct him to put on clothes like normal people do when in public.

I am just simply not the Knots Landing type of girl. For those that don’t know the reference…Google is your friend.  Watch ten minutes of one episode and you’ll understand me completely.

It’s been a long haul from the end of last year to today.  I have gone from occasional driver to nearly full time driver since my spouse seriously injured his vision in a fall last November.  We thought he might be improving until one day last week when he panicked that I was about to run over the “two little people in orange raincoats” that were standing on the roadway I was travelling along.  They were construction pylons guarding a pot hole. However, the twenty minutes of laughing til I cried certainly helped to alleviate any stress I had amassed in the weeks prior.  In his defense I did finally find my Tide Pods in the freezer nicely propped against the bag of frozen cauliflower. I blame the packaging for my faux pas in this instance. In my mind zip-lock anything must be edible right? Oh wait. Perhaps that explains the Tide Pod eating craze. Maybe I am not the only one that mistook them for carrots and the kids though they were Freezie bites.

Sitting at home trying to stop my spouse from hurting himself further as he learned to navigate with one functioning eye found my introversion blossoming like an untreated dandelion. I began to rather enjoy just taking my time in the morning and not having to get dressed to do anything social in the evenings. I mean, obviously, I had to get dressed for clients but other than that I was free to just be me.  I got into some Netflix series that found me reminiscing about easier days, I had time to actually make dinner for a change and I was finally able to make an appointment for distance glasses that would ultimately save everyone’s lives on the roads.  I rerouted my spouse from walking into walls, soothed his very frustrated pride and considered knitting to wile away my hours.

I think the knitting part finally did it.  I was poised to Facebook message my mother ( the knitting queen) to ask her to lend me needles when I panicked and promptly booked a tour date to distract myself from the desire to make a sweater that would only ever evolve to something warm yet backless. My husband remarked that I might actually finish the one I started for him in 1989. That made me panic further as I recognized a reemergence of patterns from decades ago.  So I made the decision to get up the next day and greet the world again socially.  That went well until the next day as I sat with my coffee cup at  11 am and decided that I really had to dust the apartment instead. And the next day was vacuuming. The day after was laundry.  I began to have visions of turning into my mother and setting aside Tuesdays to wash my hair. For those that don’t know my mum, her hair washing routine involves two full days and I am not kidding. One day to wash it and one day to walk around the house in her curlers.  “Mum do you want to go for lunch today?”  “Oh…I’ve just washed my hair can we do it another day?”  OK mum…see you in 72 hours.

We naturally retreat into comfortable patterns when the opportunity presents itself to do so. And comfortable for me has always been to disengage. While it serves me brilliantly in my work it doesn’t necessarily do the same in day to day life.  So I again made the decision to jump back in. I made that decision just a few weeks back. I flew my antisocial self to Prince Edward Island with the intention of spending the days on the beaches and smiling at everyone I saw.  What’s that old saying again?  I plan and God laughs?  I walked off the plane into what I am certain was -20 windchill. With no coat and sandals ( for the beaches remember).  And while I absolutely enjoyed the time spent there with my dear friend at her home, we both laughed at the lack of social interaction because the entire province had retreated into their homes to save themselves from freezing to death. So we got up each day and drank coffee and stood staring through the windows at the frost instead.  We finally braved the only day above five degrees and hit the beach which resulted in my poor friend getting a migraine for two days from the sub zero winds that almost blew our sorry asses into the Atlantic Ocean.  I did however get to practice my antisocial self further at the farm she works for.  If you are an introvert you will understand how good it feels to just talk to the animals because they literally agree with every single word you say. If you even feel like making conversation that is. The farm is the perfect place to practice your introvert communications skills. I had an absolute blast but I failed miserably at my original intention.  However I got to cuddle a baby alpaca.  Worthy trade off.  I did one event where my social self seems to suddenly reappear out of nowhere and then retreated again in the safety of alone. It’s the weirdest thing in the world. Hand me a microphone and I can talk your ear off. Send me to Wal -Mart and I’ll stare at the floor to avoid conversation. I should start wearing a wireless headset to the grocery stores right?

I suppose you all might be wondering right now where exactly is she going with this blog?  It does have a destination. Bear with me. I am chatty today.

I boarded my flight to home and made a firm decision to engage with the other passengers. I was happily chatting with two ladies in my seating row until the air attendant shooed me to another spot because ( in her words) “You look so uncomfortable stuck in the middle. There’s a full row of empty seats you can stretch out in”  I said goodbye to my travel buddies and found myself staring out of the plane window wondering why I wasn’t allowed to communicate with anyone.  You can laugh at this. I did. It was rather ironically amusing.  Mind you the leg room that a full row afforded me was divine. I arrived home full of my usual pep, anticipating perhaps a night out and friendly faces and woke up the next morning with an odd discomfort running from the top of my head into my neck. Decided it was from whacking my skull on the lavatory ceiling on the plane and proceeded to make plans for a weekend of social engagements.

And woke up two days later with shingles. Now, let me assure you of one thing. If the universe doesn’t think you’re getting the messages clearly enough it’s going to do something fairly drastic to make you finally receive them. Yes, the universe had slowed me down and forced me into some type of self seclusion, but what it had failed to do was to stop me from keeping every waking moment occupied doing anything but sit with my own self. I was planning. I was writing. I was counselling via social media. I was booking sessions. I was planning dinner at 9 am. I was planning laundry a week ahead. Despite being at home and not being social I was constantly doing something to keep busy.  I was even contemplating knitting for the love of all things holy. All this to divert myself from myself.

Well. Let me assure you of one very certain thing that I have learned. A severe case of shingles will bring you down to both knees and keep you there. There is no planning, no dusting, no meal prep. There is only you focused on you because you are unable to focus on anything else during the process. You have no option but to escape to your own mind as a way to escape from what is probably the most painful physical condition I have ever experienced.  And it was here that I found myself again.

It was here that I was able to face the fact that I disengage from focusing on myself because I don’t believe I am worth focusing on myself.  Yes I said that. I find my value in focusing on anything that lives outside of me. Because as an empath that’s just what we do. It’s easier to hone in on outside discomforts than face our own.  In the 17 days of pain that brought me to tears at every turn I had no other option but to focus on me. And it changed me exponentially.  For 17 long days I was able to retrace my steps to where I took the wrong steps, where I could have done better for myself, where I put myself into situations that made me feel worthy only to ultimately find myself feeling overwhelmed or worse than that, feeling used or disrespected for not setting firm boundaries. It was a period of deep introspection because I wanted to understand why someone as strong as myself would get knocked to the floor by something as ridiculous as a series of blisters that suddenly appeared one morning.

Sometimes comfort zones have to be uncomfortable to gain insight.

Nothing has changed in the work that I do. If anything this has heightened my sensitivity to the discomforts that others deal with every single day. It has taught me to be kinder and gentler. To take a moment and sometimes only a moment to send you a loving thought but to not get tangled up in trying to take it from you.  It has taught me that in order to be the best version of myself that I have to set boundaries to care for myself. I have learned that I am worthy of my own softness and that I should never feel guilty or selfish for reaching for it.  I have learned that I am worthy of the same from those that might wish to share it with me and not to downplay my need of it.

Most importantly I have learned that although others may need me, that sometimes I need me more and to honor that.  So you’ll forgive me if I can’t be there to fix it for you right away but promise to help you with it at another time unless you can fix it yourself first. That would be preferred because you learn so much from working on yourself.

I know I did.

But I am here if you struggle…sending love and support.

Oh…I also finished the third book kids. I couldn’t find time before now to do so because I was busy planning dinner at 9 am…

Progress rocks. 😉

Love love love….and thank you once again universe for sending me down the next path on this amazing journey.  But don’t do that shit again.