Nothing to see here, except that It’s All Happening

I had a lot of people asking me if everything was okay after my last post. The most genuine answer I can give you is that it’s nothing I can’t handle. A million different song lyrics are flying through my head right now, but I will refrain from using them.

In keeping with my open invitation to Joy for 2016, I’m going to focus on thinking and writing about the things that make me happy. Like the fact Canadian Music Week is almost 2 months away. Insert internal squealing. Okay, maybe a little external squealing as well.

I spent this past Saturday meeting many of the new volunteers who will be joining our existing team of super-star volunteers who love music as much as1 I do. It was a long day of repeated speeches for our side of the room, but I wouldn’t have been anywhere else.

I’ve had many great years working on music festivals, and they’re a part of my life that continually bring me joy. They are one of the main reasons I gave up full-time work, and I fight every day to make sure I can be a part of the productions that bring unforgettable experiences to so many. I think back on the days before I was on this side of production, and I have the most fond memories of being in a room with electric energy, looking over at a friend, and just smiling – without a word – knowing that you’re both having the best time; yes because you were there together but also because the show was amazing.

Lakes of Canada at the Garrison in 2013

When I was first accepted as a Stage Manager in 2010, I never thought I would be joining the team 6 years later as an Assistant Volunteer Co-orindator/Crew Chief but here I am. Ok, that may not be entirely true. I always hoped it would happen, but I didn’t it would. I thought that maybe I’d need to go back to full-time work and/or I would be out of the country. I’ve almost moved somewhere else at least 3 times in the last 6 years2.

I’ve never felt so ready to take on a role in my life. I’m nervous, but also incredibly excited. I will not sleep very much for a few weeks leading up to the festival, and especially during the festival but it will be amazing. Who needs sleep anyway?

Just in case you’re interested, I wrote a list of lessons I learned from volunteering for the last 10 festivals I’ve been a part of.

Footnotes:
  1. or more than[]
  2. let’s not talk about all the reasons that have kept me here though[]

The one with all the questions

IMG_5856When will I learn?
When will I stop beating myself up?
Why can’t I stop?
How do I stop?
When will it stop?

How can I make this day better?
How can I make someone’s day?
Do I make the people I love happy?
How can I make the people I love happy?
Where does this guilt come from?
Did I make the right choice?
Will it be the end of the world if it wasn’t?
Where will I be this time next year?
Will I still feel this way?
How do I feel?
Do i like the way I feel?
What can I do about it?
Who can I talk to about it?
Am I proud of myself?
Are my loved ones proud of me?
How can I be someone worthwhile?
Can I do more?
Can I do better?
Can I be better?

Did I blow out the candle in the kitchen?
Did I pay my phone bill?
Did I text my parents this weekend?
Did I respond to everyone who texted me?
Did I return the phone calls I needed to?

Will I ever find zen again?

[This isn’t even half of what goes through my head sometimes. I am not ashamed. I am who I am; it is all I can ever be].

Zen in the wind

Something is working. My open invitation to Joy seems to have worked, though I still find myself experiencing more moments of melancholy more often than I’d like. I am working on finding the source, and either eliminating said source or attempting to amend the situation though – I wish I could say more than that, but it really isn’t something I’m willing to talk about here just yet.

IMG_5761There were many things I wanted to write about for this week but as I walked through the city during sunset after an epic 90 minute yoga class, listening to my latest audio book1… I couldn’t help but feel so full in my heart. It was the first 90 minute class I have been to since I started taking Yoga again after a two year hiatus. And as I sat in front of my computer, all I wanted to do was capture this feeling in words.

Truth be told, I didn’t even remember that it was a 90 minute class. It was not an easy class. We held each pose for at least two more breaths than usual, there were many options to take the stretch deeper with each pose; options that I took as often as I could. I came out of the class feeling so incredibly calm, and strong. My face couldn’t help but maintain a smile the entire walk home. I wanted to go for a run, but I still had to do laundry and make and eat dinner; and I wanted to go to be a good girl and go to bed early so I could wake up early and have a relaxed morning before work.

That class was the proof I needed that I am getting better; that my efforts are worthwhile; that I am getting closer to the me that I lost so many years ago. I’m not just revelling in the physical benefits that I am getting from Yoga either. I’ve learned some pretty bad behaviours in the last two years; behaviours that, when mixed with my highly emotional and passionate demeanour, only spell trouble for the life of zen and calm that I so crave. Yoga, and a few of my own exercises and practices are slowly but surely chipping away at these bad behaviours; and I can only hope the changes will last a lifetime since I’m doing them so mindfully this time around.

The rest of my evening was quiet and satisfying. What caused me to welcome the joyful cry that came to me after I devoured my dinner, was that it2 is within reach again. And that’s enough to make me feel full of zen and calm right there.

One day at a time. One moment a time. And for heaven’s sake, breathe.

What brings you peace?

Footnotes:
  1. I may or may not be addicted to audio books[]
  2. said life of zen and calm that I crave[]

With a vengeance

Before I went to Winnipeg for B&A’s Wedding last year, the last trip I was able to take by myself was to Mexico to visit a very dear, old friend of mine who at the time was living on a tiny Island called Holbox, off the Yucatan Peninsula. That was in 2009. I was able to go on road trips with my family, and while we had a wonderful time in NYC and Chicago the years that we went – I’m sure I don’t need to explain why the trips just weren’t the same.

This year, as soon as I could, I bought VIA rail tickets to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to visit another dear, old friend who I hadn’t seen in a very long time. She grew up in a small town just outside Ottawa, and was living in Toronto when I met her; she moved back to Ottawa some 10 years ago1, and I was able to visit her often-ish when she first moved but slowly yet surely I found myself lacking the funds and the means to make it out. I’m so glad I chose this trip as one of the first trips now that I can afford to. We’ve always had one of those friendships where we didn’t need to talk everyday to know that we loved each other; and can happily share comfortable silences together as I blog while she catches up on social media2. I digress…

I want more, and I’m finding myself mentally mapping out where all my friends live so I can visit them. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Australia, Dublin, London, Amsterdam, Mexico, San Francisco, New York, Georgia… I know I can’t visit all of them this year but I do hope I get to do it before I turn 40. That would be really nice. That list isn’t in any order of priority either. If I have the opportunity to go to any of them, I will take it in a heartbeat. While I love living in Toronto, I have often toyed with the idea of moving again. I wouldn’t go back to Dublin3, but I think I would want to live somewhere in Europe. Their way of living simply appeals to me4.

While out for a late night snack with said friend in Ottawa last night, she asked me to imagine a dinner party that I could host anywhere in the world, and invite any five people I wanted; I was to describe the meal, the setting… everything… and I’m a little ashamed to admit that at first I had a hard time imagining things. I pushed through and even though I answered her questions, she ended up having to cut me slack because I simply couldn’t get there. What I’m getting at is that I hope my ability to dream bigger comes back too. I used to have a vivid imagination for the things I wanted, and somewhere along the way I lost that. Heck, I used to write stories.

I don’t think that any of the heartbreak or bad relationships in the last few years are to blame, though it would have been easy to; I think the lack of travel in my life has forced my dreaming muscles in hibernation. I hope I can revive them this year, and get my imagination back. My subconscious has already started dreaming up amazing stories where Ryan Higa used his amazing comedic, and magical talents to surprise me with a proposal so I’ve got to be doing something right… right?!

What keeps you dreaming?

Footnotes:
  1. give or take a year or two[]
  2. while cuddling with her adorable dog[]
  3. where I lived for 1.5 years[]
  4. more on that later[]