Please take me back there

We left a wee bit later than I wanted to, but we were still on the highway by 9:30am. There were a total of seven of us who went up to the cottage this week; we took two cars up and arrived at the cottage about 30 minutes apart. It took me a full day to fully unwind this time around1, and even then I wasn’t fully myself.

First day, and the water was just right

I tried my best to be present with everyone, but the gnawing feeling in the back of my mind and heart were incessant. More and more it’s becoming extremely evident that the only option I have is the one option I really wish I didn’t want to have to take. But this isn’t about all that. This is about how lucky I felt to have been able to spend three and a half days with people who I don’t feel deserving to know so intimately. I can only hope that I never made anyone feel uncomfortable simply by going through what I’m going through. I swear, I tried my best.

It isn’t that I don’t think I am worthy in the sense that I am worthless, no, it is merely that I know how many amazing people there are in the world and I know how lucky I am that they chose me to include in their lives2.

This old firehall was a good landmark for my morning runs

There was a fascinating dynamic present, and it made for a great mix of deep connection and light-hearted fun. There was a lot of sexual innuendo, dad jokes and puns, mixed in with talk about Myers-Briggs test results and philosophical topics about love and connection. They are wonderful because they choose to live authentic lives, they open their hearts to everyone, careful not to let anyone in who doesn’t truly deserve it. I could really learn a lot from these people.

I love how much simpler life is at the cottage: waking up unassisted by alarms, going for a morning run breathing in nothing but fresh air, stretching with a gorgeous view of the lake, trees and wildlife in the distance, enjoying a morning coffee with the same view, swim-showering in the lake, sun-drying beside the same awesome people I mentioned above, lunching, going for boat rides, visiting the look-out tower, swimming in Oxtongue Ragged Falls, playing cards against humanity with some of the dirtiest3 minds, vicky-cures4, roaring fires, star gazing, and the best part of all – celebrating the birth of a woman who inspires me to be the best version of myself.

I spent quite a bit of time working on purging unnecessary items from my home this past weekend. Less time than I would have liked, but it still felt good. It has been a slow process – purging the unnecessary from my life – because I’m so sentimental, and because I have a hard time giving up things5. I just need to keep the end goal in mind, and all this time in-between, and the feeling that continues to gnaw at me will be something I will learn to harness so I can become the ultimate version of me6.

I digress.

The wiew from the look-out tower will take your breath away

I just want to send out a thank you to those I spent the week with at the cottage. You may not have known it at the time, but you helped this lost soul feel like she belongs even if only for a few days. I am forever grateful for your generosity.

Goofballs at the falls
The sunset on our last night was like a warm hug goodbye from Mother Nature herself
  1. compared to the last time I went away – to go camping anyway[]
  2. I’m even more aware of how lucky I am because there is someone I chose to keep in my life right now who takes me for granted – and while I wish it was as easy to do as it is to say, I know I should cut them out…but like I said, easier said than done[]
  3. aka the best[]
  4. special manicures by the birthday girl herself[]
  5. and giving up on people[]
  6. not that I’m admitting to being an X-Men but I’m not saying I’m not[]

Love and the karma bank

Momentum Dance Toronto's 'Under Cover' was performed at the Al Green Theatre April 13-16
Momentum Dance Toronto’s ‘Under Cover’ was performed at the Al Green Theatre April 13-16. Photo above was taken during the opening moments of ‘Beautiful People’.

One of the worst symptoms of living in fear is that it becomes very difficult to give love without expecting some love back in return; at least that’s what I noticed in this time I’ve spent trying to heal my self, and my heart.

My heart and soul feel worn, used, and utterly exhausted. Somehow though, I still want to love. I still want to love with the same intensity I used to before I knew what pain was. There’s a part of me that judges myself for it. It tells me that I am a fool, and I’ll only continue to get hurt and abandoned by those I love. I choose not to listen to that part of me. I know that my strength lies in being able to be kind and, loving and being a human being regardless of whether or not the person I’m sending my love to reciprocates.

I should stipulate that I’m not just talking about romantic love. I’m talking about love in all forms. One can love our family, our friends and even strangers. How many times have you held a door for someone and become pissed because they didn’t express gratitude? Maybe they just found out their family member was diagnosed with cancer, and they’re trying their best to keep their shit together while they’re out in public. No matter what their reason for not thanking you, it really shouldn’t matter. If you *want* to hold the door open for someone, do it, just don’t expect them to thank you for it. Put it in the karma bank.

This has been the best philosophy to have come back to me from my formative months of zen many moons ago. And in this difficult time when I find myself in an emotionally challenging position that I am unwilling to remove myself from1, it is a welcome breath of fresh air. Giving myself permission to send out love, when I feel like it, knowing full well that it may never get returned is saving my life.

Some people have a seemingly endless supply of love to give the world, and some have a limited supply; there is no reason that each of these people can’t do what they need to do in this life to feel safe. Whether or not there are supposed relationship commitments or ties or whether you’re just acquaintances with umpteen mutual friends; there really is no reason that you can’t take space away from someone to become whole again and it also doesn’t mean that you can’t send love when you feel ready.

Because I’m being vague, I feel I need to specify that when you send love without expecting anything in return: that includes a response. So… if you send a message, and they don’t respond: don’t send a follow-up message; especially if they’re someone who has never responded to any of your previous messages. Y’know. Be cool.

Sending love out to all of you. i hope that 2016 has been treating you well so far.

*This blog post is extremely vague because of reasons.

  1. I am not done loving here yet, and I am certain my situation is not uncommon[]

Everyone is wonderful, if you give you them a chance

I wanted to capture the look on my face that night. I wanted to capture the bliss I felt.

It was 1:30am on a Wednesday night and I would usually be sound asleep by then but I couldn’t bring myself to leave any earlier than the end of the night. Sleep was the sacrifice I was willing to make to savour every last ounce of wonder that the beautiful human beings I got to spend some time with last night possessed.

I was invited at the last minute by an old friend-quaintance, but there was something about his invitation that spoke to me. There was something there that said, ‘You need to say yes to this. You need to say yes to this right now, and it doesn’t matter what you’re giving up1.’ And honestly, there wasn’t a moment of hesitation in my entire being.

A few other thoughts swirling in my mind the night that I got the invite was related to work (I had made some pretty big mistakes at work, and had gotten emails from my boss about it that night), and of course the lack of romance (from external sources) in my life…. but all of those thoughts paled in comparison to the mere invitation.

Simple, but elegant dinner table

I went to work as normal, went about my work day as normal, and had a pretty uneventful day2. There was potential to go for a coffee with a friend before the dinner, but

that fell through and instead of going home I decided to head straight to dinner. I picked up one of my favourite French Pinot Noirs from the LCBO and walked over to the building where the dinner was being held.

On my way to the dinner, I ran into two acquaintances I adore, and had a quick catch-up with them. Too quick to really get into anything but I tried to send them as much non-verbal love as I could in the brief moments we shared.

When I finally got inside the building, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It was one of the rare moments in my life when I was early for an event; so I went to the washroom to freshen up and decompress from my day before I walked in. I was the second guest to arrive.

There were simple rules laid out for everyone, but things were pretty casual. No cell phones after 7:30pm; photos are okay. No interjecting when someone is talking. No trying to solve something for someone. Everyone will get a turn to answer the questions. You must listen when someone is talking; don’t spend that time thinking of your answer.

I didn’t get to ask the hosts how much thought they put into who is invited to the dinner, and whether there is any consideration given to the potential dynamic that the group could have when together. Personally, I don’t think it matters.

1st course, vegan chickpea and butternut squash soup 2nd course, all the nuts and veggies in the so many delicious ways 3rd course, mint and chocolate deliciousness

We were all open. We bore their hearts to each other and everyone, in turn, received each other with such openness I can only dream of seeing in the world. I hope I never forget the sensational, and unencumbered love that was flowing in that room and how empowering it felt. I hope we all felt the same. We may not have solved any of life’s major problems, or maybe we did in some small way; all I know is that my life is forever changed because of the wonderful people I got to meet at that dinner.

Without naming anyone (because I didn’t ask permission from any of them before writing this) I also want to remember the vulnerability, humility, strength, courage, willingness, acceptance, thoughtfulness, flexibility, and curiosity that each person3 brought to the table4 that night. I am eternally grateful, and hope that I was able to return the favour or at the very least return it in the future.

My fortune from the inspiration campaign, and some peaty scotch

So much love.

  1. I was supposed to grab a coffee with my ex who I am still in love with and am trying to patch things up with[]
  2. minus a few important conversations with some friends[]
  3. there are 9 characteristics because there were 9 of us, and I did pick one word for each of us but all words also applies to each person[]
  4. pun intended!![]

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].