A week away from the city

For the last five years my family and I have been camping in various Ontario Parks. We’ve been to Awenda, Silent Lake, Quinte, Sibbald Point and this year we’re checking out Algonquin. I can’t speak for my family, but I look forward to it every year. We book our campsite in February just to make sure we get a good site. Our favourite park is Silent Lake, but we’ve agreed to try a different park every other year. What’s even better is that we have the luxury of checking in on a Sunday, and checking out on a Thursday so we can avoid the crowds.

I feel so blessed though because not only am I getting a chance to go camping for 5 days/4 nights, I’m also going to a friend’s cottage for a couple of nights. A cottage that is honestly just so good for my soul. I’ve been able to spend a lot of time on my balcony, and it’s bee lovely but getting out of the city is incomparable.

I have a few books that I hope to bring with me. I’ll also be bringing my notebook, and I hope to be able to get back into sketching. I really need to get working on finalizing the sketch of my second tattoo after all. Maybe I’ll finally have it this summer.

No matter what happens while I’m away from the city, I am extremely grateful for my upcoming week being able to be one with nature for almost 7 straight days.

Kintsukuroi | Kintsugi Art

I don’t remember when I first heard the term. It could be from one of my favourite bands, Hey Rosetta!, or from one of my best friends who lived in Japan for two years. Anyway…

Kintsukuroi means golden repair, and Kintsugi means golden joinery. Either way, the process results in beautiful pieces of once-broken pottery, vessel or piece that is even more beautiful as any cracks and/or holes have been filled with gold. As someone who has had a lot of things broken in her life – both metaphorically, and literally1 – I can appreciate the ability to turn something broken into something more beautiful that it originally was.

I have an opportunity to do exactly this – take something broken, fill it with beauty, and love and make it better than it was before2. While I’ve never attempted the [literal] process itself, it looks fairly easy, though a little time consuming and a test of patience; I can only imagine that applying the same concept to other aspects of life would also involve similar levels of patience, determination and time.

Patience has never been a strength of mine, but I have been practicing it a lot of late. I would like to think I’ve got a pretty good handle on it, and this would certainly be a good test to see how far I’ve come. I don’t think I’d be attempting this if I wasn’t determined, and time… well… I have no control over that but I’m ready to invest the time and I guess that’s all I can really do.

Apparently, the idea behind Kintsugi comes from the “Zen ideas of Wabi Sabi which cherishes what is simple, pretentious and aged, especially if it has a rustic or weathered quality”. In a world that is so obsessed with the latest technology, or the latest trend in [insert cool thing here], my hopelessly romantic and sentimental soul can’t help but cherish the idea of repairing something broken, and making it stronger in the process.

See it in action:

I couldn’t mention Hey Rosetta! and not show you the song their song called Kintsukuroi. It’s from their latest album called Second Sight, which has been a guilty pleasure for the past 6 months. I love these guys so much. Please enjoy:

Oh, and don’t be fooled by all this, I still love shopping for new things 😉

Footnotes:
  1. I inherited this trait from my mom called, ‘butter fingers’[]
  2. and no, I don’t mean literally[]

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.

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

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[]