Learn with me as I share my life lessons

rain and sun

Chumbawamba’s 1997 smash hit Tubthumping perfectly describes the last month of my life.  I definitely got knocked down, but I got up again.  ‘Cause you are never gonna keep me down.

The month of August has been incredibly challenging.  In fact, it’s the worst month I’ve had in many years.

On August 3, our dear Mario had a stroke and had to be put down.  Mario has been my best friend and my rock for the past 10 years and he saw me through a lot of hard times.  I always knew that the day that we had to say goodbye would be incredibly hard but I never imagined just how hard it would be.

I was with him in his last hours, talking to him and trying my best to comfort him as he struggled.  I was quite certain that when our vet arrived, she was going to tell me that he should be put down so I spent those last hours just enjoying our time together.

I cradled him in my arms as he passed; a memory that I relived in my mind for several days after.  It was honestly, the hardest goodbye I have ever had to say.

In the days that followed, I was a mess.  I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house but I hated being it.  It just felt so empty without him.

After a few days, Dave and I decided that getting a rescue cat might help to bring some joy back to our home.  On the Sunday we headed out to meet Lynn from Abandoned Cat Rescue who had a cat in mind that fit our criteria; loving and affectionate.

We had only planned to get one cat but ended up with two; Asher who Lynn had suggested as a good fit and our wee Joy who, during our visit, cuddled up in my lap and well, that was that.

The first weeks with the kittens were super stressful for me.  They were both in a new environment and trying to figure everything out which led to a lot of fighting.  Having never had two cats before, I didn’t really know what to expect, and in my state at the time, I didn’t deal with it well.   They’ve now settled down a bit and have brought so much love into our home. 

In addition to Mario’s passing, I’ve also been dealing with a sick grandmother.  On the day we got the kittens, my sister went down to Chatham to say goodbye to her.  I wanted to go but I just couldn’t.  I was so fragile at that moment that it would have broken me. 

I felt an incredible amount of guilt about not going to say my goodbyes but I have said goodbye in my own way.

On top of all of this, I cancelled my trip to Germany with Opa due to the recent string of violent crime happening over there. 

Never before have my head and my heart been at such war.  My head said that I should cancel but my heart told me what Opa had reminded me of several times; that it might be our last opportunity to travel together.

After weeks of deliberation, I cancelled.  It broke my heart to give up this opportunity to spend time with Opa, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around going to a country that is currently experiencing an increased number or terrorism related incidents.

The combination of these things led to three weeks running on minimal sleep, no appetite and many, many tears.  I had taken days off work here and there, simply because I just couldn’t function.

Last Tuesday, I decided that it was time to put my big girl pants on and get my shit together.  I emailed my boss, who was on holidays at the time, and let him know that I needed a few more days off.

So last Thursday and Friday, my only obligation was to take care of myself.   I went for a relaxing float, had a session with an EAP counsellor and had an amazing reiki session.  I watched Netflix, took naps when I needed them, meditated, and had lots of kitten cuddles.

These self-care days ended up extending into Saturday and Sunday and by Monday, I was finally starting to feel like myself again.

I have been through tough times before so I’ve gotten pretty good at recognizing when I need some assistance.  More importantly, I’ve come to a point in my life where I’m not afraid to ask for it.

In times of crisis, the most important thing we can do is nourish ourselves.  Self-care is so important and despite what many people think, it is one of the least selfish things you can do. 

By getting the help we need to be able to properly function again we are better able to fill our many life roles.  When I was struggling, I was no good to anyone.  Not to Dave, not to the kids, not to my family and friends and certainly not to my employer.

Taking the time that I needed to sort myself proved invaluable and I’m thrilled to say that today is the best day I have had in almost a month.

 I decided to write this blog not to get your sympathy, but in hopes that if you’re struggling, sharing my experience may help you to get back up again.

xo

My Proudest Moment

B Melissa 071.JPG

This blog post proved to be somewhat challenging for me, as I have done so many things in my life that I am proud of.

After much deliberation, I chose my first skydive as my proudest moment.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I am deathly afraid of heights and have been for as long as I can remember.

But contrary to that, I have also wanted to jump out of a plane for as long as I can remember.

My biological Dad was a skydiver and my Mom has jumped many times, so you could say it was bred into me.

I vividly remember the weeks leading up to my first skydive. The nerves.  The doubts.  And most of all, the fear of plummeting to my death.

On that bright, sunny day in 2013, I picked up my friend Melissa and we were off to the most thrilling adventure of our lives. I recall the drive, and how the entire way there, Melissa talked about things like ‘what if the parachute doesn’t open?’ and ‘I wonder if this is a mistake’.

The further we drove, the more freaked out I got, to the point that when we arrived at Skydive Burnaby, I was questioning whether I was actually going to jump.

We went in to the office and checked in and were then forced to sign what is the scariest waiver I have ever seen. After reading about a page of the 8 page document, I just stopped reading and initialed where required and signed my life away at the end.

From there, we went to training, which included a video on what to expect and training on body positioning during the jump.

Then we waited for our turn to come. Most of that time, I sat on a bench, silent, trying not to throw up.

Finally, they called our names over the intercom and it was go time. The walk out to the plane was so unnerving but not nearly as much as the plane ride up.  In a tiny Cesna, we rose at the rate of 1000 feet per minute and in just under 14 minutes, we had reached our jumping altitude.

I remember the sheer terror as my dive master Rick and I made our way to the edge of the plane. One, two, three and out we went.  I think for a moment, I stopped breathing as I looked down at the ground from 13,500 feet.  Free fall lasted approximately 50 seconds and I can honestly say that it was one of the scariest minutes of my life.

Once Rick pulled the chute, we coasted down to earth and landed and there was a deep sigh of relief. I had done it.  I had conquered my biggest fear.  And it was awesome and far exceeded my expectations of the experience.

So, this, my friends, was my proudest moment. The moment I decided to look fear in the eye and say, not anymore…

gold-star

I think we’ve all thought long and hard about our dream job. The job that never feels like work.  The one that leaves us fulfilled and satisfied and always excited to wake up in the morning.

For almost 2 decades, I’ve always said that my dream job would be to be the person who travels to different hotels and resorts in the world and decides how many ‘stars’ they should be given. That is still true today.

Travel is one of my greatest passions and to be able to make money traveling would be incredible.

So if you know of someone who can hook me up with that job, let me know

My Favourite Quote

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I love motivational quotes, so picking a favourite quote proved to be incredibly difficult.

After much deliberation, this is the quote I chose.

Anything-is-possible-quote

I love this quote because it is the epitome of the last several years of my life. I have done so many things that I never thought were possible, simply because I chose to change my thinking.  Believing that anything is possible is the first step to achieving what we want in life.

Be Courageous!

be courageous

Further to my last blog post, I wanted to share my second life message with you, along with the story behind it.

This message was one that came to me as I sat and spoke to Laurie at our photo shoot. She did an incredible job of really drawing out what it was I wanted to share with the world.

My message was ‘Be courageous enough to seek the support that you need’.

Now, why is this important to me?

Back in 2010, I was going through a really rough time in my life. I was at my lowest of lows.  At the time, my life basically consisted of two things; working and sleeping.  When I did go to work, it was with no makeup on, hair in a bun and moping or crying the entire time I was there.  I didn’t want to talk to my friends. I didn’t want to see my family.  All I wanted to do was wallow in my own misery (and man, was I ever good at it).

In a blog post I wrote just over 4 years ago, I spoke about how in 2010, my friend Cathy encouraged me to attend a women’s workshop called Vino and Visions. At this workshop, I met Laurel, a life coach.  She was kind and knowledgeable and friendly and after meeting her, I knew that I needed to work with her.

Laurel and I started doing monthly sessions together in late 2010 and worked together for about a year. Within that year, the changes in me were mind blowing.

After being in such a dark place, I started to see the light. I crawled out from the rock I had been hiding under and starting putting myself back out into the world.  That year was one of huge shifts and changes but it was just the start of my journey.

Admitting to another person that we need help is a very scary thing. When we ask for help, we make ourselves vulnerable and that is not an easy thing to do.  I have always been very strong willed and independent, so seeking out help was a big step for me.  But I’m so glad that I did.

I can’t even imagine what my life would look like now if I hadn’t gotten help. The first step in healing is to admit that we need it.

So, if you’re hurting; if you’re in a bad place; if you’re struggling – I urge you to be courageous enough to seek the support that you need.

This post would not be complete without a big shout out to Cathy Thompson and Laurel Crossley.  Without you ladies, I don’t know where I’d be.  Thank you.  xo

Take a Risk

                            life message

At the Simply Blossoming retreat in October, we did a workshop on Saturday morning with the beautiful Laurie Goodman. Laurie spoke about ‘finding your goosebumps’ and had us think about our ‘life message’.  We were encouraged to talk about our message and why it was so important to us.

During the workshop, the message I wrote down was ‘Be Unstoppable’. This is a major theme in my life and at the time, I felt I needed to share that.

A day after returning home from the retreat, I contacted Laurie to book a session. I didn’t know exactly what message I wanted to share during my session but I knew I had to share.

I sat down and spent some time thinking about my ‘life message’. What message could I share that might inspire others?

I came up with twelve possible messages. Seeing as during my photo shoot, there would only be time to share 2 messages, I really had to narrow it down.  I meditated on it and got it down to seven.  Then I narrowed the field to five.   After some more contemplation, I got the list down to three and decided to take these to my shoot and decide there.

The one message I knew I had to share was “In life, if you don’t risk anything you risk everything.” Before she started taking photos, Laurie asked me about the story behind my message.

In my previous life (as I often refer to it as I was a completely different person back then), I never took risks.

Life back then was safe, easy, comfortable. What it wasn’t was interesting or exciting.  And I got bored.  Bored of doing the same thing every weekend.  Bored of traveling to the same places every time I went on vacation.  Bored of doing the same things, day in and day out.

There is a great Robin Sharma quote that reads ‘Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life’. This is exactly what I was doing.

Very quickly, I came to resent it. Frustration and anger set in and well, that was the beginning of the end of that chapter in my book of life.

After going through a very difficult transition, I realized that in my ‘new life’, I needed to break free of all that had been holding me back. I needed to start to take risks.  I needed to start living and not just existing, as I had done for so many years.

And that is exactly what I did. My life is so different today and I attribute it to stepping up and challenging myself on a regular basis.

Every risk I have taken in life has propelled me to a new level of awesomeness. I have discovered a great amount of courage and strength that I never knew I had.  I have done things in my life that I never knew I was capable of.  I have conquered some of my greatest fears.

When we challenge ourselves and take risks, we open ourselves up to a new level of being. We discover things about ourselves that we never knew.  We move towards becoming our authentic selves.

So take a risk. Take a chance.  Step outside of your comfort zone.  You never know what amazing things you’ll find there.

 

The Great Vacation Debate

In recent months, I have seen the following quote pop up on Facebook a few times;

travel blog 2

The first time I saw it, I was a bit thrown because for me, this quote could not be any further from the truth.

I love to take vacations for many reasons, none of them being the need to escape my life.

I love the research and planning that go into it. I love the preparation and packing. I love my mandatory glass of red wine in the airport bar before boarding my flight.

I love the fact that when I’m on vacation I don’t have to make my bed or cook my meals or go grocery shopping.

I love experiencing different cultures and meeting new people.

Vacationing gives me the opportunity to do things that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do; walk on the Great Wall of China, hike the Inca Trail, go to Oktoberfest in Germany, sit on a white sand beach listening to the ocean.

I don’t look at vacations as an escape from life. I look at them as a way to enhance my already amazing life.

That being said, perhaps this is a more appropriate quote…

travel blog 1

Tag Cloud