Things I learned in 2016

Early January I remember reading a spirituality-related article about the course for 2016 and it stated clearly, it was going to be a year of Transformation. I took it to heart. And thus, started 2016 with optimism and excitement. There were goals to accomplish; thoughtful intentions set; a specific frame of mind brought to focus; and deliberate choices made to stay optimistic and work hard to overcome any adversity the year would send our way.

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And send adversity it did! 2016, the last 6 months of it has been nothing short of emotionally, mentally, and spiritually draining in a pretty brutal way. Through it all, here’s what I’ve learned:

Eat the donut

I get it, you’re eating healthy. You’re eating paleo, low-fat, no dairy, etc. But sometimes you’re going to crave a donut, a cookie, a potato chip. Eat it. Savour it! Enjoy it  and go back to “as you were”.

Let It Go

This probably isn’t what you think. It doesn’t mean letting go of negative thoughts or anything that philosophical. This is coming from a place of burnout from my professional and volunteer commitments. I haven’t been happy to be there, excited about the mission, or eager to participate actively in a long time. Over the past few months, I’ve toyed around with the idea of moving on. And it wasn’t until Bruno died, I realized life was too short to be committed to something I didn’t really care about anymore. I’ve finally made peace with moving on, determined I’ll find something else to commit my time to while contributing to the greater good.

Be kind & be fierce

“Please”, “Thank You”, “Excuse me”, are still magic phrases. Oh, let’s not forget, “Sorry”. I have to admit, I’m one of those over “apologetic Canadians” who over-uses the word for no reason other than to be polite. Crazy, I know. I’m not proud of it. Saying “sorry” all of the time made me feel meek and added to my struggles with letting go of guilt.

I’m learning to pepper “Sorry” with less frequency, only saying it when it’s appropriate and when I really mean it. I’ve also stopped using words like, “just”, as in “Just checking in…” to “I’m checking in….” And I’ve done away with, “I’m wondering if I could…please” to “Yes. I’d like that, please.” Being polite without sounding like push-over. I’m into it.

I’m stronger than i think

This surprised me the most. I am stronger than I thought I was. I’m going through some my darkest days, saddest moments, and greatest heartbreak. But somehow, underneath it all, I have my breath, determination, gratitude, and love. And that’s more than I could ever  hoped for.

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Taking time to heal

It’s been the week from hell.

The being we loved and cared for so much is gone. We’re numb and a part of us is missing. We unexpectedly and very suddenly lost the love of our life, Bruno our Bernese Mountain Dog early this week . Words can’t express the indescribable grief, sorrow, pain, and sadness we feel. We are in pieces.

The doctor believed it was a form of cancer, sadly common with Bernese Mountain Dogs, near the spleen that isn’t curable or treatable. He was the happiest, bravest boy up until the very end.

We’re beyond heart-broken, but somehow find moments of comfort where we remember him and smile. He brought so much joy in our lives and to everyone that knew him and we miss him so, very terribly.

As of late, I’ve been making an effort to post more consistently–every other week for now. But in the midst of our heartbreaking sorrow and grief, I wanted to let you all know, I’ll be absent for a couple of weeks because I need to take time to heal and somehow find a way back to some kind of “normal” without our precious boy.

Thank you for understanding.

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The best gift

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Photo by, Mukesh Jain

This morning was like every other morning. Pretty uneventful, mundane even. It was a routine of writing Morning pages, oil pulling, a light breakfast, watching the morning news, followed by puppy kisses and snuggles. Then, I checked my calendar and got ready for yoga class. But altogether, I wasn’t prepared for how moved and affirmed I would feel today.

Each session, before practice (and sometimes after), my Yoga teacher shares a reading, poem, or saying. Each one might reveal itself as a reminder; a nudge to take a step towards something; bring comfort; or even affirm so much of what we already know.

Well, today’s reading blew me away! Maybe it’s this space I’m in where I’m mourning the loss of a very personal, formerly close relationship. Or maybe it’s because I’m feeling stuck on how to help a friend with an illness. Or just maybe, it was a combination of everything including today’s practice that paved the way to be present and receive this. Who knows?

All I’m sure of, is that this reading came at the best time, and was the best gift I could ask for today! I so very much wanted to share it with you. 🙂

Titled, “And Before the Stars Were Born” by Jeff Foster, I hope it brings you comfort and light or whatever it is you need today.

AND BEFORE THE STARS WERE BORN

The greatest gift you can offer anyone 
is their complete freedom.
Freedom to love, to laugh, to cry,
to feel scared, angry, insecure,
full of doubt or full of joy. 

To hold them in that safe and sacred space.
You don't exist to make anyone else happy.

But you can be present.
Present to their unhappiness, their excitement.
Present to the life that moves in them.

And you can invite them to a deeper Happiness.
The Happiness of Being itself.
The Happiness that holds them exactly as they are.
The way you hold them now.
The way the ground holds the flowers, the trees, 
the great mountain ranges.
The way you were held as a little one.
And before the stars were born.

- Jeff Foster