18 September 2013

Sometimes a Friendship is Just Over.

You know when a friendship is coming to an end. You just can’t find the motivation to spend any time with that person anymore. Usually because the memories of the last times together still leave a bad taste in your mouth. It’s about a person giving up a feeling of caring for you and not admitting to it. Or it’s an anger that they haven’t expressed about some perceived wrong.

I was in love with a man back in 1998. It was a short relationship that took me a really long time to get over. It took me a long time because of the fantasy. Almost immediately I felt that this was the man I was going to marry. I’ve never felt like this about any one before. It was a feeling, a knowing, that this was the man I was going to marry. I won’t get into depth, I don’t think I can go into depth about it but needless to say it didn’t work out. He told me he loved me but he couldn’t be with me. And it was over.

The interesting thing about it all was this was the first time that I reached out to my friends and said, “I’m heartbroken and I’m having a hard time dealing with this pain.”
I cried on a couple peoples voice mails. I needed support. I needed to be around people who cared about me and I asked for it.

One girlfriend came through once. She’d invited me over to her house. We chatted, I cried, we watched a movie and then her new boyfriend came over to pick her up to go to his performance. I didn’t hear from her again for months. The entire summer went by and we were approaching winter before she’d finally started calling me. I didn’t return her calls.

As I look back on the relationship with this girlfriend, I remember that I’d already been feeling like our friendship needed a break, at the least, or was coming to an end. You know how it is, you just don’t enjoy yourself as much when you spend time with some people. They make decisions about how they want to behave going forward and it could put a substantial strain on your patience.

For instance, I can remember this same girlfriend had decided one year, “this year is going to be All About Me.” And throughout the year she’d announce constantly, “It’s all about me! It’s all about me” It was truly trying especially for the friends who had been with her all along. What does that mean, it’s all about you? What about us, the people who’ve always been here for you and supported you? A couple of us considered dropping out of her life.

So when she didn’t call me for months it was the perfect opportunity to call it a day. So I did. We are in peoples lives for a reason and when the reason is gone...

A couple of points come up as I think about this. I needed to move away from that relationship as a part of my healing. When I’m in anger mode and that is all that I can focus on... When all I can think of about a friendship are the negatives, I think, for me, it’s time to move on. It may be for a short time. It may be that it takes a decade to see things from a different perspective. It may be that the friendship will never ever happen again. It happens as it happens.

We have recently, within the last year, resumed contact with each other. It’s not the same kind of friendship, obviously. But we are friendly. I can remember all the things I’ve always liked about her again.

The ideas that are popping up for me now, as I look back on this lesson of friendship is that I had certain expectations. I set expectations on how I thought I should be treated during my time of need. I was upset, I made the meaning of her caring or lack of caring about, “you didn’t call me for 6 months when you knew I was depressed and heartbroken.” And the big part of all of that is I never said anything to her about it. I didn’t give her a chance to say her peace. Granted, as I said earlier, after the ‘all about me’ year I needed a break.

I think that we can be cowards. We’re all guilty of this. At some point something happens in our lives and we have the expectation that certain people should show up for us. We have a health issue and we think our best friend should show up. We’re going through a hard time and we think our friends should care in a certain way. They should care in the way that we say. But if someone is being exactly who they are we have to then understand that they may only be able to give so much. And the bigger point, there may be a bigger reason why they simply cannot show up. They just don’t want to anymore, can be one of those reasons.

I have to accept that I play a part in all that happens around me. All that I create. I also have to hope that the more I delve into what I see, the more I will learn. As we know better, we do better...

I’ve discussed this before - accepting people exactly the way they are and accepting myself exactly the way I am. I think it’s a huge theme for the future, for everyone. We hear it, we’ve said it, if we’re going to stop wars, if we’re going to ever see world peace we have to stop trying to insist that all people be just like us. We have to learn to accept everyone’s differences. I’m no philosopher nor an academic so I won’t get into the atrocities that we humans commit against one another and entire countries.

I have another girlfriend. Her achilles heel is that people abandon her. She has told me on several occasions, “it seems like out of the blue someone freaks out on me and they basically tell me to go fuck myself and then they’re gone from my life. They don’t want to be my friend anymore. It has happened so many times and I don’t know why.”

I’ve been a coward. I suspect why some people have left her life, burning that bridge beyond repair. I’ve told her in one instance but not in all of them. She has the answer to everyones life, all the time. She has the answer with a touch of venom using poison tipped words. And she blames the person for any bad in his or her life. She’s simply not nice anymore. And she’s always had that insensitive edge to her. One of those, “I’m just telling you this for your own good” which is supposed to absolve her of any wrong when she says something without tact. You can tell somebody something for their own good without being an asshole.

She’s going through what so many of us go through once we hit a certain age. It’s having to face the reality that all of our childhood dreams have not been met. Let’s look at my realities - I never became a dancer. I’m still an unpublished writer. I’ve never been married or had children. Heck, I don’t even live in a fancy anything. I’ve accepted that. The only thing that hurts is being unpublished.

This girlfriend hasn’t accepted her reality and worse, she’s mad at those of us who are living our lives the best way we can and we are all starting to realize that about her. She cannot find a way to be happy when one of us has a nice bit of happiness enter our lives.

So slowly as I realize that this is exactly who she is. This is what she is going through. I spend less time with her. I would guess that so does everyone else. Hey, my life sucks too sometimes, I don’t need to make it suck more by spending the little free time I have with someone who is filled with venom.

Needless to say, she went through a breakup similar to mine and when she called asking for help she threatened, “If someone doesn’t call me back I’m going to do something really bad to myself.”

And that loaded word obligation came up. I didn’t want to call but I didn’t want to be left with the guilt that if I didn’t call and she did do something to herself that somehow I would have been at fault. So I called. She wasn’t a crying mess like I had been. She was angry and filled with all the answers as to how she is filled with a power that had intimidated her boyfriend and that’s why he left. Okay. When I changed the subject and asked about mutual friends, she proceeded to blame one for being sick, said another one was in an arranged situation (‘there’s really no love there) and asked me when I was going to get off my ass and get my writing done. Did I mention she doesn’t work and I work a full-time job and a part-time job? Yes it’s easy to have all the answers for the world at large when you haven’t worked a day in your life. But that’s just a little of my venom.

After that call I didn’t bother to call her for 6 months. I just couldn’t be bothered. I felt like her cry for help was emotional blackmail, a manipulation and I just couldn’t be a part of it. Emotional blackmail is one of my achilles heels. Emotional blackmail gets you to say yes when you don’t want to say yes for fear that should you say no something really bad could happen and by extension it would be your fault. I do not respect anyone who gives me no choice other than doing what they want me to do. IT MAKES ME HATE!

Anyway. We recently got together for dinner. I didn’t really want to go but I figured since it had been at least 6 months maybe it was the time to approach the subject. The moment I saw her I realized that nope, it wasn’t going to be discussed. The first thing out of her mouth was a careless remark that was basically like a laugh at how hard I work. Basically I’m a loser in her eyes.

I sat across from her and for the first time ever all I saw was an ugly person. Her skin looked ugly, her eye contact was angry and ugly. She was ugly to me. I knew that her poison tipped words were probably about her anger towards me. She is angry that I haven’t called her in six months. She is angry that I didn’t support her in her time of need. She didn’t ask me why I haven’t been available and I didn’t volunteer the information. Another girlfriend said to me last night, “that dinner was the funeral for your relationship.” Truth!

As I look back at the girlfriend who didn’t call me for six months, I wonder had she felt she’d done enough of what she could possibly give me at that time? Was I putting on her expectations of what I wanted not considering what she could do? Does my heartbreak mean that everyone else should stop what they are doing to sit vigil by my side? Does your heartbreak mean that I have to sit vigil? And it brings me back to accepting people exactly the way they are and accepting myself exactly the way I am.

Byron Katie shared a story a few years ago about her husband who wasn’t interested in joining on family outings. The outing were with her grown up kids and he didn’t have kids. And overall he just wasn’t interested. She made it into a thing briefly and then finally set him free from having to attend. She made family plans without him and found she enjoyed those outings more because she wasn’t worrying about him having a good time. And he went off and did his own thing. It wasn’t too long before once he had the freedom he started joining the family outings and started having a good time himself. She said something along the lines that when she realized she wasn’t responsible for him and accepted that the family thing wasn’t his thing it made everything easier. And for him, he needed the freedom to choose and when he did have the freedom he actually chose them.

I’m really trying to find that place of true full out acceptance. Removing false expectations and obligations from others and hopefully they will do the same for me.

The best analogy has always been about giving money to charity. It would be ridiculous to donate your entire pay cheque to a charity leaving you with no money to pay rent, get groceries etc. No, you give a portion of your pay. You give what you can afford to give.

I want to accept that people, my friends, my loved ones are giving me what they can afford to give emotionally, spiritually, keeping their own well being in consideration. I want to remove the focus on what I think they ought to give me, how they ought to support me. How many phone calls are enough phone calls if I’m heartbroken. Because if I lift my head and look around, other people did support me through that heart break. I wasn’t alone.

That work as yoga practice has really been helping me to look at my life from a different perspective, with a different attitude. And zero in on where I cause my own problems and zero in on what meanings I give to events that don’t have to mean the most negative.

And that said, sometimes a friendship is just over.

This was a long piece. If you’ve made it through the whole piece SERIOUSLY Thank you for reading!


Work/Yoga Mindset

02 September 2013

Connections in Life

I love when I see the themes and connections in my life.
The day that I was re-writing Sally Kempton’s article about the Work/Yoga mindset, Scott Sonnon posted about the “What the Hell Effect”. At the end of his post he wrote, “No cheat days. In Anything. Ever. “

My initial reaction is that scares me. That means no laziness. No procrastination, that if the truth be told, I have created an art form in procrastination. ART FORM! If you want to learn more about the Practice of Procrastination for a mere $9.99, please send your dollars to... Shelley-Lynne Domingue


But as I thought about it more, “No cheat days. In Anything. Ever.” I brought it down into more manageable bites. First off is the Work/Yoga mindset. For it to work, for it to change my life, there can be no cheat days. When I looked at that, I connected into where I wasn’t taking a cheat day, when I normally would.

After my week off in August, I promised myself that I would get back to doing yoga every morning before I go to work. We know all the benefits of working out so I won’t get into all that. But it took me a bit of a conversation with myself to find the DVD that I would use. My main purpose is that I want to feel ready with energy for the work day when I leave my house. And I want to have the proper mindset.

I’ve noticed that a lot of yoga DVD’s irritate me when I do them in the morning. And it’s the chatter. If I were ever asked how the design the best yoga DVD, I would say have two work outs. One with the instructions and chatter and the other one that is exactly the same but only says the positions you are getting into and then silence. Silence!

I could get into a good rant about this, but I’ll cut myself short. I don’t think they are conscious of the fact that you will hear them say the same thing every single day because if they were more mindful of it... I remember Pink saying on Oprah that she has to turn the sound down on P90X because that guy’s voice gets on her nerves. lol

Anyway, I lucked out and picked the right DVD on the first try. Fat Free Yoga by Ravi Singh & Ana Brett. If you try it, it’s not the traditional downward dog yoga. It is Kundalini Yoga. Immediately Monday I felt great, really great. I didn’t feel like I could crash in the afternoon and since I was working both jobs on Monday, I felt just as great when I got to my part time job.

Okay, I was off for a week so how tired would I be? Tuesday morning I rolled myself out of bed and onto my yoga mat promising myself that if I could just do the work out everything would be okay. And it was. Same high energy level at work on Tuesday.
I’ve done that work out every single day this week without negotiating with myself, without coming up with any excuses to press the snooze button for just 15 more minutes. Just open eyes, roll out of bed, doing drunken sleepy walk to put on my yoga gear and start yoga.

No cheat days. In Anything. Ever.

What I love about Kundalini Yoga, why I chose this practice above any other yoga practices, is that I like the work out, the breath work and the mantras. To MY inner knowing, that is what yoga is. No criticism of anyone else’s choice. This is my choice.

What I’ve been looking for within this practice over the years, is my chosen mantra. When I got my tattoo last week, I silently chanted Sat Nam and in the painful parts of the tattoo process, I silently chanted Sa Ta Na Ma. It was helpful. But I still want a personal mantra that resonates with me. I have yet to find it, I know I will.

On Friday, after work I was walking through the Ryerson University grounds. Frosh week has begun. A man asked me if I worked a Ryerson. No. That’s okay, I can still offer you this. And he gave me a business card of a new yoga centre that focuses on yoga mantras, chanting and singing. Seriously, dude!

He (Sam) says, “although I don’t know why I stopped you because you look so relaxed, what’s your practice?”
Me: “Ha ha! I am relaxed. This is the, “I get to leave work early on a long weekend” practice of relaxation.” And I cracked myself up.

Sam was holding the Bhagavad Gita in his hand. I extended the conversation with, “it’s funny that you should be holding that book because...” and I pulled out my paper that I did on the Work/Yoga mindset and said that Sally Kempton took quotes out of the Bhagavad Gita. Sam showed me the same quote from my paper in the book and then found me a mantra to try out. I love those little magical moments when everything connects.

This morning I woke up from my dream. I dreamt that not only did I see Prince in concert but after his concert, he came over to my place to hang out. We discussed how when the music is really flowing for him, he could play his concert all night long if they let him. I talked about the times that I’ve been in that writing flow, when I’ve tried to go to sleep and keep jumping up to write down the words and sentences that are dancing in my head. They just won’t let me sleep and that’s the best feeling.

A couple of funny notes in my dream -
1- friends kept dropping in to my place and I never outed Prince. But in one conversation with my friend Sarah who looked like Britney Spears (bahaha) she said something about feeling like she could go and perform somewhere nonstop until she couldn’t move. I pointed at Prince and said, “Yes we were just talking about that.” Sarah/Britney looked over at Prince, did a double take and then looked at me. I smiled and nodded Yes, as if to say yes, that’s really who you think it is.

2- at one point Prince sits down on my kitchen floor, leaning against the wall. I sit beside him and say, “the floor is a little dirty. I was going to clean up before I went to your concert but I figured, why worry about it, it’s not like I’m going to pick up a guy and bring him home. Especially not PRINCE!” I cracked myself up in my dream.

The next night in my dream, Prince and I were saying our good byes in a park, with an art exhibit.
I ran to catch up to him and said, “Scott Sonnon had a post on facebook recently and it really resonates with me and me spending this time with you. It was ‘no cheat days, in anything, ever.’”
Prince nodded his head in agreement, we hugged and parted ways.

So I’m thinking, that’s my mantra.

No Cheat Days. In Anything. Ever!


Scott Sonnon's "What the Hell Effect!"

Fat Free Yoga by Ravi Singh and Ana Brett

Scott Sonnon's Being From Prague response

I deleted today the following post to my Timeline:


"Being from Prague, I'm very curious why you post pictures of your self? Do you do it only to take money from people who think you're pretty, because you lack self-esteem and need other people to coddle you with praise, or is it both because all Americans are so vain and capitalistic? Same question for your incessant repetition of your childhood stories; is it because people are stupid enough to buy a book of yours because you had a difficult childhood, or is it because your ego compulsively needs people to tell you how beautiful and wise you have deceived them into thinking you look and sound now? Like you, I'm a member of MENSA so I can see the manipulation you're hypnotizing people with. I'm smart and fit now too, but I don't whine about being made fun of in school for when I was stupid and fat. ~ Fredrick"


After deleting the above from my page, I decided a reply would be helpful, so I offer this story.

Hi Fredrick,

Let me share with you a story from when I was "a child." From forced company of socially estranged misfits, I fell into role playing games, and rapidly became a D&D fanatic. I'd spend hours (if not days) absorbed in the library, doing background research on the history, geography, mythology and ethos of the campaigns, becoming intellectually ravenous for any morsel which would add visual depth to the game.

But I observed a strange phenomenon: regardless of whether my character type had been chosen as a warrior, thief, cleric, assassin, paladin, ranger, or barbarian, the character would inevitably develop the same annoying character traits, fall into the same frustrating predicaments, and be surrounded by the same array of impossible obstacles and obstinate people.

Hopefully, being such a smart person, you have already figured out my discovery. But as a 13 year old boy, imagine my surprise when I had realized that the common denominator among all of these asinine characters was... me. I had been objectively observing a cross-verified sample of my own personality traits. Regardless of skills, environment, background, opportunities and challenges, my most undesirable character traits manifested in the role playing. They were glaring, grating reflections.

At that point, I had a single brilliant thought. Each of us has a few in our lifetime; and this had been one of my most important: if I changed the undesirable traits in myself, then all of my characters would improve in any campaign they underwent. So, I began work on myself:
--> to start being accountable for my own actions rather than blaming others,
--> to stop complaining about what I ought to be entitled to and started to focus on earning my keep,
--> to stop feeling self-righteous about my opinion and started seeking to understand others perspectives,
--> to stop fleeing dire circumstances for my own safety and started standing my ground for a worthy cause even at personal loss.

Astoundingly to me, as I worked on myself, my gaming improved; all of my characters became more successful, admired and fulfilling to play. That's when I stopped gaming. I had extracted its most secret value: the game, for me, was just an opportunity to gaze in my mental mirror. When I saw what my reflection actually looked like, I had learned the solution to my childhood problems: ME! I was the problem AND the solution. If I changed the behaviors and habits which kept me in my abusive, terrifying, destitute circumstances, then my environment would change as well.

And it did, as I did. Now, I still continue to this very day to consider the hologram I'm currently projecting out into the world. What is it that I see in others and of my situations? Do I see ugliness or beauty, apathy or love, hate or compassion, anxiety or impatience, fear or faith, scarcity or abundance; what do I REALLY see, rather than what do I wish I'd see? What I see is not the world, but my perception of it. If my perception is undesirable, it is not the hologram which ought to (or even, can) alter, but the projection camera.

You say you're an intelligent guy being a member of the High IQ Society. Use that big brain of yours to look at that which you are perceiving in others. You may not like the reflection you see, but you will regain power to change your perception. Your world will improve as you do.

Very Respectfully,
Scott Sonnon

Scott Sonnon

Facebook does have it’s benefits. One of the things I like the most is that you can see what your friends press ‘like’ on. I noticed my friend Tanya was always liking this guy’s post and when she commented on his posts, she’d call him Coach.

Who is this Scott ‘coach’ guy? Is he a life coach? So I started clicking into his posts.
Writing wise, he does everything I would like to eventually do. He gives personal anecdotes that provide an experiential teaching. He wasn’t the cool kid, or the good looking kid. He was the over weight kid. He was the kid who wasn’t supposed to amount to anything. He was the kid who was told, by the well-meaning, that he should have realistic goals. Don’t dream too big, you’ll be disappointed.

If I were to describe who Scott is, well, it would fall short of all he encompasses on his page. And don’t we get too focused on trying to describe who people are rather than focusing on the gifts that they give? Needless to say I’ve been following him for a year or so now.

One thing I could never understand about Scott was why he always responds to the negativity. We’ve all read those comment sections in articles or on facebook pages where there are the ‘anonymous’ posters who take a crap on what’s just been said. They take a crap on the views expressed. They take a crap on the people who want to move up in their thinking instead of staying in the dirty gutter of negativity.

I’d read some of Scott’s posts responding to those types and I’d think, “Scott, why do you bother? You can’t change them!”

And then it clicked in, it’s not them he’s trying to change. He’s showing on a daily basis that he has a particular focus and no matter what the gutter dwellers say, he isn’t losing that focus. ‘So thank you for your comment, you have a right to it, and this is what I believe and have a right to believe.”

It connects so well with what I mentioned in a previous blog entry about accepting others exactly the way they are providing the opening to then accept ourselves exactly the way we are.

Scott’s posts teach me everyday to stay focused in doing what I want to do, no matter the criticisms. And There Will Be CRITICISMS! Right? Always criticisms. I wrote him a quick note to tell him that I finally got what he was doing. And Thank you because it is so important for us to learn - At Any Age!

This is my Personal One Year of a new Nine year cycle, as I mention a lot ;) And I’ve learned some profound things this year. I’ve been learning the deeper meanings of what I thought I already knew. The most recent reason why I sent Scott a message was about his response to “Being From Prague”. I will post his response as a blog entry.

I had an AHA moment about being centred. I told Scott that what I’ve really learned is that he is role-modeling how to be centred - physically, emotionally and spiritually. I’ve always understood being centred as being grounded, feet firmly planted, the physical aspect of being grounded. But I’d never brought the discipline of thinking into it. I’m seeing more and more that thinking/ thought is a discipline.

The discipline of thought is running a race and not getting distracted by the people in the stands screaming your name or your opponent’s name. It’s performing as your character in a play and not noticing your family in the audience. It’s the practice of Work as Yoga and not being attached to a specific outcome. Fully in your centre.

It reminds me of a question that Wayne Dyer asks in one of his PBS specials, “ What comes out of you when you’re squeezed?”
He says if you squeeze an orange you always get orange juice. But if someone squeezes you do they get anger, venom, what do they get?

We can choose what it is that comes out of us regardless of what is going on. We can remain in our centre even when we are squeezed. We need the discipline of our thoughts to bring us forward. Who am I kidding, all those sentences should say “I, not we!” ha-ha!

Sometimes my mind is like Houdini struggling to get out of a restraint, except he was gifted and quick. lol What do I choose to come out of me when I am squeezed?


Scott Sonnon on Facebook

Work Yoga Attitude Makeover

My friend Sarah posted a link to an an article by Sally Kempton about bringing a yogic attitude to your work. (The link to the article will be at the end of this blog entry. ) And it affected me profoundly. It’s so funny how sometimes I can remember how much smarter I was when I was younger in some things. I think it was because I kept things simple. But that was more of my work attitude in my early working days.

Anyway, I read the article, highlighted what resonated with me then brought it down to a page of focus for me to look at each morning before I go to work.
Here are the tidbits that I find helpful, I’ve changed some of the wording to suit my needs:

What matters most is not what you do, but how you do it.
1- Throw yourself completely into a task. Do whatever you do impeccably, with full attention. Approach your work with your full presence and with your highest quality of attention.

EY note - I’ve always been this way but I’d been doing it angrily, lately.

At the beginning of a task, say to myself, “Looking back on this, How would I have wanted to perform this task?”

2- Surrender your attachment to results. You never know how things will turn out. You simply can’t know if anyone will buy your novel or whether someone at another company will notice the work you do and offer you a great job. Consider what it would look like to do your work for the sake of the work alone. Discover how you can, moment by moment, release your attachment to outcomes. Consider how you can live your passion and yet detach yourself from how things turn out.

EY Note - There are no promises in anything we do but there can be gifts that we never expected.

3- Do your work as Service. (I wrote to think of the idea of my day job as me doing a service for my writing)
Do something for the sake of being helpful.
Shift that inner attitude from “What am I not getting?” to “What can I give?”
Shift from “Something’s wrong with this situation” to “How can I help make it better?”
Begin taking action at work, ask yourself, “Who or what does this serve?”

EY Note - I like this because it removes the bitterness of feeling like I’m doing all this work while others are screwing the pooch. It doesn’t matter what they are doing. What matters is that I am keeping my focus.

I also added the note, which is so important, “Being of service is not the same thing as martyring yourself for a cause or letting yourself be exploited. Consider yourself in the equation. Think about what you need in order to serve at your best. And Stand up for yourself!”

4- Make Your Work an offering
Whatever you do, make it an offering, bringing an attitude of devotion to your actions.
“I offer this day asking that my actions be beneficial for all beings.”
Whatever you are doing, whether it is “important” or “unimportant”, you can offer it. And by offering your work, your practice, and even your small everyday actions, you align yourself with the universe, and your work becomes yoga - the natural path to union with the whole.

Sally Kempton wrote a great article which goes more in depth, obviously. I hope it gives you the gifts it has given me. And Thanks Again Sarah!


Bring a yogic attitude to your work and find satisfaction in your job, no matter what it is. By Sally Kempton

28 August 2013

Girlfriends, Themes and My Cats

Of course I was on vacation last week. Partially because I needed a serious break from work and how frustrated I'd been feeling. Partially because I wanted to get going on my apartment purge (I've given myself a two year goal, by the way). And partially because I needed some girlfriend time and it's so much easier to make it happen with the time off. I saw four girlfriends during my stay-cation and the conversations all had the same theme.

Everyone of the conversations delved into letting people go and when it's time to let people go.
There are so many reasons that we stay friends with someone, stay in a bad relationship past the expiry date and even continue on in a career/job that is dissatisfying. For me, I find that I will justify a lot of bad behaviour before one thing finally hits my 'letting go' nerve and I'm done. But I realize that, truly, I get stuck in obligation.

We've been friends for this long, even though you say shitty, flippant things to me and belittle what makes me happy.
He just needs to get past this bad period in his life and he'll be nice again.
She's family. You can't distance yourself from family.
I'm calling because I feel like I HAVE to call but I don't actually want to call.

I believe more and more that feeling obligated is a shackle around my neck. It wastes my time. It's not honest and that makes me feel twice as bad. It's not honest because I'm doing something I don't want to do. And it's not honest because I'm not accepting the person (or situation) for exactly who they are. I'm hoping the person will change and be the way she used to be, the way I want her to be...

How many times have we heard, "Just accept it. This is the way it is" when we complain about a situation?
We nod our heads sheepishly and agree, "You're right." Most times.

I'm thinking about this more for people too. "Accept it, Shelley, this is the way SHE is" hmm

If I accept her for exactly the way she is then that means I no longer have to feel the need to stay and change her. I can accept all her behaviours and I have the right to walk away because I am accepting me for exactly who I am too. It doesn't matter how long we've been lovers or friends or even family, time flies by too quickly for me to get stuck in the shackles of obligation. If a person is continually insensitive and I call her on it and she makes it my fault for her insensitivity, I have an important choice to make. She is saying that she isn't going to apologize or change, and she doesn't have to, and I don't have to stay.

I'm totally interested in the other side of the story too. It's clearly not as simple as me walking away or letting go of a relationship. How do I play my part in the other person's story?

My best anecdote is about the woman who took care of my cats while I was away. This is a woman who has admitted that she is lonely and doesn't have many friends.

There was more than enough food. I feed my cats crunchy food TD Cal that I buy from my vet. I got a brand new bag so there was more than enough. The bag lasts them a month. I was away for a week.

I feed my cats canned food once a week (even less) and they share a tiny can. I told her that if the cats seemed out of sorts she could give them two cans during the week as a treat. One can on two different occasions.

I come back from my trip and she informs me, "that's not good cat food. They like the canned with the gravy and the morsels."
Ohh ho Kay, so that means she's fed them the food that I feed them, goes out and buys them food (that they don't need) and feeds them how many cans?

I shrug it off, okay fine, I'm grateful to have had someone watch them while I was gone. My two grown cats are fine on their own but I would have been worried about Stormy the one year old.

She opens the drawer where I keep their canned food to show me she'd bought them two bags of cat treats and a popular named crappy canned food and it's twice the size of the cans I feed them. Holy Shit!

She tells me, "You should feed them this, they love this." She has the tone of voice that makes me feel as if she is saying that I don't know anything about cats and I'm not taking proper care of them.

Of course if my cats were kids, she wouldn't dream of taking them to McDonald's every day for a week. Kids love McDonald's! Well the food she gave 'my kids' was the equivalent of that.

I felt like I was obligated (the shackle) to accept what she'd done and keep the grateful attitude for her taking care of them. I was grateful, but seriously, they had everything they needed. She didn't need to spend any money. I would never leave someone to take care of my cats without enough supplies.

There were more shenanigans. She'd move my furniture around because she didn't feel that Gatsby had to eat his food under my work out bench. I, of course, put his food there because he likes eating his food there. He used to take his food in his mouth, run under the work out bench, drop the food on the floor and then slowly eat it. He likes to eat there.

And then she nit picked. She told me everything that was wrong, in her opinion, with my apartment. She asked me why I didn't use my work out paraphernalia more. She insulted the sheets on my bed. "These are not good sheets."

No stone was left unturned.

So I'm curious, it's the writer in me. I'm curious about the story she's creating for me to play my part and walk away so she can stay in being lonely and not having many friends. What part of any of this stops this woman from being lonely and not having many friends? Absolutely nothing. She must mean well?!? All I kept thinking was, "Didn't your parents teach you any fucking manners?"
What could she possibly be thinking?

I feel like all of this is a big thing for me this year. How do I want to spend my time? Who do I want to share my time with? Am I going to focus on your snide remarks when you say you love me? Or am I going to focus on those who "show" me they love me? What am I willing to tolerate? Do I have to feel like I'm tolerating something?

I know that it's all important because I've been here before. I know that so much of what has been happening with some people and what some others are discussing with me is helping me to be and stay clear. That's all I can ask for, clarity.


Here are some old blog entries on this old cycle:

Silence May 17, 2012

Clearing Old Energy June 5, 2011

I Want To Feel Good May 28, 2011

27 August 2013

The Book Purge has Ended - For Now

I have to say that this whole purge thing is labour intensive. It is far more work than the years of purchasing. ha-ha!
I've managed to pull out all of my books from the bins and trunks and boxes that I had of them. I got rid of a good chunk of books and now nothing is hidden away. All the books I still have I can actually see and reach. So next will be to do a whole lot of reading and to continue to purge.

I think it will be easier to let go of more books once I purge more of my other things. But in the meantime I feel like I've done a good job. I sold a few books and left a whole lot on the window sill of my apartment building for others to pick through. And they did! Walking down the stairs and seeing the books rearranged and disappearing was a satisfying feeling.

My trunk that was filled with books is now filled with my handbags and purses. I won't be purging those anytime soon because I actually use them all. So that's a great place to keep them since they are easier to access.
One of the rubbermaid bins that was filled with books now has my sheets, pillowcases and my electric blanket in it and is strategically placed under my bed.

So it was a good week of accomplishment considering starting with books was the hardest thing to do. The good thing about starting with the hardest thing is that I'm starting to feel more ruthless.

I met with a couple girlfriends, while I was on vacation, and brought one some activity books (from my Child and Youth work days) and stuffed animals for her daughter. The activity books she can grow into. And for my other girlfriend who has a boy and a girl, I brought her the rest of the small stuffed animals. Because she's a teacher, if her kids don't want the stuffed animals (like they wouldn't - hee-hee) she can bring them to school. I kept my oversized stuffed animals, for now since they already have a spot in my apartment. There are a few I will keep, like my mom's teddy bear from when she was a child and my teddy bear from when I was a child.

I took a break last weekend since I had to do laundry and get groceries and all those kind of chores. Plus it was the last of my vacation and I didn't want to be handcuffed to the purge. It was good to relax and get back to the mindset of going back to work on Monday. And I felt good about going back to work so that was all good.

Tonight I came home with a purpose and got rid of a whack of picture frames that have been in a pile forever and made more room for my cookbooks. I'm going to go through them at some point and whittle them down. It's so easy to get recipes on the internet, which I mostly do these days but there are still some cookbooks that I'll want to keep.

I was flipping through the minimalists site last night at my part-time job and jumped on to a post about throwing out/ getting rid of one thing per day. I like that idea as well. So I'm finding that trying ANYTHING and everything is probably my best bet.

And my binders. I've been looking through my binders of papers that I can scan to pdf and save on a flash drive.

And that's how the purge goes for now. :)


24 August 2013

Scott Sonnon's Morning Exercise

As a morning exercise to focus my day, charge my body, vitalize my emotions and clarify my vision, I recorded the 29 Most Impacting Attitude Changes I started doing which has kept me on my path:

1. Instead of mulling around the wrong people, places, activities, food and attitudes, I started walking with the right ones.

2. Instead of running away from my obstacles, anxieties and fears, I started turning and running at them. (Most disappeared; the remainder, I finally began resolving.)

3. Instead of lying to myself, I held myself accountable. Even if they hurt, they turned out to be for the better.

4. Instead of putting my needs second, I began to put them first; and as a result, my best use better served others.

5. Instead of trying to be someone I'm not, I began to embrace everything I am (and discovered my uniquenesses which no one else can duplicate.)

6. Instead of clutching the pain of the past or chasing the worry of the future, I began to relish the incredible potential of "right now."

7. Instead of being afraid of making mistakes, I started to embrace them with humor and gratitude for the path to my success has been paved with my failures but overgrown when I had quit and when I never had started.

8. Instead of beating myself up about prior mistakes, I began to see their experience and insight had brought me to my awareness of the right choices.

9. Instead of trying to purchase happiness, I started to give it away (and - ironically - have become happy finally.)

10. Instead of hoping others would make me happy, I decided I was perfectly enough, and as a result, capable of happiness without anyone filling a perceived void within me.

11. Instead of drifting on the current, I decided to GROW with the flow, and - all things be damned - stand against it, if my values compelled me.

12. Instead of worrying that I wasn't ready for something, I accepted that no one can be perfectly prepared. I stepped up to bat and started swinging; and made a few great hits that I'd never had, would I have not swung and missed some.

13. Instead of getting involved with relationships for the wrong reasons, I candidly opened conversations on the right reasons for me to stay with someone. Many left; those who mattered, always have remained.

14. Instead of rejecting new relationships because of past hurts, I accepted that risking pain of lost love is better than risking loss of opportunities to feel love.

15. Instead of competing against everyone in order to win everything, I started to play with everyone in all things, and discovered I could not lose anything.

16. Instead of coveting the scarce resources I did not have, I started expressing gratitude for the abundance I did (and surprisingly, greater fulfillment followed.)

17. Instead of complaining, and pitying myself, I started cheering and celebrating myself; instead of lamenting the limitations of my disabilities; I started relishing the limitlessness of my genius.

18. Instead of holding space for grudges in my heart, I freed myself from their bondage. Forgiving others didn't excuse their behaviors and attitudes; it liberated my own.

19. Instead of letting others drag me down, I either gave them a hand up, or lived my life unapologetically. (Surprisingly, like those others above me had inspired me to climb, some stopped trying to drag others down, and climbed up themselves.)

20. Instead of trying to apologize for being myself, I started thanking others for being true to themselves. Ironically, living authentically became effortless.

21. Instead of pushing incessantly to fill a sense of lacking worth, I took periodic pauses to marvel at the life given to me, and appreciated ever more greatly the blessing of being able to drive for that in which I so passionately believe.

22. Instead of awaiting the next big thing to be completed, or to arrive, I started reveling in the continual stream of the little things; and discovered they hold the greatest significance.

23. Instead of trying to make everything perfect, I realized they already are, even when they're full of flaws and mistakes... just like me.

24. Instead of following the path of least resistance, I started creating the path upon which my heart compelled me to explore... No matter how great the resistance; and realized, only ever a solitary individual with one humble act had ever turned the tide. It started with me.

25. Instead of living the lie that everything is fine, when I found unacceptable circumstances, I calmly but defiantly began saying no. Ironically, more chances to say yes began to appear.

26. Instead of giving away my power by blaming others, I started empowering myself with the responsibility to change.

27. Instead of trying to be all things to all people, I decided I was going to be everything I could whenever I could. Ironically, I found myself of greater value to more people.

28. Instead of worrying so much, I started believing in the power of faith. By giving up anything I could not change to God, I began able to change everything that I needed to change for myself.

29. Instead of fixating on what I didn't want to happen, I started vividly imagining what I did, passionately pursing it, enjoying the steps, and relishing my mistakes. Surprisingly, what I most wanted, what I ultimately needed, began to happen more often.

Very Respectfully,
Scott Sonnon

17 August 2013

Minimalist in Training or The Big Purge of 2013

Last night, I started Day 1 of getting rid of my stuff. I started with books because my place is filled with them and books will be the hardest thing to let go of. I started with three empty boxes:
1- Keep
2- Recycle/Garbage
3- Sell

As I was sorting through the books in the shelves under my window I could see how difficult this could be. Talk about emotional attachments to books. When you write and even beyond that, when you love to read, it's hard to let go. I wasn't getting too far because honestly, the books were going in the keep box and the Sell box was empty. So I added a fourth box - Undecided. That helped me to pull some books out of the Keep box and really got the process flowing. And some books started making it in to the sell box as well.

I went to a used book store on my way home from work on Monday and asked if they buy a lot of books, "Like buggies full," and Buddy said they are happy to buy buggies full. It's a good quality used book store so they'd be going to a good way station before they go to a good home. Um, yes, emotional attachment to books.

I've negotiated with myself on a couple things to make the process easier.
1- Now that I've unplugged the television, I can read more of the books I do own and then sell them
2- The books that I sell immediately, I will write a list of titles and authors (that still interest me) and I can purchase them on Kindle or Kobo, if I really want to read them. I know full well that my attention goes off in other directions so I probably won't buy them for my e-reader but it's the mind trick I'm playing with myself that will help me to move it along.

I set aside some children's books that I will pass on to my girlfriend for her young daughter. The little one isn't quite at reading age but she is definitely at being read to age. Plus some activity books from my child and youth work days, that will definitely be interesting to her for years to come. Especially since My friend is very crafty.

So really it's become 5 boxes.

I figure I'll start this way first and once I've gone through everything I will do the major one, that the minimalists recommend, packing up everything in your house as if you are moving and finding out what you actually use during a week or two and what you never touch. It makes sense to have less stuff before I do that one.

I do live in an apartment building where, if you leave your discarded stuff on the window sills in the stairway, other people pick up what they want from it. But with books (emotional attachment) if I leave them out there and they aren't taken I always take them back. I can't bear the thought of books ending up in the garbage. So that's the main reason why I'm selling them.

I took the week off work as a needed vacation because last week was pretty irritating and I realize that it was irritating because I haven't had time off since Bermuda and that was the first week of June. Only I could think this is a fun vacation but I'm actually really stoked. I've made plans with a couple girlfriends and am contacting a couple more girlfriends in hopes of making plans so there will be social fun and laughter and beer in the midst.

I realize that I'm not telling anyone anything new about purging and making changes in our lives. It was part of the gremlin/ critic in my head the other day. You know that ass that tells you, Who do you think you are? Why are you writing about these things everybody is laughing at you, is going to laugh at you? You aren't telling anyone anything that they couldn't find better information any where else. The Gremlin has been on full throttle. He's screaming actually. But I'm working through him anyway. I'm showing up anyway. I'm writing about what's going on anyway. I know when I get to the other side, something positive will come of it. Gremlins only say positive things once the work is finished, never during the actual pain and perspiration. Gremlins don't do work, they hinder work.

I've been blogging since 2006 and I only saw, could only see, the body of work when I looked back through the archives years later.

My ultimate goal is to get down to only having books on the four book cases that I own.
1- One bookcase has my favourite authors: Nancy Huston; A.M Homes; Jasper Fforde. And books that I re-read (Alice Walker; Richard Wright; The Great Gatsby; Five Smooth Stones etc)
2 & 3 - My two large bookcases have the workbooks: writing manuals/handbooks; Numerology/Astrology/Tarot; Kundalini Yoga/ Qigong; Energy work/Self development; Creativity/Drawing; Dream work (lucid dreams) etc. I need to get these cases down to the essentials and weed out the books that don't really do it for me.
4 - One bookcase has all the books I've purchased at IFOA (International Festival of Author's)
That's the direction I move towards.

The Boxes of Purge:
1- Keep
2- Recycle/Garbage
3- Sell
4- Undecided
5- Give away


14 August 2013

Are you Trading Your Life for What You Love to Do?

Work frustrations come and go in cycles. The last couple of days have been hard ones for some reason. Whenever the really hard days happen I get hit with a brainwave to help me cope through it. Today's brainwave was to look for something inspiring to focus on instead of the things that aggravate me. I've decided I'm going to do that everyday from now on.

Today's was from John Assaraf:
Are you trading your life for what you love to do? Who you love to be with? Are you asking the big questions like who do I want to become? What do I want to experience, give, share and be? Powerful questions will give you powerful answers. Decide today to go after the biggest goals you can imagine and trade your life for the biggest, fullest, most amazing expression possible of yourself! You have it in you or you wouldn't have the thoughts about it!

Are you trading your life doing what you love? Are you asking yourself powerful questions like What will it take for me to be fulfilled? Happy? in love, Passionate? What are the biggest goals I want to achieve and what do I want to experience, do, give, be and become? These are powerful questions worthy of finding the answers to and trading your life in pursuit of making them a reality.

In answer to those questions I've unplugged my television for the rest of the month of August to start. I'm playing with the experiment of seeing how much I can get done in my spare time. It's so easy to turn on the television when I get home and then it stays on. It's not like there's much in the way of 'Quality Programming" that feeds my mind. So I'm starting there.

And I'm working out. Most of the work frustrations will be less irritating with a regular working out and burning off some steam. Truth be told, I've got some serious work out gear in my place. I could do some circuit training. heh! But seriously.

And another article that I posted on my Facebook wall today, Are You as Busy as You think? by Laura Vanderkam had information that I've seen recently and now I know it comes from that article.

Here's the quote:
Change your language. Instead of saying "I don't have time" try saying "it's not a priority," and see how that feels. Often, that's a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don't want to. But other things are harder. Try it: "I'm not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it's not a priority." "I don't go to the doctor because my health is not a priority." If these phrases don't sit well, that's the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don't like how we're spending an hour, we can choose differently.

What is a priority to me?
It's certainly not being focused on the amount of people who don't do their jobs and affect my job negatively. That drama is exhausting and I don't have the same energy level I did in my 20's and 30's for that. So as they help to polish me into the next phase of who I want to become, I set my priorities on writing, something I've always loved and used to put on the back burner for some reason or another.

As part of this priority, I stuck my neck out a little more and told some more friends about the page I have on Facebook. The page most of my friends don't know I have. So I gained another 11 or 12 more people who may take the time to read an entry or two. So welcome to you all if you're reading what I'm writing. Back in my early days of blogging when nobody knew I was doing this I would swear a lot but I've managed to curb the cussing over the last couple years. I try to label my entries so if something interests you click on the label and you'll probably find a few more entries in that vein.

And as always, Thank you to the friends who have been following me since I started my facebook page over a year ago - my Plurk Buddies; the MNINBers, who I virtually met through the platform challenge (April 2012); the friends who have my phone number (and know what my laugh sounds like) and friends like Sarah and Christine who I've followed for years because they inspire me. I'm grateful for your ever present support.


Magic and Asking Questions

Image of Ray Bradbury in his Basement office courtesy of http://www.mattselznick.com/2012/06/06/ray-bradbury/

I've been focusing on the inspirational aspects of social media. It's so easy to get caught up in wasting time. Playing too many Facebook games. Reading silly articles for the comments sections (people can be downright mean in them, holy cow).
And as always, I'm looking at ways to improve and ultimately change the course of my life.

I'd like to move in a new direction in my life and I'm looking for strong answers to move me forward.
I've got back into listening to Ted Talks. It really does feed the mind. On the weekend I found a couple of talks that have made me think about my options. Well going backwards in all this, back in the winter I was out with a girlfriend, Sandra. We talk mostly about what we are doing and where we want to go. At one point I confessed that Toronto feels like it has served its purpose for me and now I'm starting to think about where I'd like to live next. I've never really loved Toronto the way I loved Montreal and the plan never was to stay here.

The big thing of course is possessions. How do you even begin to look at purging 32 years of collecting? What must I keep?
Life has changed so much for me. Back in the day, I wanted a crazy Ray Bradbury room of stuff that explodes the imagination with ideas to write.

Nowadays I'm more interested in being a minimalist. The lighter you are, the quicker you can move. Or as my friend Vanessa said a few years ago, "If you own nothing, nothing owns you." That comment has stuck with me for years. And being in my 1 Personal year of a new 9 year cycle looking at what I want this 9 year cycle to stand for is ever present.

One Ted Talks made me think about how simple I could make my life
Jon Jandai - Life is easy, why do we make it so hard

and the other one made me think about tangible ways to get there.
Adam Baker - Sell Your Crap, Pay Your Debt, Do What You Love

The funny thing, the magic in these thoughts, is that since I've watched these two talks I struck up a conversation with a business man who sits outside where I do when I take my breaks at work. We've both have sat out there for years and out of the blue I strike up a conversation. Doesn't he say that he's a minimalist and has been for 5 years and he's the happiest he's ever been. Yep.

I've been playing with living a simpler life for at least a decade. This new 9 year period, I want to take living a simpler life a step further and purge. Seriously purge.

Today I found these guys, The Minimalists.
The link takes you to their 21 days on how they became minimalists. One of the ideas that struck me was to pack up everything in your house/apartment and only unpack what you need as you need it. After a week or so, you come to realize that most of the stuff you have you don't even use. Right?


11 August 2013

Changing With The Times

I love Journalling. The best part is that I can write something down, forget about it, and later when I'm reading through entries realize that what I wrote about is actually being created in my life.

While I was in Bermuda in June, I listened to a Joel Osteen sermon on television while I was waiting for my friends to come get me. His main message was to embrace where you are.

I wrote in my journal - "Listening to Joel Osteen and he's reminded me about relaxing into the situation.

When you're between jobs and you're looking for another job and the stress that comes up. Always in the end, when you get the job, you wish you would have relaxed more. Made better use of that free time. That's my new moon wish to relax more into my life and into what is going on as it happens. I know the energy of my life has changed, so let me continue to change along with it. What are the good qualities of where I am?"

I've noticed that since I wrote that journal entry I've been changing the way I phrase things. I did it just last week. I won two tickets to a spoken word event and I was telling a co-worker about the event the day after. I actually said, "I won the tickets and I was going to say that I never win anything but the energy of my life has changed so not winning is not true for me anymore."

Even my Bermuda trip was something that wouldn't happen for me in the past. Mind you, I didn't have a passport. But I feel like the energy of my life is changing and yes, it's definitely because of the small actions I am taking. Like getting a passport and going out of my way to look for the information that ultimately won me the spoken word tickets.

Today I wrote in my journal, "Change yourself, change your thoughts, to meet your changing life."

More of Joel Osteen's message that inspired me that I've been working with:
You couldn't go where you're going without the people who keep you down, make your life difficult. They are polishing you as long as you continue to shine your light. Enjoy your life while God is changing the circumstances.
"This is where you have me right now and God I know you are working on my future. While I'm waiting I'm not going to worry. I trust you God."
Some things you can only learn in the struggle. God is getting you prepared. Stay in faith even when it's difficult. Keep doing the right things even when the wrong things happen. It's not happening to me, it's happening for me. Embrace where you are! Keep the faith and trust. And Maybe what you're praying for is too small that's why you haven't received it. (If what I'm praying for is too small, what is a sizeable dream to pray for?)

I love the idea of being polished. How many times have we looked back in our lives and saw the path that led us to where we were? If so and so hadn't have been so miserable we wouldn't have left that city and moved to this city where we have been able to find our confidence, our self-respect, our power!

When I got back from Bermuda I, of course, had a lot waiting for me when I got back to work. My first frustration was a co-worker who didn't keep me in the loop for work we both know full well that I needed to be informed of. I emailed her telling her that I couldn't accept the form she'd sent me because I had nothing to back it up.
She emailed me back, "Oh I got the authorization from the rep. You were away so I didn't bother to send it to you." and she attached the authorization.
In my head, I was thinking, 'well she knows I need that information, why the heck wouldn't she copy me on it?' But I never said it to her.
Moments later, as if she heard my thoughts, she sent me an email saying, "I'm so sorry I didn't send you the information..." and some other stuff about hoping I wasn't mad at her for the needless frustration.
I emailed her back, "It's okay. Like Joel Osteen said, you are polishing me." ha-ha!

What are the good qualities of where I am?
Change yourself, change your thoughts, to meet your changing life.
If what I'm praying for is too small, what is a sizeable dream for me to pray for?
Who is polishing me? How is this situation polishing me?

And, as luck would have it, Joel Osteen is on now. His message today goes fittingly with his June message - Be positive or be quiet. You may think negative but don't speak it out.

I may have thought, "I never win anything," but I caught myself and didn't say it because I'm making it no longer true for me.


14 February 2013

Being Small

On Grey's Anatomy tonight Bailey said, "I don't want to make myself small. If I stay here I'll have to keep making
myself small"

You can always tell the woman's touch in the writing of Grey's. There's always a good quote that makes me think about how I feel about things.

How often do we make ourselves smaller just to keep the peace. I won't be honest, I won't speak my mind just to avoid an argument. I won't show how happy I am or mention my good news because some people may feel insecure about it. I won't look like I enjoy myself too much. Won't bring too much attention to myself. Really, I'll just stop being me.

Do we always have to leave situations where we're made to feel small? If we stay, how can we stay and keep some sort of balance? Maybe the people who keep challenging us, taunting us to be small are really here to remind us to be our big selves, our true selves, our full selves. We need to stop being small because it doesn't work anyway.

No person in an abusive relationship has ever stopped the abuse by being quiet.


12 February 2013

Gratitude 2013


I made plans with my friend Ben back in May 2012 to meet up with him and his family in Niagara Falls in late December 2012. We hadn't seen each other in 16 years. We'd lost contact for about 10 years and with the beauty of social media, namely, Facebook, he found me and we've been in touch ever since. I still can't believe he found me or that he remembered my last name because NOBODY ever spells my last name right. Just goes to show you, me, when someone really really cares...

We met up in Niagara Falls and it was like we'd never had all those years between us. We got on like a house on fire and laughed and insulted each other and kept stopping in mid sentence to just look at each other. His family asked the questions like, How did you two meet? And when I told the story, Ben laughed out loud, "that's exactly what happened!" ha-ha! He would tell me a memory of us that was still in the forefront of his mind and I would tell him my memory.

Shit! I'm smiling as I'm typing!

It was a wonderful trip. So wonderful to be around him and his boyfriend and his family. The over priced tours of which we paid too much for the crazy pictures the tour organizers took of us. I never buy those pictures! But they are such special memories for all of us. We paid. One of the best things that was said was after his boyfriend asked me about my cats and I made a funny face like, How so you know about my cats, and Brett says, "oh Ben always shows me your facebook page and status updates because he's usually laughing."

Can you hear the girl's high pitched, Ahhhhh!? Yeah it was said. lol

Anyway, once the parents went up to their Hotel room and the three of us went to the bar and chatted and caught up and reminisced, Ben asked, "When are you coming to Australia?"
Without skipping a beat I said, "for my 50th birthday, in a year."
So I'm saving up to go to Australia in March of 2014.

I came back to Toronto after our whirlwind weekend of silliness and new inside jokes and a smile to end all smiles and that's when I knew that this year was going to be all about gratitude. I have a lot to be grateful for, I want to focus on that.

Some of what I'm grateful for today:

Earlier in December, my cop friend sent me a message asking, are we going to see each other before Christmas? I replied that I'd understand if she was too busy being married and with a young child. But I could really use seeing you because such and such happened. She messaged me right back saying, I just spoke to my husband and he'll stay home with our daughter on Saturday can we meet up then? I was working but was available the Sunday, could she? Yep, spoke to husband and he would stay with their daughter on Sunday night instead. I am grateful because I never say I need anyone and one of the few times I did, they really moved mountains. They both work shifts and can be on opposite shifts and the like. This was no easy task.

My friends who know I'm a little hokey and never make fun of it. Hey a lot of people aren't into Astrology and Numerology and Messages from the Universe and half the things that I live my life by. But more people are starting to.

My cats. If you live with animals they really get to know you and they do things, special things. Yesterday morning during my anxiety Gatsby did something that he hasn't done in forever. He bit my feet while I was doing yoga. I think it's been about 2 years. He used to bite my feet during every yoga session and I would laugh hysterically. I got onto my yoga mat with my head hung a little low and when I did the move where the opposite leg and the opposite arm come up as my leg came back down he jumped my foot and bit me. I did a girlish squeal and started to laugh then I hugged him for being my pal. ha! Zelda has been super affectionate and Stormy has been really funny, as kittens are.

Budgeting! I'm committed to budgeting because of Australia, obviously. And it's been great. I've been getting the best groceries, getting the flyers, cooking based on sales and I've lost 5lbs in the mix. Grateful for that. Could lose another 20. Give 'er time! ;)

My Apartment. It's not extravagant but I can afford where I live, it has all that I need and it has peace and silence.

Blogging. I was telling a friend last week that he doesn't know the gifts that writing a page a day will bring him and that I'd been blogging off and on since 2006 (where have the years gone?!?) and because of it I've been able to find clarity on an idea that I've been bouncing in ny head for a few years. So I'm working on that idea.

Grateful for my new rocking chair. Been wanting one forever and overheard a co-worker discussing rocking chairs in her phone conversation. I said, not that I was eavesdropping but are you getting rid of a rocking chair? She didn't want to unless she was giving it to a good home. I have the good home. (smiles)

Another co-worker, my son, worked an event that had a lot of leftover cheese. He left me a box in the fridge at work with 10 different types of cheese. Full packages. I laughed my head off when I opened the box. I don't think I can eat all that cheese but I'ma try! Too funny.

My motto in 2010 was, 'I want to feel good'. I want to graduate that idea to 'I want to look for the Good.'
When you see it, you feel it.


Challenging People


The most challenging people in your life are there for you to learn how to maintain your light. The real value of the connection is for you to be able to remember who you are and to evolve from lifetimes of suffering, sacrifice and martyrdom into the power of your own presence. Our healing occurs when we stand in the light in spite of the darkness we are surrounded by. When we release our guilt over being in the light when others appear to be in darkness (which is their choice), we become better teachers and leaders. We can lead others out of darkness not by showing them how dark it is in the dark, by become an example of how much more powerful it is to live in the light. We didn't come to the world to turn our light off but to shine it brightly, so shine on and live in joy, without guilt.

I've been trying to ask the Universe for help lately. You know how you can ask yourself a question and get an answer to it in random places?

I've got a couple of really challenging people in my work life. One of them looks for ways to punish me repeatedly because he's mad at me. I told him he was nasty when I discovered him flossing his teeth in the office. I'm sorry, that is nasty. And the other challenging person has been a challenge for 6 years now. I've tried everything. I've tried to avoid this person. I've tried to befriend this person. I've tried to ignore this person. And then some.

This person is like my Mercury Retrograde Nemesis. She'll be calm and forget about me for months at a time and then like Mercury Retrograde she'll peek back around wreaking that murphy's law type of havoc in my life. I don't get it. I've always been of the belief that we agree we don't like each other so let's just stay away from each other. The Challenging ones never seem to live by that motto.

It's been about two weeks now since she's begun her campaign again. Lord only knows what set her off.
But the one Wednesday she blamed me for something that clearly wasn't my fault and I knew it was time to move into avoidance mode as much as possible. Hey I'm a Pisces, we can disappear while standing right in front of you. We have skills. lol Sadly the avoidance mode hasn't been working. It's like she made a pact with herself to remember to pick at me from every angle.

I started to feel anxious about the whole thing because I was thinking it through too much. I was thinking, preparing, myself for all the angles she was going to come at me from. Thinking about where I might need to cover myself. Thinking about what I might say in my own defence. Thinking, thinking, thinking and driving myself a little crazy. Okay more than a little.

Yesterday I got up to get ready for work and I felt dread. The chatter in my head was about: I've fought all these battles before, I've proven myself time and time again, I don't want to have to do this anymore, I can't do this anymore, Oh My God I'm going to have to find another job! I worked myself up and then I realized, I can't go to work like this. So I got quiet.

What am I going to do? I looked up a little and said, "Okay, can you help me out here? I need your help, I don't know what I should do."
I thought I'll do some yoga to stretch out my body and calm my mind. Now I usually just slip a DVD into my laptop but instead I decided to slip it into my TV DVD. I turned on the TV and the channel was on an informercial on depression. Some CD program that you listen to that gives you tips on how to deal with depression and get you off the meds if you're on them. "Yep, yep, it's my thinking," I said and thanked the Universe for the quick help.

I did my Kundalini Yoga session and during the meditation portion of it I heard the thought, you can heal your life.
Right? I pulled out Louise Hay's book, You can Heal Your Life and went straight to the Relationships chapter and read it. This book was the first self help book I ever bought and I turn back to it when things get beyond tough for me. The gist of it is that it's not others we need to change it's us. So I kept it in my mind that what will change this challenging relationship for me is me changing somehow. Good direction.

I got myself bathed and as I was getting ready for work I thought that listening to the news wasn't going to help me none so I flipped around looking for some TV church. I found a channel and the Evangelist was talking about FAITH. Having faith, keeping faith, believing with faith. Good good.

As I walked to work I thanked the Universe for the help. Actually I looked up at the sky and said, "Thank you for that. I know you heard me."

I read more of You Can Heal Your Life last night. The stuff about blessing the person. Whenever the person comes into your mind, "bless them with love every time you think of them." I've been working on it. A part of me wants to ask her, Are you okay? Or maybe ask, can we go to lunch and have a chat? And the other part of me is still pissed at these years of torture. Hey I'm only human.

In my 'only humanness' and flipping back and forth today between blessing her and being pissed off I came across this message from Jennifer Hoffman that really was a strong message and reminds me that blessing her is my only option if I want to move forward in my joy. Being pissed off just attracts more of the same.

Here is Jennifer's full message:
“The most challenging people in your life are not there for you to heal their darkness, they are there for you to learn how to maintain your light. While their healing is an option (which they have to choose for themselves) that your presence affords them, the real value of the connection is for you to be able to remember who you are and to evolve from lifetimes of suffering, sacrifice and martyrdom into the power of your own presence. Our healing occurs when we stand in the light in spite of the darkness we are surrounded by, not by how many people we convince to leave their darkness for the light.

When we release our guilt over being in the light when others appear to be in darkness (which is their choice), we become better teachers and leaders. We can lead others out of darkness not by showing them how dark it is in the dark, by become an example of how much more powerful it is to live in the light. When we live in the darkness for the sake and purpose of reminding someone of the darkness' limitations (which they already know), we aren't serving anyone.

We didn't come to the world to turn our light off but to shine it brightly, so shine on and live in joy, without guilt. How powerful is it to stand in a dark room and tell someone that there is a better option that we'll show them, as soon as they decide to get out of the dark room. How much more powerful is it to be in the most brightly lit, joyful and powerful place we can imagine for ourselves, see them standing at the doorway and inviting them to come in?
Jennifer Hoffman from my upcoming book: Evolving at the Speed of Soul”

I expect there will be more challenges before things change for the better but I have Faith that I can stay within my light and I don't need to be dragged into the darkness that this person chooses to live in.

2013 feels like a year to focus on gratitude. These messages from the universe are definitely things to be grateful for.


06 January 2013

2013 - Personal 1 Year

2013 brings me into a Personal 1 Year and a new 10 year cycle. It's a big time to set my focus for what I want within these ten years and what I want to change.

My biggest focus is to live in gratitude. I've listened to so many people complain about what they don't have, what they thought they'd have, what they didn't receive, what they expected, what other people have... It just stops the flow of everything. Happiness, more good in your life, everything. When we're focused on all that we think we don't have we can't be happy for others when they receive their good. It falls into abundance that there's enough for everyone.

I feel like I've done more emotional work in the last 10 year cycle then any other time of my life. I took a deep hard look at the cycles in my life that have repeated themselves and repeated themselves some more. I feel like I've genuinely worked through major issues. I'm calling it a bit of a heroes journey. lol. Might as well make it big in my mind. It is actually big.

I'm feeling like this 10 years will be more sociable. I needed the solitary before. I now know how to seek the solitary without guilt, so I can be more sociable. I feel more optimistic. I feel like I've shaken off the serious demons. I am responsible for myself, my dreams, my joy.

I find I've been looking at the disagreeable people in my life with a different perspective. In the midst of steering clear of their drama I'm also seeing them as tortured people. This one person who, even in the New Year, continues to hold a grudge against me but that's not enough. He goes out of his way to try to cause grief in my life. I got his number. He doesn't affect me but I feel sorry that he still doesn't see that you can waste your life trying to get back at people. We can be so stubborn. We can waste our time. We can torture ourselves needlessly. Part of it is we're too scared to do the work. That's not my cross to bear. I don't need to heal him, guide him, lead him. He is not my responsibility.

If I watch any reality shows, there are two that I will catch. Hoarders, because I can't make it through 15 minutes without getting up and cleaning. lol.

And Intervention. I have a fascination with Intervention. I have a fascination with addiction and the torture that sends people in the direction of their addictions. There's usually something, some upset that precipitates the addiction. I've been through some of the things that some of those people have gone through. Grew up watching adults with addiction, was a witness to domestic violence. I realize that I could be one of those addicted people on intervention if I didn't handle my demons in writing. Us humans, we can be such a tortured lot.

We have to work through our torture, our demons, otherwise they have all sorts of unknown powers over us. I want my power. I want to focus on my power in these 10 years and beyond.

2012 was an awesome year for me, when I look back at the year as a whole. There were a couple of low points but that's life. Going back to my old homes from my childhood really provided a real shift in my mind for me. I felt less jinxed and more possibilities. I feel like I worked through some serious stuff and I was rewarded for it and the benefits in the coming years are unimaginable.

Ha! I think I just finally grew up! It was bound to happen.


05 January 2013

Adults Acting Out

On Dec 4th, 2012 my friend Sarah's facebook status said that her mother passed away that morning and later on in the day Sarah's husband of 3 years, Neil, also passed away.

I burst into tears. How? How does one person have to endure such devastation at one time? And so close to Christmas. I sent her a message right away with all my phone numbers and said, "call me when you need to scream, cry , talk, whatever you need."

She had a memorial for her husband on the 10th of December, the day before his parents were returning to England. It's bizarre how life works out sometimes. His parents had come to Canada on vacation and while they were here their son dies. It's so hard to wrap your head around stuff sometimes.

At the memorial I just wanted to keep my focus on not crying. I could cry after I left. I simply wanted to be a support. Sarah mentioned at one point to a handful of us who all used to work with her and each other that another mutual friend/ ex co-worker decided not to show up because he said it was too hard for him.

Sarah says, "too hard on him? I've lost my mum, my husband, and my cat, all on the same day and it's too hard for John to show up."

That is the way it goes though, doesn't it? People find the worst times to act out. What is with people acting out anyways? When my mom died, my Uncle's girlfriend spent the bulk of my time in Montreal grasping for attention. If she wasn't crying uncontrollably over some random something, she was getting rip roaring drunk. No, I wasn't a fan.

I've been thinking a lot about people who act out especially since there was a fair amount of it in 2012. I've decided I'm no longer rewarding people for acting out. I'm not going to react or give them my attention, neither positive nor negative. At some point we all have to get over ourselves. We have to work through our issues.

This is the next step in my healing and letting go of the energies that pull me down. I've overcome hanging out with people I don't like in order to spend time with pople I do. I say it straight out, if you've invited so and so I won't be there because I'm not a fan. And now I'm not giving my energy to people who act out in order to manipulate me into giving them my attention. I believe that acting out is a manipulation.

We only have so much time in a day and to spend it buried in crappy energy then with the hours or days of angry thoughts and feelings that follow the crappy energy. It's not worth it. Children act out. The rest of us should know how to use our words or figure it out.

Some people use anger to control us or stop us from speaking honestly.
Some people insult us in order to get us to change a "no" into a "yes."
Some people guilt trip us.
And some people act out when they feel insecure about some attention they think they deserve to receive at the expense of your feelings or what's really happening.
I'm simply not going to reward them for that behaviour.

In the grand scheme of attention, some people, some of my friends, are really going through serious hard times. I get choked up on a daily basis thinking about my friend Sarah. I've been sending her messages and ideas on how to cope. Telling her what helped me when I was grieving. I can't even imagine how to recover from such pain.